“At the still point, there the dance is…” – TS Eliot
Still Point Turning is a ‘danced poem’ exploring our experience of time. From the profane world of clocks, schedules, alarms and itineraries to the grand arc that is our life – birth, death, growth and decay. To how we experience time in a dream or in deep reverie, how it becomes immense or nebulous. To the notion of ‘now’, the eternal instant renewing itself, rendering time meaningless.
The initial inspiration was TS Eliot’s Burnt Norton, and the poem’s sense of the cyclical, regulating movement we are all caught in. I reflected on our current epoch – revved up, fragmented, digitised and how we are manipulated by contemporary moralities and values. This high-voltage energy made me think of electricity and how electricity could be an analogy for the nervous body. How our anxieties can produce destabilisation, involuntary movements, reactive behaviours, stutters and accidental expulsions. I paid special attention to the notion of the ‘hyper-kinetic’ body, juxtaposed with fine, delicate movement scores. At the heart of the piece lies the perpetual movement that resides in stillness. Nothing in this world is ever truly still, but nonetheless, we know what stillness is.
This project’s design challenge was conceptual, thinking about the multiple concepts of time and space that the work was interested in, and it was poetic (I went back to the Eliot poem to look at images present there); but utmost for me, was the challenge of working with a costume that got ‘worked’ – that was very much a part of the creation of the movement, that through its manipulation made choreography and transformed the body and the body’s movement. A coat that turned into a crumpled flower, a fleshy body turned inside out, a pair of perilous platforms that forced their wearer to constantly renegotiate a balance point, a body that could disappear into the cosmic dust…
Choreographer & Performer: Linda Luke
Composer: Vic McEwan
Video Artist: Martin Fox
Lighting Designer: Clytie Smith
Artistic Consultant: Tess de Quincey
Costume Design: Justine Shih Pearson
Producer: Artful Management
Premiere 2014 Melbourne Festival (Dancehouse, Melbourne); tour to FORM Dance projects (Parramatta Riverside Theatre, Sydney) and Wagga Wagga Art Gallery (Wagga Wagga).
Pictures from the Sydney and Melbourne seasons, all images (c) Heidrun Löhr and Sarah Walker.
An interview with Linda in the AU Review.
5 stars… succinct movement that is beautifully and sympathetically encased in a package of accompanying art forms. Sydney Morning Herald
A mesmerising, multi-layered powerful and hypnotic work. Artshub
Luke totters in rocky, uneven shoes like chunks of meteorite, cable-tied to her feet stepping back and forth mechanically to the sound of a voice reflecting on time and stillness. Her costume is part-Baroque and part steam-punk, coat tails and knickerbockers, elegantly ragged… Still Point Turning is theatrical, romantic, full of both play and decay—“for tomorrow we die”? It’s a lush response to the relentless tick of the clock and, equally, to the finite heart beating—the final minutes stunning… Realtime