Dance review: Forgery, Australasian Dance Collective

Computer games: dancers being manipulated by algorithms.

Forgery is an experimental show of modern dance brought to the stage by the Australasian Dance Collective. The concept that drives Forgery is an algorithm: what are the challenges and opportunities of using computers to produce art? 

Six dancers are fed instructions live on stage by a computer and through earphones. Neither the audience nor the dancers know how the dance will evolve. The algorithm also controls lighting, costumes and music. This makes every performance, from opening night until closing, a completely different and unique experience.   

The performance is as dystopian as it is funny. It alternates moments of tension and angst with humour. Some of the prompts that the dancers are given are funny and playful and cut through intense sounds and lighting. This humour makes the audience feel connected to the show in ways that contemporary dance rarely does. It feels nice to laugh together, especially as we explore such a serious topic as human-machine integration.  

Forgery is developed by award-winning Australian dancer, sound designer, choreographer and creative coder, Alisdair Macindoe. Macindoe’s idea to use technologies to produce a modern dance performance is thought-provoking and certainly makes us question the direction of dance in a highly technological future. How are humans and machines to work together to make art?

Read: Dance review: Coppélia, West Australian Ballet

Australasian Dance Collective’s dancers are simply majestic. They move on stage with a lightness, ease, and playfulness that feel inspiring.

The stage design and costumes are minimalist. The dancers wear monochromatic active wear and on stage there is only a large screen where the audience can read the prompts that the dancers receive. 

Forgery is a brave production that demonstrates the adaptability of Australasian Dance Collective’s dancers and the big ideas of its directors and producers. The show is short and intense (only 45 minutes without an interval), but also funny and inquisitive. It is worth every single minute. 

Australasian Dance Collective in association with Brisbane Festival
QPAC, Cremorne
Tickets $39-$99

Forgery will be performed until 2 October 2021

Federica Caso is a political analyst and writer. She has recently completed her PhD in International Politics at the University of Queensland. Her research focuses on the politics of aesthetics and art. She is interested in how art and culture are co-opted in systems of power and domination, and used as instruments of political resistance. She has written, hosted events, and facilitated discussions about the politics of aesthetics. She is a board member of House Conspiracy, an art centre located in West End, Brisbane.