Construct ADT 2017Australian Dance Theatre. Anniversary Season 2017. 29 Nov 2017


10 years ago, the late Tanja Liedtke choreographed and unleashed on the world what was to be her last work, Construct. It arrived in Adelaide from an overseas tour two years after her death and left audiences awestruck by its power; an impact doubled by her passing.


Sufficient time has passed to reflect on past responses to the work in those difficult days. For so many, it was all too close to home. The business of working out what this was, and meant, along with the loss of Liedtke clouded much.


Original ensemble member, co-choreographer, and Remount Director, Kristina Chan along with Remount Director, Craig Barry offer a production featuring three new dancers who strongly affirm the initial sense created 10 years ago. Not only was Construct something radically new, but equally timeless in its expressed content; the human frailty which underlies how life is constructed and broken, and that ‘building’ choices can constrict or free us in life.


Kimball Wong, Jana Castillo and Marlo Benjamin manage, with fierce impassioned commitment, a work of exacting physical demands that shifts from comedy to deep emotional drama. Construct is such a purely, deeply human work at the core.


From the delightful clown like slapstick phrases featuring Wong desperately attempting to keep the stiff figures of Castillo and Benjamin from toppling over, to shy finger walking interactions between Castillo and Wong or a heartfelt samba love dance, Construct constantly explores the highs and lows of human beings building their deepest connections.


An open stage strewn with the trappings of a building site - wooden slats, electric drill, ladders and trestles - serve two purposes brilliantly; perfect props to play comic building games. They symbolise, and make clear, the broader intent of Construct in linking to the heart and soul of human successes and failings at life-construction.


It’s therefore no surprise choreographically that Construct makes brilliant, albeit demanding use of sharp angles, bends, twists and turns closely associated with the business of a building site. Liedtke’s choreography, fused with DJ Trip’s remarkably subtle capacity to shift from mechanistic to romantic ambience, manages to offer a double world. The rawness of building against the rawness of human experience.


Liedtke’s approach in Construct has, over the last decade, begun sneaking into other works and choreographic technique. Her use of simple, sharp and crystal clear vignettes, focus on uncluttered but accessible emotional narrative, and drive to present human experience as universally understood by all are significant gifts to audiences, dancers, and choreographers of the future.


David O’Brien


When: 29 Nov to 2 Dec

Where: Space Theatre


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