The Falling Song

The Falling Song

There are a few key ingredients that contribute to the continuing success of dance troupe Junk Ensemble, and many were evident in their latest production The Falling Song: a strong visual sense, with Aedin Cosgrove’s set commanding centre stage; a cast of children that bring both jack rabbit anima and full-throated singing to the proceedings; and an understated movement vocabulary that prides subtlety over rhetoric.

Most of all, as with all their dances to date, choreographers Jessica and Megan Kennedy are happy to let images, sounds and movement sit side-by-side until they coalesce into something mythical.

An elegant simplicity permeates their work, a way of presenting the ordinary with a sense of clarity and profundity. In The Falling Song, a simple metaphor of falling is weaved into the proceedings. There are hints of falling in (and out) of love through Jesse Kovarsky’s singing, dozens of apples littering the stage, and a hilarious low-tech Icarus sequence complete with cardboard cut-out clouds.

Bubbling beneath, there is also a sub-plot considering male identity. The excellent cast of four male dancers – Kovarsky, Omar Gordan, Eddie Kay and Carl Harrison – display macho bravado with ebullient back-slapping when in the herd, but vulnerable isolation when alone. The primal culture is aided by Denis Clohessy’s score (performed with aplomb by George Higgs), which can drag down the action with electro-gloom, only to raise it again moments later by the updraughts of joyous singing from the members of Piccolo Lasso children’s choir.

As the dancers fall motionless from the top of the set to mattresses below, there is the depressingly obvious overtone of suicide, but a more positive emotion also emerges. Falling is seen less an accident, but more an action one chooses to do – the brave abandonment behind letting yourself fall. That sense of release, of letting go and giving in to fate, is what supplies the hope that is never far from the darkness.