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Arts Review: Miss Universal by Atlanta Eke - Chunky Move Studios, Melbourne (Performances to December 12th)

One of the beautiful things about contemporary dance is its ability to transcend mediums not often explored by mainstream dance disciplines. However, when it comes down to it, there does need to be a message that isn’t clouded by obscurity and organic motive.

Miss Universal is Atlanta Eke’s second work commissioned in the Next Move program at Chunky Move featuring herself and three other blonde, female dancers Annabelle Balharry, Chloe Chignell and Angela Goh.

To be honest, the show itself really didn’t resonate. I felt there was a lack in objective as to what the piece was bringing forward. To watch four female dancers interlock and intertwine with each other for 30 minutes, shuffling from atop the stalls and then onto the floor as if they were a moving amoeba, really served no purpose. Is this what they’re calling dance these days?

Out of nowhere the dancers attach themselves onto harnesses and proceed to do the same amoeba-like movement, but suspended in the air. What is actually going on? Then, it’s time for girlie chats about love. But wait, what is that massive statue doing in the middle of the space? Are you starting to catch my drift here? None of it flows. None of it makes sense. Has contemporary dance performance become that obscure that I now feel out of the loop?

Cut to an industrial scene, which is reminiscent of Flashdance, and the flaring sparks of the grinder cause a scene of even more confusion. Yes it’s visually amazing, but how does it fit in with this show? The only moment where we see any form of dance is when all four ladies come out with glow in the dark hula-hoops and execute beautifully crafted movement illuminated solely by the hoops. This. More of this please. But that’s the end. Cut to black out and a massive Ikea light turns on blinding us all and that’s it. Literally, the end.

I don’t get it. At one moment in the show a lady was laughing in what seemed to be genuine enjoyment, but mind you, she did have a glass of champagne, so perhaps that’s what you need to get through this show.

What I can appreciate about Eke’s vision was the incredible soundtrack by Daniel Jenatsch. It was all played live and had fantastic moments of simmering melodies, perfectly matched with grandiose crescendos filling the space.

If you want to see four sexy women in Kill Bill inspired wetsuits, performances are on until December 12, but for more information visit: http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=154708&bo....

The reviewer attended the show on December 4.