Forgery Review @ Brisbane Festival 2021

  • Written by 
  • Monday, 27 September 2021 16:45
'Forgery' 'Forgery' Image © David Kelly

'Forgery', by the Australasian Dance Collective, is a unique performance. That is, every single performance is unique.


A computer has taken control of the choreography, so no two nights will be the same. What remains consistent is the quality of the show: 'Forgery' does not disappoint.

Alisdair Macindoe has created this work for the Australasian Dance Collective, using computer-generated instructions for the dancers which seem to be completely random. For example, they may be instructed to “dance like the letter G, imagining a bird as its neck”. Somehow, they comply. It is a very successful melding of art and coding.

For opening night (and this will obviously change), the performance began with the computer-generated voice instructing the dancers over speakers. It then changed to words appearing on the backdrop behind them, to voiced again. The lighting changed too, all informed by the algorithm. These visual and atmospheric shifts allowed the audience to concentrate and focus on different aspects, and see the performance in different ways. It also meant that it wasn’t overwhelming, there was space to appreciate the work.

Forgery Review David Kelly2
Image © David Kelly

Another particularly successful aspect was when the computer instructed different dancers to take the lead as soloists. Again, this helped the audience to focus on one individual aspect, and prevented monotony. The dancers were dressed in neutrals, the lighting was devoid of colour, the background was plain and the sound design was – that night – industrial and electronic – changing things up kept the very short performance alive and vibrant.

It was really interesting to see how each individual dancer interpreted instructions, especially the instructions that didn’t really make sense. It was great to watch each dancer in turn. The algorithm sometimes gave them “hive” instructions, so that they all had to do the same movement, at the same time, as if they were one organism.

All these random movements and bizarre instructions obviously stretched the dancers, and it was fascinating to watch. The presenters encouraged the audience to revisit 'Forgery' multiple times to see how the piece can change over the season, so book multiples tickets as soon as you can!

'Forgery' plays Queensland Performing Arts Centre until 2 October.

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