digging in Melbourne

melbourne excavate flyer
we’re showing the work in melbourne. we will be asking for responses from people that come to watch.

if you were at the showing you can leave a comment on this post or on any of the other posts (you may even want to respond to more than 1, go crazy!). if you weren’t at the showing you can leave comments too!

we’re interested in hearing about what people saw, about the stories, about the responses and feelings evoked, and any other comments/thoughts as well.

also, many thanks to Rae Howell for her beautiful music. catch her and the Sunwrae ensemble live soon in Melbourne.

6 Responses to “digging in Melbourne”

  1. Jane Says:

    for me your work […] explored/excavated that line between innocent childhood play and coming to harm and grief ~ when ‘boys being boys’ can cause tragedy, heart-break and trauma ~ how the inevitable exploration of boundaries of self and space can lead one into abusive or dangerous zones ~ a fine line between good and evil ~

    I found the work particularly moving when gravity and that universal force of pull and counter-pull was in fact a third party to the dance ~ a sense that this line of excavation is a natural motion and has its own volition that can catch and move any one of us if we are not aware of our limits and limitations



  2. ree Says:


    Dirt bagged
    Bone dry
    Long gone
    Not there
    Never gone
    Hated no
    Helped no

    Rolled over
    In a grave
    He was held
    Holding on

    He pulled it
    Dragged it over
    Heaved it up
    No, it gripped him
    Dragged him over
    Heaved him up
    Pushed him down
    He pulled it down
    He dragged it up again
    By the ribs
    By the jaw
    It got him
    By the jaw
    Round the neck
    He can’t breathe
    He can’t leave
    It’s stuck to him
    He’s part of it

    He doesn’t want it
    He doesn’t want it gone
    It’ll never go
    It’ll never go again
    It’s dead
    Not dead
    Still there
    Not resting
    Not restless
    Saying nothing
    Not breathing
    Not dead
    Not known
    Not yet

  3. Paul Says:

    Well - you both know I think you’re great
    I have a few random thoughts, but I think they might be better framed with some knowledge of your strategies into the showing material….in terms of how structured or open the improvisation was - So tell me everything you can later….and it’d be good to keep talking…

    What I saw/perceived was a first half/two thirds of the work that looked like both a simple choreography and a quite intricately structured improv (in terms of shifting between and back …to and from various states/scores - although I also have a sense this is wrong!) this is also not to say that the final third looked unstructured but it was ……..dunno

    This first part of the work (until a bit before dave found himself against the wall for a while and before jacob went into the solo falling stuff) was quite successful for me and also quite sparse.
    I thought the use of what I perceived to be a non cooperative score was really well done and gave you the opportunity to not only shift the power struggle, but also to revisit material/scores both from yourselves and each other. Within this there were some really poignant ways in which this
    occurred - dave taking jacobs arch back to fall on him Later on splitting from a more cooperative dance with each other to return to your entry material/scores… One or two others I just can’t quite grasp.

    There was a complete lack of pretence from you both - both as soloists and in duet and in may ways I think this thing is your single biggest strength….it was also the thing that seemed to make it necessary to take a bit of time into the show - kind of like theatre where you need to spend a
    bit of time with the characters to relate to them - I enjoyed this until about 30 minutes or so….then I wanted either a significant shift or the sparseness/quality/tone of the piece to shift (I know this is partly aesthetic which I try to avoid in commenting upon in work, but I also feel like there’s a bit more to it….not sure what though)

    For me this comes back to the improv v choreo debate - because the other thing I felt really strongly about was your involvement - your level of listening…it’s really fucking impressive and I couldn’t fault it yesterday - but after this point I felt something really needed to change and I just
    don’t feel like you could account for that improvisationally speaking…..fuck this is hard to make clear……

    When jacob kept returning to dave throwing him around (floppy/bouncing bones being propelled by another) it was great - but there was something about how you got there that was very the same to how you had arrived at earlier poignant moments….and that was what I wanted to see more variation in (how you arrived/ended up in places/images/scores) - because you two are
    extremely virtuosic in terms of range - and somehow I see this as more a choreographic thing and less a dancerly/performance thing…..does that make sense?
    I also think this relates to the length of the work…that is I didn’t really question it for the first 3o mins or so - only later..

    I think that’s it - again there is so something there and it’s really different from flux and I’d love to see more of it…hell I want to be involved in more of it….

    Love to you both and chat soon - maybe we should coffee or phone talk….this takes too long to write!

    Love - pauly

  4. Trevor Dunn Says:

    I enjoyed the work. What I saw were two male dancers in an empty space with a large screen which projected text. There was also music.

    For me the text triggered me into thinking about current affairs and the world we live in. The post 9/11 world of the american global empire, the war on terrorism, the war in Iraq seem to be spoken of as a personal war between two men in a performance space or a war against the body; against the self. The two dancers presented a dark work, a black comedy about today’s world. I saw two men trapped or lost in their own thoughts or grief or despair, at times rocking crouched backwards and forwards. When the two men meet they can only relate through violence and torture. They push, kick, hit, and punish each other or is it the same man doing it to himself.

    I thought the projected text act as a invitation to invest the work with meaning and comedy. Coming from a theatre background I found the text useful in helping me see the work in a broader context than two men in a room moving to music. I found the work as pesimistic, tragic and funny. A comment on the male condition and how often men fail other men in relationships both personal and gobal through male on male violence either as individuals or as armies. I enjoyed how the work provoked me to think and to ask questions. Although the did not seem to me much hope offered in this work but maybe that is for another show.

    Thankyou Jacob and Dave I’m glad I saw it. Love Trev

  5. paul roberts Says:

    Dear Dave and Jacob,
    thankyou for inviting me to your showing.

    Some thoughts-
    Two male bodies on stage seeming soft, sensitive, listening, ready to respond.

    Sometimes they were pulled, held, pressed by the other. Hands pulled and pushed, lower backs were heaved in ways that were it me, injury would have occured. And sometimes the weight and momentum of one body was directed into the floor, through the other body - ouch. My little voice of despair woke up. I waited for a different emphasis to emerge. At times it came. Adjusting my focus, and there was gravity being played, gravity, and character, and emotion. Beautiful. I like Ree’s poem, or cascade of words, very much.
    I did not want to turn away, switch off, there was too much life in this collaboration. But at times I did. at those times I guess thought the work was stuck, unlistening, in a jostle.
    I wanted so much from this work, this was the problem I faced when meeting theactual piece - my hopes were so excited.
    This excitment hasn’t dissipated. Thankyou for allowing me to whitness this emergent work. and I hope you can continue
    love Paul

  6. dc Says:

    hi paul (roberts),

    thanks for adding your comments.

    i read a tentativeness in your writing. i think you’re trying to say there were things you didn’t like about the work but are covering it in a veil that confuses it or tries to lessen the impact, or something.

    in response to your words i have some statements and some questions. the statements first. we never hurt ourselves or each other in performance - while some of the material we are using in excavate is agressive and contains some violence it is supported by a rigourous practise that means we have a highly developed awareness of our limits. we are exlporing those limits in this work.

    so some questions.
    if you didn’t want to turn away or switch off, why did you? what made that happen? it’s a litle confusing to read - you didn’t want to turn away but you also did because you thought the work was stuck. does this mean even while you were turning away you were still wanting to watch? and can you let us know how you thought it was stuck and unlistening? that would be really interesting to hear.

    also, what did you want from the work? i am fascinated by expectation. what were you expecting? and why was it a problem you were faced with?

    thanks for writing and for supporting our work.

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