by Rae Wilson
STRENGTH. Seduction. Sin.
Expressions Dance Company's latest offering is a masterpiece in communicating emotion through dance.
Natalie Weir's 7 Deadly Sins world premiere asks its audience - which is the deadliest sin?
Through raw strength and powerful body movement, eight dancers offer a compelling insight into sloth, greed, gluttony, lust, envy, pride and wrath.
Their incredible stamina is maintained for the whole 60 minutes of this performance - an hour of power and fierce energy that is heart accelerating for the audience.
Man, a mere mortal portrayed through Thomas Gundry Greenfield, is conflicted as the seven sins battle for his conscience.
Watching TV, he initially comes under the influence of sloth through the smooth lines and seemingly effortless moves of Cloudia Elder.
It's clear Elder has cemented her place in the creative dancing field as she flits between playful abandon and sultry seductress in this role.
She melts across the man's shoulders, draping herself gracefully as if laziness is her goal in life.
Despite muscles obviously contracting, Greenfield seems to lift and lower Elder in slow motion, an effect that defies the true strength involved in the pair executing such moves.
As an ancient soul emerging from a tomb filled with treasures, Daryl Brandwood quickly embodies greed.
His desire for material wealth shines through his unique brand of dance; the industry veteran finds new ways to tell stories with every performance.
It is a true privilege to see his latest brilliance before the 44-year-old "hangs up his socks"; a phrase Weir quipped after the opening night performance.
Jack Ziesing portraying gluttony and Elise May embodying lust proves a scintillating pairing - both dynamic and unapologetically honest in their sinful behaviour.
Driven by a desire to consume more than one needs and a craving for the pleasures of the body, their ripped bodies heat up the Playhouse Theatre at QPAC.
Writhing across the floor and contorting their bodies with stunning versatility, they give into their indulgent sins with little regard to anyone around them.
Benjamin Chapman shone as he brought pride to the stage - running a tightrope between confidence and a perverted sense of worth through fluid and riveting contemporary dance.
A curious flirt with envy (Rebecca Hall) showed the conflict between having confidence in oneself and being envious of those around you - desiring their traits, status or situation to one's detriment.
Ziesing, Brandwood and Chapman make the most of the props, a series of golden boxes from which each sin emerges, through clever use of strength and weight bearing.
They also offer splashes of humour as they explore their connections.
But it's the unique digital sounds from Darrin Verhagen that bring the whole performance together - from slow breathing for sloth, classical notes for pride and drums during wrath.
The dramatic beats in the latter set the scene for the deadliest sin.
Each sin wrestles for control, fighting with man and with each other.
Ultimately man chases after lust but wrath takes over - spurning love and settling on fury.
Wrath (Michelle Barnett) manipulates man's every move and he damages the thing he desires most with violence and anger.
While everyone interprets dance in different ways, this writer caught an undertone of domestic violence.
Seeing the formerly vibrant lust (May) limp away damaged by man succumbing to wrath seemed poignant given the Queensland Government's decision this week to aggressively tackle this very issue.
Greenfield anchors 7 Deadly Sins - allowing EDC dancers to bear their souls through charisma, vulnerability and versatility.
This show is sure to travel and capture audiences with its beauty wherever it goes.
This season runs at QPAC in Brisbane until Saturday August 29.
Tickets are priced from $55-$65 for adults, $42 for concession/senior and $29 for students.
To book, visit the QPAC website