This performance starts with such promise. Entering the performance space, the audience is greeted by the pulsating bass, which is more akin to a nightclub setting. Bright lights bathe this space. The element of surprise is worked to its utmost in the opening scenes; each of the performers emerge from the audience, stripping down before they take to the stage. It’s a delicious and altogether subversive starting point for a dance performance that could and rightly should have been so much more than what was offered to the audience.
Beautiful, slow and languid, for the first short while, the movements of this ensemble are hypnotic and draw the audience’s gaze. The choreography is at this point still able to hold some poise, but it’s not long before its shine begins to dull, and the resulting effect is a group of adults dry humping IKEA furniture. As if in anti-performance, the opening bass line that greeted the audience falls away, and all that remains is the sound of cocks slapping against bare flesh. It’s akin to a DJ dropping his game amid a swingers party; some things should stay behind closed doors.
Is there enough in this performance to place it in the category of dance, or does it feel more comfortable being defined by the boundaries of performance art? Is it sheer brilliance parading behind a barrier of mediocrity, and has a point been somehow missed here?
Holding a mirror up to the prudish and very much Victorian attitude held by many Australians towards nudity, sexuality, and fluidity, this work was successful to a certain degree. But even this should be questioned, for there is a tipping point between making a point and progression, or as in this case, ramming an idea so hard down the throats of the audience that, regardless of our gag reflex, it becomes insulting. It doesn’t aim to bridge, nor to be anything more than some elitist dance work. It’s great that Melbourne has been exposed to such a radical performance, as it is so foreign to the work more often created by locals, but there is a reason why some avenues aren’t explored. 7 Pleasures is one such example of work that really is pointless, has no meaning and lacks even a thread of substance.