Image – Gregory Lorenzutti

In the open and minimally adorned Northcote Town Hall, a slow and steady dance conversation emerges between five individuals.   

Choreographed by Siobhan McKenna, Rhythmic Fictions begins as separate, disconnected, people, each mutedly attired in off-white trouser/blouse combinations, perched in a line, backs to audience, facing an empty, open stage.  

One at a time, they take to the space, in various geometric and wispy solos that are peppered with words, some of which escalate to phrases, but nothing resembling a full sentence. Attempts at speaking are always stopped before a full train of thought can emerge. A tangle of fleeting shapes and single utterances exist withing each mini-solo. 

Rhythmic Fictions builds slowly, almost too slowly. But when it peaks, all five women – McKenna, Arabella Frahn-Starkie, Emma Riches, Claire Leske and Rachel Coulson – lose their oneness and regroup as an ensemble, interacting with each other in delightful and whimsical ways.  

Constantly shifting spatial patterns intertwine with seemingly random verbal phrases which keep changing intonations and accents of syllables. Becoming almost sing-song at times, it’s a sustained, playful exploration, both physically and verbally. 

The dancing is clean, oscillating between virtuosic and pedestrian, with clear intention in its abstraction. Within the episodic hour, there is a palpable sense of energetic build-up, climax and return to status quo, although a quicker pace through the states would tighten the work. 

McKenna stays the course, avoids distractions and creates a focused clarity within Rhythmic Fictions. She’s a dance maker to keep an eye on – she has a rigorous attention to detail and an exacting quality to her formations. 

Event details

Darebin Arts Speakeasy presents
Rhythmic Fictions

Choreographer Siobhan McKenna

Venue: Northcote Town Hall | 189 High Street, Northcote VIC
Dates: 11 – 14 August 2022


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