Electricity informs collaboration

Rehearsing this week for +-=Touch are Motoko Kikkawa, Chris Schmeltz, Richard Scowen (obscured),...
Rehearsing this week for +-=Touch are Motoko Kikkawa, Chris Schmeltz, Richard Scowen (obscured), Alan Starrat (obscured), Robbie Ellis, Catherine Boysen, Kerian Varaine, Brendan Kydd and Kajsa Louw. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Electricity is at the heart of the performance + - = TOUCH at Glue Gallery tomorrow.

Choreographer Kajsa Louw has teamed with composer Kerian Varaine for a performance "of contemporary dance and sound".

Three other dancers will join Louw, while Varaine will provide the score with "a chamber ensemble of mixed agendas", combining traditional and experimental instruments, both electronic and acoustic.

"I feel we are very close to electricity," Louw says. "It is part of the human condition".

That plays out in people's interactions with each other, while the world is increasingly linked by electricity and its technological applications.

These relationships provide the setting for the way in which the dancers and musicians bounce off each other during the performance, she says.

Louw, originally from South Africa and who first trained in ballet, says she has been drawn back into dance in recent years, dabbling in contemporary dance.

"I have been trying to do whatever I can in terms of being involved in any dance performance or working with any choreographers who are around," she says.

In October 2009, she helped found Theatre as Is, an experimental physical theatre group that staged several productions the following year.

Louw says she hopes the + - = TOUCH performance will provide the jumping-off point for further collaborations.

Varaine established a performers' and composers' collective last year called Chamber Vulgarus, a group with a shifting membership.

For Friday's performance, the line-up includes viola, violin, a homemade electronic instrument, a gong, a double bass and Variane's instrument, which has been made specifically for the performance.

Varaine, a music composition student at the University of Otago, says the score for + - = TOUCH is a one-off.

"All the timings are based on what the dancers are doing so, really, it is not applicable to any other circumstances."

The music is partly scored, but also leaves room for plenty of improvisation, he says.

See it+ - = TOUCH, Glue Gallery Hall, 27 Stafford St, Dunedin, tomorrow at 8pm.

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