Metal Ensemble Tikoro Lucy Guerin

‘Metal’: Lucy Guerin and Indonesia’s Ensemble Tikoro

February 28, 2020

Melbourne-based dance company Lucy Guerin Inc collaborates with Indonesian heavy metal choir Ensemble Tikoro to bring Metal, a confronting and earthy collision of dance and sound. 

Five contemporary dancers and eight metal-heads share the stage in a crossroad of cultures, art forms, languages and belief systems. Initially isolated, all performers come to realise the strength in working together, finally uniting to create a highly stylised and profound piece of art. 

Metal. Photo Gregory Lorenzutti.

A dancer appears in centre spotlight. Smoke rolls off her back as she moves with the fume’s silhouette. With military precision, Ensemble Tikoro immediately break the fourth wall as they enter the performance space from the audience. Petrifying sounds echo from the eight choir members, their density and pitch reminiscent of an underground carnival ghost-train ride. 

Wearing all-black attire and a heavy metal t-shirt of their choice, the choir adopts an animalistic and ferocious quality to their soundscape. Some sections of the vocals are uncomfortable, like nails going down a chalk board, yet the audience is awed by the symphony of sounds that work in harmony to create the timing and tempo for the dancers throughout the show’s entirety. 

Metal. Photo: Gregory Lorenzutti.

Lucy Guerin brings the two worlds of contemporary dance and Indonesian heavy metal together in this theatrical experience. The resulting explosion represents the challenges and progress of globalisation in the world today. 

As the performance draws to a close, a sense of togetherness is created. The dancers use the sounds of their own bodies while the choir members begin to dance the contemporary choreography. Suppressed screams and ferocious roars create a melodic beat that is persistently paired with delicate choreography.

Metal. Photo Gregory Lorenzutti.

Metal was rehearsed in both Bandung and Melbourne. The dancers travelled to Bandung, which sits beneath the volatile volcano Tangkuban Perahu. This volcano acts as the stimulus for their story and shared experience, embracing traditional ceremonies as a source of inspiration for Metal’s conception. 

“Beginning in a space of pure form and function the dancers are drawn into the intensity of the sound, using the local story of the volcano, and the volatile shifting crust of the earth as a score,” said Lucy Guerin. 

Metal rehearsals in Bandung. Photo supplied.

Lucy Guerin and Ensemble Tikoro’s Robi Rusdiana are to be commended for their creative collaboration in producing a work that encapsulates both togetherness and isolation. Maligned in their own backyard for their love of metal music, Ensemble Tikoro well know the feeling of isolation. This performance is more than just a combination of heavy metal and movement, it is a platform to bring humanity together in a celebration of uniqueness. 

Arts Centre Melbourne as part of TOPA Asia. 

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