Review: TANZ

Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne
Until 10 June

Ten naked women cavorting on stage in a comic book reality is the wild work of 37-year-old Austrian choreographer and performance artist Florentina Holzinger.

A live back piercing in close-up, being elevated off the stage by one’s scalp and a rat birthing from an elderly woman, complete with fake blood are just part of the offering.

Fight Club is in full swing, a wicked witch boils a fake baby in a cauldron and the big bad wolf is prowling.

That is not to overlook nude acrobatic acts performed while hanging from two suspended trail bikes.

The Full Monty has nothing on this showcase of the weird and the wonderful.

It is a cheeky, comedic, shlock-horror, a provocative spectacle, of which sexuality is a large part.

At one point, the troupe’s senior citizen and prima ballerina, Beatrice “Trixie” Cordua – who acts as a ballet instructor – acknowledges her urges.

She instructs each member of the company to spread their legs wider and inspects her charges – who, unlike her, are hirsute in the nether region – from the rear.

Florentina Holzinger TANZ

I could variously describe the show as organised chaos or erotic and erratic, for you never know what is going to happen next.

Taking flight and fairy tales are prominent themes, as the framework is a two-act ballet, where the metaphysical comes to the fore.

There is no question that TANZ (“dance” in German) is a challenging work.

It certainly pushes the boundaries of taste, as creativity knows no bounds.

What we see is overlaid by an eclectic collection of music – from classical to popular and much more besides – and sound effects.

Did I appreciate it? Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. Holzinger, who didn’t start her career in contemporary dance until the age of 18, speaks with a unique voice.

Not for naught has she been hailed as the Tarantino of dance. It is an epithet she wears proudly.

TANZ, a work for mature audiences, is playing as part of the RISING Festival at Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne, until 10th June.

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Alex First

Alex First

Alex First believes all people have a story to tell, if only a good playwright can prize it out of them. Alex has a natural curiosity about the world and believes a strong narrative, or narrative with music, can open the door to subjects about which he knows little. Like his parents before him, theatre is his passion – a passion with emotional resonance, one that moves and excites him. He brings decades’ experience as an arts’ connoisseur to his role as a critic.
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