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27 Dec 2006

Marjorie's World Unhinged

Recently I caught a production of Maresa Von Stockert's dance theatre piece Marjorie's World Unhinged. This was a fascinating and very artistic exploration of the suffering of dancers (mainly ballerinas) during lengthy training. It acted as an expose on the values of youth, "beauty" and the current obsession with being thin.

"Marjories World" also utilised video in dramatic and varying ways. During the "after show talk" Maresa Von Stockert made it clear that the aim of the piece was to question the notion that one has to quit professional dancing by the age of 30! She used dancers who were over 30 (2 of them were well over 30!) as well as younger dancers. The acrobatics of the older dancers left no doubt in my mind that top level dance is possible at virtually any age.

Joy Constantinides was phenomenal, playing an aging ballerina, falling to the floor and hanging upside down from a table! Max Reed was also amazing as the protagonist's husband. He revealed a sad, obsessive existence, punished by bosses for being, well, over 30! He also danced with vigor and creativity.

Laura Cadlow, Natalia Thorn and Matthew Morris were the younger dancers (Morris a little older than 30!). They all impressed, utilising Von Stockerts cerebral and humorous choreography, with incredible feats of strength (Cadlow dancing under and over a bar) beautiful imagery (Thorn dancing with 4 balloons tied to her limbs) and Morris dancing in a variety of ways, at one point dancing while putting on a dress!

Maresa Von Stockerts choreography is at times "psychoanalytic" and undoubtedly experimental. However, if you go to see one of her performances don't expect a dull, impenetrable exercise in how to baffle and piss-off an audience. Her choreography delights by being bold and aggressive. Von Stockert has an eccentric sense of humor, that never dwindles, even during the weightiest or saddest moments. Her experiments with video are notable, particularly the sequence involving Cadlow holding a mini video camera with her toes and slowly dancing with it. Her image, shifting and changing with the position of her foot, was projected onto the main screen, while unpretentious commentary examined her fears of aging, being fat and not being beautiful enough.

It is unsuprising that Maresa Von Stockert is causing a stir, with her brand of choreography, that is entertaining, intelligent, experimental and humorous. Her themes not only deal with abstract ideas, but embrace problems that affect us all, leaving the theatre goer with plenty to ponder after the show. And you won't leave without a few laughs!


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