By Maryam Azizli
The show begins with two musicians and eight dancers on stage. Indonesian metalcore duo Senyawa incorporates traditional motifs into an experimental brand of operatic metal in the hour-long ritual. The dancers oscillate with more abandon as the instrumentation surges in magnitude. The climax of the show is marked by primeval hysteria.
The musical component comprises of Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryadi, in conjunction with choreographers Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek alongside Dancenorth Australia. A sonic/kinetic powerhouse, Attractor was a beast to tame.
“Trying to sync the energy of the music with the dancers was the most challenging part, because while they speak with movements, we speak with music. The communication is entirely dependent on the sync of energy,” says Shabara.
Attractor was conceived on a trip that Obarzanek took to Indonesia in 2014, where he witnessed a number of traditional rituals. This transforming experience coincided with the performer’s own past – ritual dances on a kibbutz in Israel.
“After two nights of prayers and offerings to the dead, dancers entered a state of trance through a series of vigorous performances,” says Obarzanek. “Now possessed, they were considered vessels for immortal spirits who had come to visit the living. To prove this extraordinary transition from human to non-human, they performed shocking acts of pain and strength before being exorcised by Shamans.”
It was with the immense potency of its inspirations and unlikely collaborations that Attractor came to fruition. The show is driven by an ancient, erratic force that is harvested on stage and released into the audience. Attractor is a convergence of cultures and peoples; a gift of life.
“It is a coming together of energy, a force, a moment in time – a ritual for non-believers,” adds Kyle Page, artistic director of Dancenorth Australia.
Attractor runs from January 18-29 at the Vancouver Playhouse as part of the PuSh Festival.attractor, dance, Music, PuSh Festival, theatre