Double Beat dancers overcome COVID to bring a show to Sydney

Composer Alyx Dennison’s soundtrack for Double beat ranges from bird and wildlife sounds to Black’s son in utero and his own child falling asleep.

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“Most of what we hear are heartbeats, blood flowing through the body, and voices, breaths, and laughter recorded in contact with the body,” she said, “giving an internal or womb perspective. of the outside world”.

Double beat will be performed at the Riverside Theaters in Parramatta from May 5-7 after a long and difficult gestation. The show was supposed to premiere in 2020, but was canceled twice due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

A Helpmann Award winner, Black is one of Australia’s leading choreographers but has been impacted by COVID-19 because, as she pointed out, dancers cannot work from home.

“I certainly haven’t maintained any physical fitness during the shutdowns and I still feel like I’m recovering,” she said. “Fortunately, I’m not on the show.”

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Contemporary dance was already a struggle in Australia before the pandemic, prompting some performers and choreographers to reconsider their dance careers.

“I was not able to work at all,” Black said. “With two young children at home, teaching was not an option and everything else was basically on hold.”

Double beat will be staged by FORM Dance Projects, which aims to promote contemporary dance in Western Sydney.

Company director Annette McLernon said the area has a rich dance culture, from First Nations to cultural, street and contemporary dance.

Still, McLernon said western Sydney was getting less funding for the arts and “it’s still very difficult to find a dance studio in Parramatta.

Sydney’s western arts have also been hit hard by severe and prolonged shutdowns, which have closed venues and halted performances.

“Dance in particular was touched, because it’s the art form of touch, and a dancer is playing with space and other dancers,” McLernon said. “Solos have become very popular during the pandemic, especially youth solos created in the bedroom and performed for an audience on Tik Tok.”

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