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Young Creatives Blog

Ariane Beyer: Plexus

Tuesday 1 March 2016

  • Review

Plexus was categorised as a dance show, but calling it one just seems to be such an understatement. I love and hate the question ‘is it dance’ or ‘is it really art’. Well first of all yes, second of all just enjoy the show.  Was Plexus a dance show? I have definitely gotten into arguments with people over this, but regardless of whether it was or not, I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

The set is made up of 5,000 chords, and at times it completely restricted Kaori Ito’s movement and Aurélien Bory’s choreography. At other times it allowed the movement to go to places seemingly not physically possible, and honestly unbelievable (I think Ito is Spiderman because that is the only probable explanation I can reach). The way the lighting reflected off the chords was striking, and the way the lights revealed Ito hanging from the roof was also quite effective.

Ito is very short, which is something that I’ve noticed about a lot of the artists in the Festival, (this makes me worry because I’m on the taller side) yet she is able to completely captivate on stage and she moves with such power and strength, which was simply beautiful to watch. At the end of the show Ito gets to fly and I was incredibly jealous. Part of me wanted to sneak backstage, try on the harness and go for a quick fly, but I resisted the urge, partly because if I got arrested I don’t think they would let me out to watch the rest of the Festival program, and also it’s nice to leave the magic of the stage alone.

Plexus was like nothing I had ever seen before. Plexus was beautiful, completely engaging, and I loved it. It was a piece of art, and personally I think that whether a show is a ‘dance’, or ‘theatre’, or ‘music’ or ‘visual arts’ show it’s art regardless, and I think that is beautiful in itself.

The next day I attended a workshop with Ito, and it was probably the favourite workshop I have ever attended. When Ito walked into the room she asked us our names and for the rest of the workshop she used them. It sounds so simple and not particularly noteworthy but when you’re in a dance workshop you tend to get ‘girl in the grey shirt’ or ‘girl with the fringe’. What you don’t get very often is ‘Ariane’, and when Ito called me ‘Ariane’ I felt respected, it built up a trust that really served the rest of the workshop.

Ito has obviously spent so much time looking at bodies that she was able to read all of us like a book. Throughout the workshop she would give us individual comments (using our names of course) and I was a bit creeped out at times, because I have come to the conclusion that Ito has to be a mind reader. She knew everything about me, she knew my insecurities, she knew how to aggravate them and she knew how to push me, harder than I’ve ever been pushed.

Over the course of the workshop, Ito was able to build up a trust in the studio, and it became a completely safe space. In any other environment I would have felt really uncomfortable with some of the things she asked us to do, but here, I felt totally comfortable.

You can go to a dance class and you can practice your technique and you can attempt to master it. But when you’re sitting in the audience and something truly magical happens on stage it’s not because of the performers skill set it’s because they are telling an honest story and they’re being vulnerable in the moment, and that’s something that no amount of technique can help you with, and it’s something that scares me. In the workshop I had to face my fear and I hated it,  but it’s something that I had to do sooner or later and I’m just glad that I was able to start searching under Ito’s watchful, very honest, and yet kind, guidance.

Ito pushed me, she made me sore, she made me cry, I almost got punched in the face, I had to face my fear, and at the end of the workshop she said that if at some point in the future we needed advice she would be more than happy to give it to us.

At the start of the Festival I was worried that some of the Festival artists would be really snobbish and not interested in Perth and the beautiful people who live here, but Ito could not have been more different. As I sat down to write this blog and thought what was it that made the workshop so good, it was not what we actually did, but it was the way that Ito ran the workshop and that’s something that you just can’t learn from a class.

Young Creative: Dance

Written By Ariane Beyer