Struggles for survival embodied in dance

Le Dernier Appel / The Last Cry — 4 1/2 Stars

Le Dernier Appel/The Last Cry was created by the Marrugeku company of Broome and Sydney, a group with a growing history of intercultural performance and collaboration. This was a powerful exploration of colonisation and its aftermath, all embodied in the dancers’ physiques. Their diverse cultural backgrounds and training was a visual delight in this tightly choreographed, strongly technical piece.

One standout performer for his virtuosic command of movement was Krylin Nguyen. His body held the most beautiful sense of flow, twisting and flipping over and around itself and the space seemingly unimpeded by gravity, in various hip-hop-styled sequences.

Co-choreographer Dalisa Pigram, of the famous north-west Australian artist family, was a consistent anchor, alternately quietly present and strongly foregrounded. The intense physical fight between her black and fellow dancer Miranda Wheen’s white woman was hard to watch as it thrashed on and on – a discomfiting and visceral insight into the daily struggles for survival of many colonised people.

The growing intensity of the performance was backgrounded by a signboard hoarding typical of tourist advertisements. This gradually transformed from apparently banal depictions of tropical paradise to increasingly provoking headlines of injustices wrought upon Indigenous peoples over centuries and nations. The dancers’ intensity was highlighted by ever-faster slides of blood-red destruction. Ngaiire, Nick Wales and Bree van Reyk’s diverse soundscape provided an evocative sonic backdrop.