SCIMM Dance Company’s ‘Aetherium’ is crystal-clear symbolism of life
A cast of 19 professional performers from SCIMM Dance Company present Aetherium, a captivating triple bill of modern contemporary art expressed through movement. With choreography from SCIMM directors Scott Pokorny and Tim Barnes, and guest choreographer Zoee Marsh, themes exploring chaos and order, elemental exploration and life after death are innovatively unpacked.
Dancers begin a light-hearted game as the audience files in. Chasing each other across the stage, freezing when caught, their indirect pathways and audible laughter kick off not only the show but also the first of the three works, Not a Secret choreographed by Zoee Marsh. Scattered with no specific order in their chaotic spacing, the dancers melt, slide and run across the stage weaving in and out of lines and clumps while executing grounded movements and displaying altered emotions.
The variant aspect of time assists in expressing the chaotic/calm intention of the work as each sub-section of movement contrasts with the next. Unified floor work, for example, travels left and right seamlessly in time, demonstrating the concept of order, which is juxtaposed with moments of contrast within the movement. Dressed in black pants, long sleeve white tops and white socks, the simplistic costume choice showcases the versatility of each dancer by drawing attention to the unique style, movements and shapes displayed on the dull-lit stage.
Aetherium, the title act, is choreographed by Scott Pokorny and Tim Barnes (SCIMM). The second of the three works puts movement to the concept of the ‘Aether’; the clear sky, the upper regions of air beyond the clouds. With a lift in both lighting and music, the dancers contract and release their bodies while mapping out a work heavily influenced by ballet technique. Incorporating a number of complex turns and elevations, the combination of levels and addition of moments of stillness create a snapshot of movement for the audience, while a direct eye focus remains throughout.
Multiple dancers are individually isolated as the quality of movement changes to a continued, technical style. The partner work and connection between dancers is paired with synchronicity and repetition, thus inviting the audience to also connect in awe with the work and dancers themselves.
Purgatorium, the final work, is the only one to incorporate a prop. A simple chair, it effectively helps the audience unpack the concept of purgatory following departure of the mortal world. Commencing with connectivity between partners, the executed movements are heavy within the repeated sounds. This solemn work holds a feeling of inattentiveness as contrasting movements form transitions between sub-sections. Primarily contemporary-based, low levels of movement result in acrobatic inclusion as dancers demonstrate their high levels of strength and flexibility.
Throughout the performance the featured female dancer, who lives the story, remains on stage and in contact with the prop chair. Movement builds as surrounding dancers enter and leave, accumulating in numbers. Technically polished, this work is especially memorable due to the raw feeling expressed by the featured dancer, who touches the audience in multiple ways, silencing them with her emotional connection.
Aetherium is another successful SCIMM Dance Company performance. The all-adult cast members show an exquisite maturity in their movement as their passion for dance is poured onto the stage throughout all three works. A show sure to be remembered, thunderous applause is heard long after the performers’ well-deserved final bows.