Salt: Restless Exploration

Usually working with gravity-defying circus performers, Madrid-based dance director Rob Tannion explores the idea of self-worth with the upcoming stage show Salt

.Teaming up with Adelaide-based dance company Restless Dance Theatre, Salt stars three disabled dancers and one able-bodied dancer in the contemporary piece. “I feel like I’m very connected to salt; I’m a very ‘salty’ person,” Tannion muses. “A few years ago I read a book called The World History of Salt by Mark Kolanksy, and it was a really fascinating read as to how civilisation has been formed, wars have been raged and revenues have been funded by [salt]. So the idea for Salt has been on the backburner for about 10 years, but obviously I had to meet the company and the performers.” In 2011 Tannion took a break from his duties as Artistic Director of Spanish circus company Organización Efi mera to attend a two-week Restless workshop in Adelaide. There, he met the cast he’d long been waiting for – Lorcan Hopper, Jianna Georgiou, Dana Nance and Felicity Doolette. “After that workshop I went, ‘That’s the group. That’s the group I want to talk about Salt with,’” he enthuses. The stage set for Salt will feature the interior corner of a house and a big pile of salt, which will be interacted with throughout the performance in a variety of ways. Other props in the show will be “transformed into different things to challenge the idea of what you can and can’t do”. “The scene we’re working on now welcomes the male dancer, Lorcan, into the show with some stools. He’s very positive and has loads of self-esteem, and because we’re looking at ‘worth’ in the show, I needed a character that was full of self-confidence, so he’s perfect. There’s one scene where I ask him if he likes driving, and he says, ‘Ah, yes,’ so we turn the bed into a car using stools. “Then we’ve got Dana, who has short arms,” he continues. “I said to her one day, ‘Can you pick up the stool and put it on its end?’ She had a few tries, and she ended up getting herself underneath it and pushing it up. Which is great, because I do want to challenge what I guess is regarded as disability in the arts. The main theme is salt, but I’m really looking at self- worth and value. There’s some scenes that are quite poignant and some scenes that are quite funny, but I really do need that contrast to play with the four characters.” The soundtrack for the show has been created by Adelaide’s own DJ TR!P, who has a longstanding relationship with Restless. “The score for Salt is very electronic, but tied in with lots of soundscapes like salt breaking and the wind. The pace is very diverse – there’s one scene where they’re picking up salt and throwing it and really throwing themselves around, there’s some moments that are quite theatrical, some which involve partnering, and some which are pure dance. But within it all, I do always look for context.” Salt Odeon Theatre, 57a Queen St, Norwood Friday, January 17 to Saturday, January 25 Photo: Sam Oster

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