REVIEW | GLORIA | A mesmerising night of movement and sound

Review | Emma Brand

GLORIA by Douglas Wright after VIVALDI brings vitality and movement to the stage. It is a visual and auditory feast for the senses. Douglas Wright (1956-2018), who is considered one of New Zealand’s most consequential artists in the contemporary dance space, originally brought GLORIA to life in 1990. Over the following seven years, GLORIA saw several return seasons in New Zealand and internationally.

Artistic director of Co3, Raewyn Hill honours the past achievements of Wright in her presentation of GLORIA, as Wright honoured the past achievements of Vivaldi’s work. It is an incredible achievement and evident of Hill’s vision for Co3 that this performance graces the WA stage. Co3 Contemporary Dance Australia is joined by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and St George’s Cathedral Consort, conducted by Dr. Joseph Nolan.

The staging does not hide the orchestra or consorts, with soloists being highlighted on stage throughout the performance. This is of note, as this Perth season, hosted at the Heath Ledger Theatre, is the first instance that GLORIA has been performed with live music and accompanying voices from consort. The talent and successful merging of dancers, live music and consort provide an exceptional theatrical experience not to be missed! It is hard to fault a performance where a collaborative process has been so well presented.

The choreography feels natural and embedded in the music. Vivaldi’s work Gloria is the foundation and inspiration of Wright’s piece. Wrights honoured its namesake, by utilising its twelve short movements to encapsulate the emotional highs and the sombre lows with the movement and vitality of its dancers. Executed to precision, Co3 move in harmony with the music, observing its constantly changing pace and mood.

Curtain Raiser: A Trio is performed as a stand-alone work presented at the beginning of the evening. Performed by Co3 artistic director Raewyn Hill and artistic director of LINK Dance Company at WAAPA, Michael Whaites. It is tied together by the accompaniment of Bach’s Partita for Solo Violin No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 104:V performed by the incredible Laurence Jackson, concertmaster of WASO. Jackson’s accompaniment shines as he is afforded the same spotlight as dancers Hill and Whaites. It is the physical presence of Jackson on stage that reminds us, the audience, that performance is a collaborative moment between both dancer and musician. A trio is aptly named, as each artist works in unison to create a composition that provides a visual exhibit for the audience. It is a well-matched performance to prelude GLORIA, as it pulls the audience focus onto the stage.

Co3, WA Symphony Orchestra and St George’s Cathedral Consort collaboration make this an exception presentation of the thirty-year-old work GLORIA. It is a performance not to be ignored!

GLORIA is on at the STCWA until 18th September 2022. TICKETS

GLORIA by Douglas Wright (2022) Co3 Contemporary Dance.  Photo: Shotweiler Photography

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