Review: Common Dissonance

Moving, contemporary circus work from Na Djinang Circus

dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Common Dissonance
Photo by Bridget Brigg
Published 09 Aug 2023

After passing underneath the giant inflatable gibbon guarding the entrance to House of Oz, we are 'welcomed to country' by Melbourne’s Na Djinang Circus. Without reading any of the blurb, what immediately becomes obvious is a trio of performers in silent symbiosis. There is a non-hierarchical, non-patriarchal grace to their acrobatics and dance, tessellating around each other, flirting, tussling, comforting, but not necessarily always in harmony – we also see moody huffing, physical pain, winding each other up.

Circus founder Harvey Mann is from the Wakka Wakka nation in central Queensland and does a mean routine with diabolo and indigenous sign language. He set up Na Djinang to bring a First Australian perspective to the complex modern world; the title Common Dissonance reflects universal disagreements and how we disentangle ourselves from problems.

Jessica Connell performs some of the best hula hoop you will ever see, staged in a minimal way with a soft electro soundtrack, just six hoops whirring around her taut muscles, a smooth blur of crisscrossing angles and absolutely precise grace. Johnny Brown brings elegance to his muscular dance and acrobatics with body paint, traditional art, origami and water also dropping in for some short cameos. Simple staging from a strong trio, with powerful results.