TANZ – dance review


Ten naked women cavorting on stage in a comic book reality is the wild work of 37-year-old Austrian choreographer and performance artist Florentina Holzinger. A live back piercing in close-up, dancers being elevated off the stage by their scalp and a rat birthing from an elderly woman (complete with fake blood) are just part of the offering. Fight Club is in full swing, a wicked witch boils a fake baby in a cauldron and the big bad wolf is prowling. That is not to overlook nude acrobatic acts performed while hanging from two suspended trail bikes.

It is a cheeky, comedic, shlock-horror, a provocative spectacle, of which sexuality is a large part. At one point, the troupe’s senior citizen and prima ballerina, Beatrice “Trixie” Cordua – who acts as a ballet instructor – acknowledges her urges.  She instructs each member of the company to spread their legs wider and “inspects” her charges from the rear. I could variously describe the show as organised chaos or erotic and erratic, for you never know what is going to happen next. Taking flight and fairy tales are prominent themes, as the framework is a two-act ballet, where the metaphysical comes to the fore.

There’s no question that TANZ (“dance” in German) is a challenging work. It certainly pushes the boundaries of taste, as creativity knows no bounds. What we see is overlaid by an eclectic collection of music – from classical to popular and much more besides – and sound effects. Did I appreciate it? Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. Holzinger, who didn’t start her career in contemporary dance until the age of 18, speaks with a unique voice.

She hasn’t been hailed as the Tarantino of dance for nothing. It’s an epithet she wears proudly.

TANZ, a work for mature audiences, is playing as part of the RISING Festival at Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, until 10th June.

For details of the full program, go to https://rising.melbourne

Alex First

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