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“In its overwhelming deluge of references and thought provoking scenes, Underworld asks how unlimited access to information has altered our relationship to our bodies and the bodies of others, our muscle memory and our collective subconscious. It powerfully employs the corporeality of contemporary dance to discuss what the body is to us now and what it might become in a way that is hard to express in words, channeling the unspeakable anxieties that live just below our skin.

Gore, confrontation, guileful acrobatics combine, Amanda Ribas Tugwell, Beat Magazine

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“Their crime was against nature
Nature found them guilty" 

-Long Weekend, 1978

Underworld delves into the dark and murky in-betweens amidst the things we think we know and understand. Deriving it’s structure from 1978 Australiana eco horror Long Weekend (Colin Eggleston), Dante’s Inferno and OVERWORLD (Aiken and Jensen 2014), this cautionary tale raises questions about our complicated relationships to ‘nature’, environment and national identity. Broken narratives intricately weave together movement, sound and film to create a shadowy collage of dystopian futures, flesh, and the Australian landscape. 

From the context of an increasingly digital world, Underworld considers our relationship to the physical, natural; flesh, earth, animal, death and the limitations of our human form. Underworld recycles & re- contextualises content and material to interrogate appropriation, asking what is ours to take? We ask in relation to the “natural” world, the Australian landscape, as well as cultural production locally and internationally. As contemporary Australians our lives, art and culture are a collage of disparate influences often at odds with, or in response to our relationship to post-colonial Australia and a warming climate. 

Presented by:

Melbourne Knowledge Week, Meat Market 2019
Supercell Festival, Brisbane 2017
Northcote Town Hall, Darebin Arts 2017

Concept, choreography and performance:
Sarah Aiken and Rebecca Jensen / Deep Soulful Sweats

Collaborating performers:
Claire Leske, Louella May Hogan and Amber McCartney (2019)

Lighting Design: Matthew Adey
Photography: Production images Gregory Lorenzutti, Hero images Tearlach Wales
Sound Design: Andrew Wilson
Video: Tearlach Wales

Underworld is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. Presented by Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance Brisbane and Darebin Arts Speakeasy 2017. Underworld has also been supported by Artshouse – 4 Walls residency, Maximised by Chunky Move and Metro Arts Brisbane. 

More reviews and writing:

Underworld, Jessie Lewis, Toorak Times Tagg

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