Transit Dance gives first-year contemporary students one term to bring together two choreographic works by Alice Lee Holland and Jayden Hicks, while the second years perform a sweat-producing piece by Adam Wheeler. 

A full audience roars in support for the Transit Dance contemporary students at Melbourne’s Meat Market. The smoke machines aided with dazzling light cues bring this performance to life.

Alice Lee Holland’s piece DEBUT. Photo: Belinda Strodder.

The first piece by Alice Lee Holland ‘Debut’ focuses on feminine deference and meekness as a powerful act. Offering the dancers the chance to introduce themselves in the microphone stating their name, age and hometown give a reality check to this piece—we come from different places but we dance the same language. It is about owning the space they dance in without apology or reason. The start is slow to get going as the beginning is all about introductions and establishment of place. When the second piece of music comes on, the girls enter the stage in chorus heels while dancing a steamy contemporary. This unusual combination gives the female performances a dynamic command. It is seductive, enticing and overall—empowering. The last percussive song makes the choreography hit new heights with circular bridges, fly rolls, and extensive floor work. It is not until this last song that the dancers have a chance to truly showcase their skills from class. 

Jayden Hick’s piece AB IMO PECTORE. Photo: Belinda Strodder.

Jayden Hicks then follows with his piece ‘Ab Imo Pectore’ maintaining a sleek, silhouette look. The work examines themes of social media, judgment, and the right to an opinion to which, Hicks brings an alienist vibe. Dancers wear flesh body stockings that glare against the mauve lighting. Chorus dancers look on in vagueness as the lead pas de deux reveals a balletic quality (certainly looks to be assisted with Daniel Jaber’s classical training). The pair performs many lifts that are aesthetically pleasing, contrasting the chorus dancers who remain motionless pawns on stage. The dance begs for more action, which does not occur until the very last section and dancers finally get to smash out the intense floor work. The symmetry between the beginning and end is a reflection of the concept that social media never stops—it is a circular concept full of voices and facades.  

Adam Wheeler’s piece TUNNEL. Photo: Belinda Strodder.

The last piece performed by the second year diploma contemporary students command the stage with Adam Wheeler’s ‘Tunnel’. Wheeler’s improvisational approach to choreography brings a highly stylised form of contemporary that is truly unique to the dancers. Dancers stand with stockings on their head and dressed in oversized business jackets while holding a scrunched upside-down smile. The beginning of the piece begins with highly repetitive movements, possibly representing the never-ending tunnel they place themselves in. As tension builds, the choreography flourishes into a disarray of motion that is intriguing to watch. Dancers clearly get a workout from this piece with its consistent command for tension in the body and face. Dancers are also not afraid to look silly on stage, which is such a professional quality to have.