There have been a few modern dance performances at the OzAsia festival this year. Andropolaroid 1.1 is a wonderful addition to that genre for the festival.

The stage for this performance is basically white with a forest of white neon tubes hanging in a pattern at different levels all over the stage except for a “break out” area at the front left for the dancer Yui Kawaguchi to perform her modern dance moves without hitting any of the lights.

Yui Kawaguchi is the choreographer and performer for this show and she has studied Classical Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop and contemporary dance, acting and singing. She was the choreographer for the opening festival of East Asian Olympics 2001, and has also worked with music videos. At times during this show, I could see how her performance was very similar to music videos of Sia performed by American dancer Maddie Ziegler.

After a period of controlled dancing in and out of the tubes, a red hoodie falls from the rafters into a pool of light. Yui approaches the hoodie but each time she touches it the piercing noise increases. After a few times she ignores the pain and puts it on and it becomes part of her. From then on the hoodie seems to humanise her dancing. From here on in the music is less jarring and her dance moves are more balletic.

Andropolaroid, premiered in 2010 in Berlin and was based on the personal experiences that made during her immigration from Japan to Germany. During the hoodie section, she is seen greeting the audience, shaking hands and hugging people but keeping her distance which may have her experiences when she moved to Berlin.

The lighting and design for this performance were by Yui’s husband Fabian Bleisch and was minimalist but very striking. The strobe light effect was particularly spectacular. The music seemed to be sourced from different artists but was also quite effective.

Yui also presented a dance masterclass in Adelaide earlier in the week where she focused on how the body communicates with the outside world through interaction with music, words and space.

This performance ended when she took the hoodie off and it seemed that it was now lifeless and that Yui had absorbed all the life from it. She stoked and cradled it and lay it down gently and we went home still thinking about this delightful performance.

OzAsia Review by Richard De Pizzol