Replica is the latest work by the Stephanie Lake Company and it is a beauty, nearly impossible to describe without using a long list of gushing adjectives. It is just, that concepts for this work are so dense; each element within the work ricochets off this point of inception. The resulting effect employs all and everything, not just dance exclusively, to hit home with a work of immense beauty and never-ending intricacies.

Yes, the choreography bares all the hallmarks of  this company; striking physicality, boldness and detail, but it is what emerges from the space between that really defines this work. It strikes a delicate yet perfect balance between the heightened states of contemporary dance and the intimacy of the human condition.

From the outset, this is a work made for two dancers. Performed by Amyeric Bichon and Chistina Chan, the original thoughts and concepts that formed this performance pour freely through each of their bodies, emerging as some visceral yet tangible thing. The performance opens with the stage lit under harsh fluorescent; the effect is sterile and uncompromising, as if we are witnessing this performance from inside a laboratory, but as the performance continues, this lighting state also begins to unfold.

From lightening fast sequences to moments of improvisation, then back again, this a fierce and white knuckled performance, deft and defying. Sound design by Robin Fox completes the work and, is at times, fractured and unnerving but, in contrast, also emerges beautiful and salubrious.

When, over recent years in Melbourne, we have  been somewhat bombarded by dance artists and works that  are seemingly so caught up in their own ideas and concepts that the actual dance they have sought to create has, at best, been lacking, along comes this work. For Replica is the antithesis of all this: strong, bold and, above all, a highly sophisticated dance work. It’s the kind that you wish to see more of and could not come more highly regarded or recommended. This is the “ducks nuts” of contemporary dance. Replica is on now at Darebin Speakeasy.


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Photo credit: Damian Stephens and Pippa Samaya