Sarah Green, Australian Stage.


Fast-paced and intense, The Zone is an hour of dance power, bursting at the seams with 11 whirling, twirling, writhing, twisting dancers. The performance opened with whiplash intensity, with a barrage of bodies banging against the walls and lurching across the stage. This built up to the troupe shaking and clinging to each other, before the tempo eased to show healing and recovery, with couples and groups merging and lifting each other up.


Choreographed by Co3 Artistic Director Raewyn Hill, The Zone†is an exploration of the way community is formed through times of tragedy and tumult. In the wake of a natural disaster such as the recent Hurricane Harvey, stories of compassion and kindness inevitably emerge, breaking down barriers of race and ideology. All 11 dancers were shrouded in sleek, long, black dresses – think monastic with a touch of ninja – symbolising their shared experiences and the power of collective action. They made striking silhouettes against a stark background and although they were all in the same costume, diversity was evident in the variety of hairstyles and body shapes, with Mitch Harvey in particular towering over the other dancers.


The minimalist set was brilliantly designed by Japanese architect Satoshi Okada, who aimed to create an illusion of infinity of space, with the walls caving back on each side, from which the dancers dropped in, climbed out and jumped over, creating an energy zone in the middle. One-man-band Eden Mulholland set the mood with his original score of layered harmonies, soulful keys and driving beats.


I must confess that once the brutality of the initial scenes were over, I was hoping the rest of the performance would be more relaxing, but perhaps in today’s social climate, the recurring theme of discord was more realistic. It was never Director Raewyn Hill’s intention to give the audience a break, as she explained that often once the pressure zone after a disaster has passed “you go back to your life before, and all sorts of judgement… the walls between us start to build up again”.


Most of the artists were given the chance to perform a brief solo, and with almost all the dancers graduates or students at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, The Zone showcased some of the outstanding talent our State has to offer.


Image by Stefan Gosatti.