Seeing footage of the recent drone shows at Vivid and WorldPride made my anticipation soar for Lucie in the Sky at the Canberra Theatre. Presented by Queensland-based contemporary dance company, Australasian Dance Collective, this was a night out like no other: Dancers with drones!
The show started with the dramatic expectation of a Star Wars movie or an Afterlife rave. A single dancer appeared on stage under the eerie lighting created by a drone and strobes. His fluidity of movement was futuristic, funky and mesmerising.
He was joined by the five other members of the troupe in a series of beautiful, disjointed formations with up to five drones swirling overhead, underneath, to the side….
In between these group exchanges, the dancers had solo moments in the (drone) spotlight, each with their own dance style and a very different kind of interplay with the drone/s.
The mood created by the extraordinary dancing, the booming electronic soundscapes and the maddening theatre lighting all conspired in my mind to make me wonder what kind of future lurks around the corner.
The spot lighting provided by the drones was used to stunning effect but the potential of drones to be menacing was only ever hinted at. Certainly, with the current anxiety over AI and round-the-clock surveillance, it could’ve been far more unsettling.
Mostly, the relationships between the dancers and the drones were playful and inquisitive and portrayed a brand new genre of entertainment to the audience.
As for the drones becoming characters with their own personalities (as stated on the promotional material)? Well.. I’m not so sure about that. We might need to hear the drones speaking (or maybe just hear their thoughts) for that level of connection to develop. However, I presume that’s the sort of performance we might be seeing in the not-too-distant future.