Review by Lauren Donikian
Madonna wasn’t lying when she sang ‘let your body go with the flow’ in her hit ‘Vogue’ and the same can be said whilst experiencing ‘Sculptured Riddims’ at the Moonshine Bar in The Thirsty Mile which can be found at piers 2/3, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay as part of Sydney Festival. Transformed into an art space and weaving through it’s hall is Hi-Vis a 46-metre-long installation which adds to the uniqueness of this event.
With DJ Arisse spinning the tracks on entry the first thing you see is Hi-Vis and it’s red and Fluro yellow design, highlighted with Fluro lights and moving ever so slightly as fans blast around it. As you walk through the installation there are hints of what is to come as there are sections with black mats that will soon serve as a performance space for the artists. Over the three-hour event disco, house and ballroom beats filled the room and kept the audience on their feet.
In this follow the performer style show we were treated to some of the best moves to come out of the underground ballroom scene, from voguing to waacking, duck walking and shablams it is safe to say that my knees will never be the same again.
Maggie Madfox opened with her mesmerizing disco performance which had the audience in the palm of her hand. We followed her willingly and were introduced to The House of Cartier, for those uneducated (like me) this is a select group of dancers that have found their chosen family in the ballroom scene. As members of the House of Cartier showed us why they are a force to be reckoned with they led us to Robin Chen, another solo performer whose freestyle house moves had everyone impressed. Chen led us to $uper Villain$ and Waackazon, dance crews that came together to perform a medley of disco tracks that had us all in our feels. At the end of their performance everyone came together and “battled” it out with death drops, wiping the floor clean and giving space for members of the audience to participate. It was a lot of fun and audience members of all ages were really getting into it and supporting these talented artists. The beauty of the ball scene is that everyone is accepted, as they are and that could be felt in the room.
Curated by Azzam Mohamed and produced with Intimate Spectacle ‘Sculptured Riddims’ will play over three nights during the festival, with different dance styles being the focus each night. With two nights to go I highly recommend going along and checking out the remaining dance styles. Keep in mind, there aren’t chairs, it is standing room only and for those shorties (like me) squat at the front if you must because these dancers are worth watching. If anything, it is an education in expression. Dance is more than just Jazz, Tap and Ballet and ‘Sculptured Riddims’ embraces this and it’s artists by providing them with a space where they can feel safe, seen and accepted just for doing what they love.