Precipice beautifully poised

Precipice dancers. Picture: Supplied



Rachel Arianne Ogle

4.5 Stars

State Theatre Centre


In premiering her first full-length work, Rachel Arianne Ogle has hit the ground running with a knockout production. Precipic is a sensory spectacle that commands attention and pulls rapid high-tech triggers to transport us into an expansive universe through light, sound and dance.

Composer Luke Smiles, Ben Cistern (visual design) and dancers Niharika Senapati, Tyrone Robinson, Immanuel Dado and Storm Helmore contribute to deliver a high-impact show that is smart, skilful, and unapologetically slick.

Opening in silent prelude, the quartet of dancers, uniformed in sculptural night-blue suits, attract and repel each other in striking diagonal beams of light that open to a world of relentless anticipation, near misses and a kinetic continuum.

What follows is an experiential ride through a sense of space and time that literally expands and collapses in a visual design that feels like sitting in a 3-D cinema. At times the "spectacle" threatened to swallow the dance with its cavernous proportions but the dancers held their own in a performance that was stripped of ego and left us to contemplate our own tiny unit in a constellation of billions.

It is clear these four dancers are just a fraction of a greater whole, in that Ogle's vision takes us far outside the theatre walls in a visceral experience that, as one audience member quipped after the show felt "as close as you can get to flying".

The relatively young cast (all WAAPA graduates) performed with arresting vulnerability and skill in earthing Ogle's demanding and fractal-like choreography of complex turning patterns, precision arcs, strange attractors, and perpetual states of off-balance and in-between.

The paradox being that no one actually literally fell over - all held by some kind of dense invisible connective force that put a spin on the idea of gravitational pull as being 360 degrees, with edges simultaneously everywhere and nowhere.

The architectural use of sound to render a physical sense of space was amplified by dramatic light that made the edges of the stage appear unending, and at one point saw the dancers literally disappear. These theatrical elements conspired to create their own universe and I, for one, was happy to journey on the mothership.

If, like Ogle, it takes giving into falling to finally be able to find balance in a fast-spinning world, then it seems certainly worth meeting yourself at the precipice. This is theatre that is understood through the gut and the senses where the only way to navigate an unspoken language is through feeling, a ticket to another dimension.

Precipice ends on August 24.