Review: Le Dernier Appel (The Last Cry)

September 19th 2018

We are reminded of the body.
Body as individual
as social.
as political.
as grunt.
as gesture.
as site
as code.
as language.

This reminder is the result of an Australian-New Caledonian collaboration between Marrugeku and Carriageworks, Le Dernier Appel (The Last Cry), a unique dance performance that examines how: “colonisation has shaped us. To undo the past is impossible.” – Serge Aime Coulibaly (Director and Choreographer), Dalisa Pigram (Choreographer), and Rachael Swain (Dramaturg).

 

Specifically in response to the upcoming New Caledonian referendum on independence, the piece in its entirety is a gestural reflection on current political climates. The six performers – Amrita Hepi, Miranda Wheen, Dalisa Pigram, Stanley Nalo, Yoan Ouchot, and Krilin Nguyen – inhabit the space as bodies. Bodies with the weight of the past on their shoulders, they are representative of this history and the continuation of colonial practices across contexts.

Heavy with this cultural context the dancers move as if their bodies are not in their control, the dance is happening to them individually rather than as a collective. It starts with the smallest twitch, blink and you’d miss it. Movement, gesture and repetition are unique to each dancer, speaking to the diversity of experiences and narratives. As time unravels slowly so do limbs as shoulders click, feet flex and chests heave to a momentum propelled by the musical score. The combination of electronic, techno, pop and ambient soundscapes scored by Ngaiire, Nick Wales and Bree van Reyk, produces these intentionally discordant bodies.

Silence is a political tool in The Last Cry. There is no dialogue or choral element so when sound emerges from the dancers it means more. We are alert to the disruption. Screams with no sound are replaced by the fwack of hands to skin. It is in these small moments that we are brought back to the individual body, and back to the social body, and back to the political body.

Yours, mine and ours.

 

 

Words by Gabrielle Chantiri and Eleanor Zurowski

Photography by Prudence Upton

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