Nine drummers, nine dancers: Manifesto is an explosion of energy, dance and sound

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Nine drummers, nine dancers: Manifesto is an explosion of energy, dance and sound

Photo: Roy Van Der Vegt
words by george tana

Manifesto features enigmatic and versatile performances from the dancers and drummers alike, harnessing pure creative energy into an exhilarating hour of dance and rhythm.

Initially featured at this year’s RISING Festival in Melbourne, Stephanie Lake Company’s Manifesto went on to tour sold-out shows throughout Australia, finally returning to Melbourne for a limited run until Sunday the 5th of November. 

Nine drum kits, nine drummers, nine dancers – the relatively straightforward concept was executed in an absolutely thrilling manner.

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Choreographed by Stephanie Lake and composed by Robin Fox, the performance featured fully realised sonic and visual worlds that melded together in unexpected ways, encouraging the audience to take notice of the drummers and the dancers separately and together to gain a holistic understanding of the show. 

Manifesto’s opening night on Wednesday, October 25 boasted a fully packed house inside the intimate performance space of the Playhouse Theatre at Melbourne’s Arts Centre in Southbank.

The audience was bustling with excitement and energy pre-show, quickly hushing to pay undivided attention when the curtain finally opened, revealing a visual feast: a towering stage with drummers on platforms and dancers set against a watermelon-coloured curtain. 

The show quite literally started with a bang, immediately capturing and maintaining the audience’s attention throughout the hour with what can be described as a journey through the human experience.

Manifesto was an audio-visual delight filled with peaks and troughs –moments that make you laugh out loud juxtaposed with thought-provoking sequences that created a complex, vulnerable and enthralling performance. 

Utilising the drum kits in unorthodox ways allowed the show’s live soundtrack to feign instrumentation in moments. Bassy, wide sounds emulating that of a synth were featured alongside haunting reverberated resonance.

Intriguing, contemporary sonic decisions like these left the audience wondering just how the drummers were able to create such a fully realised soundscape using only drumkits. 

Manifesto itself was a collection of emotional vignettes, with no conventional storyline or plot but featuring a strong sense of purpose consistently driving the performance forward. The show is a must-see hour of explosive energy featuring a talented cast of dancers and drummers. 

To book tickets to see Manifesto, head here.