Worlds Collide In Matrix: Expressions Dance Company Makes An Exchange

Published in Arts  
'Matrix' 'Matrix' Image © Yin Sir

In spite of language and cultural barriers, Expressions Dance Company (EDC) and BeijingDance/LDTX have come together to prove once and for all that dance is a language of its own with the announcement of their collaborative show, 'Matrix'.

Defined as a 'cultural, social or political environment or context in which something develops', 'Matrix' is the result of an intense five-week collaboration in Beijing between August and September, producing two new works by multi award-winning Australian choreographer, Stephanie Lake, and the highly-acclaimed Chinese choreographer, Ma Bo.

EDC has had an ongoing relationship with BeijingDance since 2015, and this year marks the fifth year of their Chinese Australian Dance Exchange Project, however, this year's performance marks the first time the performers will take the stage together for the whole night of performance.

Artistic Director for EDC, Amy Hollingsworth, is ecstatic to present the double bill, praising its perfect encapsulation of cultural immersion and collaboration.

“So much of human expression is layers of symbolism that allows us to understand what someone is saying – the words and the inflection but also the physical cues, the flicker of expression across a face. These are universal and it is joyous being in the studio and watching the dancers share moments of appreciation of each other’s craft and skill through shared laughter, applause and respect,” Hollingsworth says.

She goes on to point out that the collaboration presents a clear cultural difference between the two productions being presented by the choreographers, highlighting both the differences in personality and styles of Ma Bo and Lake, and the range and versatility of the dancers.

Rehearsals Matrix YinSir
Image © Yin Sir

“Ma Bo’s piece is an emotional, intricate, undulating work with powerful imagery and evolving textures,” she says.

“Stephanie’s piece is a delicious dichotomy of hyper-physical yet incredibly detailed movement. It is sophisticated in both rhythm and structure.”

Award-winning choreographer, Stephanie Lake, recalls being consistently inspired by the atmosphere of collaboration present during the formulation of the productions.

“Collaboration is the engine that makes work happen. I love it. I love discovering new choreographic ideas through the bodies of new dancers. It’s fascinating to see concepts mushroom and evolve in unexpected ways because of the spark between the artists. I enjoy the differences in dancers. It feeds my curiosity,” she says.

Ma Bo's work, 'Encircling Voyage', seeks to capture the cyclical nature of life, and was conceived when the choreographer was inspired by a documentary on the migration of birds, and her own parents' ageing.

“For me, the first cry when you were born may well be a promise – the destination of what you will become when you at last leave the world,” Ma says, highlighting the parallels between infants and the elderly.

'Matrix' plays Queensland Performing Arts Centre 13-16 November.

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