Dance like you can’t be heard! Just. Say. Yes. by Bec Reid and Ben Cisterne
Paranoid? Nah... Just savvy. Dancing like no-one’s watching is easier if no-one is actually watching. Actually, it’s only entirely easy in the dark!
You have to dump your bags and coats (yeah, I had two) before Reid invites you into her cube and pulls the wall closed behind you. Headphones on, mp3 player pocketed, thumbs up... let’s [rock and] roll.
Not surprisingly, I had a tough time keeping pace with the superslim, superfit pro-dancing Reid. Especially in my crippling Aquila shoes and non-dance party friendly clothes. But, hey, I give good audience. And despite the chicane-like twists in a spine that comes with one more vertebra (vertebrum?!) than yours -- seriously, I am my chiropractor’s “pin-up boy” -- I was chuckin’ Michael Hutchence moves long before he learnt ’em. (Elaine Benes moves, too, it must be said.)
Famously, Cazerine Barry -- while shakin’ it with me in the Spiegeltent at an artists’ party a while back -- declared: “we must get you in the studio.” I’m that good. Correction. That unusual. (That modest too!)
With headphones on, I tried to resist the urge to sing along. (“I’ll. Be. Gone/[in a day or] TWOOOOOOO!!”) But wait, there’s another panicky body memory. From a show at Arts House a year or two back which was a recreation of a Turkish? [Cypriot?] wedding ceremony where the women characters greatly outnumbered the men. So, any male of the species in the audience was co-opted for the bridal waltz. Now, audience members were wired for sound but the women performers weren’t, which made us (read: “me”) much more self-conscious.
As I say, I try to go the extra mile. It’s not enough, I reckon, to rock back and forward and pretend you’re dancing, especially at an event -- and in a recreated culture -- where the men are supposed to lead. So picture your correspondent trying to twirl the estimable Sapidah Kian around the North Melbourne Town Hall. (I doubt she has much experience of following! LOL) It was all going perfectly well until I had a bit of a freak-out. I was suddenly very conscious of my shortness of breath... made worse cos she could hear it and I couldn’t, cos of the headphones.
So... Bec Reid’s show -- simple as it actually is -- triggers rather complex reactions. (One wonders how she ‘glosses’ our individual reactions. This is one occasion where the artist should be reviewing her audience -- should be recording the spectrum of responses -- rather than us reviewing her!)
To my eye, Reid took turns at leading the dance and reflecting mine. But who’s to say my experience was typical? No me, that’s for sure.
Ha, that reminds me of a story I heard after a performance of An Audience With J Dark. There’s a scene in that show where ‘J Dark’ gets her audience member (singular, it’s another one-on-one show) to remove her [i.e. J Dark’s] pants. The woman I spoke to told me of her sister’s anxiety in that particular scene which, no doubt, was observed by the brilliantly alert actor, Melanie Jame Walsh.
The reason for the girl’s anxiety will be a complete mystery to Walsh, no matter how hard she hypothesised after the show. The girl thought she would be invited to swap her neat little skirt for J Dark’s trousers. (I had the same sense... that JD would like to trade her formal black pants with my ripped black canvas dacks.)
The actual reason for the girl’s anxiety? Her complete lack of knickers! (Something had prompted me, that day, to wear my most piss elegant ’durps. My Elle-for-men short shorts!) [Yeah, yeah... too much information.]
In another room, in the same gallery as Reid, was Hannah Raisin. But that’s another story.
Just. Say. Yes. A collaboration between Bec Reid and Ben Cisterne. At West Space, Level 1, 225 Bourke Street. (Free) May 31. (Also 8 June, 6pm-9pm.)