CASTILE is an athletic, sensory and playful collaboration between choreographers Prue Lang and Jana Castillo, performed solo by the latter at Dancehouse, an institution of avant-garde dance in Melbourne. It pulsates with highly controlled and technically challenging dance (from ballet to breakdance), an electric soundtrack that ripples through the audience, and video projections that capture and disturb.
The piece sets out to explore the themes of neurodiversity, sensory experience and the evolution of modes of expression. The overall effect of watching the show was thrilling and existential, jaw-dropping at the physical prowess of Castillo dancing en pointe in the first segment, with feline animation in the second and flowing urban acrobatics in the final part. The physical and emotional dexterity of the performance was staggering, as a wide variety of styles and emotional registers filtered through Castillo’s body, reverberating through the audience like bullet time.
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The video projections, by Prue Lang, Pippa Samaya and Takeshi Kondo, showed the meticulous construction of pointe shoes, followed by a jaw-dropping adage from Castillo, where she spun and leaped around the stage, her feet often parallel and looking up. the public. as if looking at herself in the mirror.
The second videography was an extreme close-up of the elements: flowers in the wind, skin and hair bathed in the sun, waves lapping on the sea, ears of corn and crawling insects; the attention to detail both beautiful and disturbing. The extreme immersive effect was heightened by a rambling soundtrack by composer Chiara Costanza, complete with chimes, buzzes and thunder.
Castillo emerged as the spotlight revealed her onstage in a butterfly pose on a sheepskin rug, curling up out of position with cat-like agility. Her body seemed to ripple and melt like putty, she moved fluidly like a backwards video, leading into the next section of projections, an ASMR clip of hands crushing putty.
The final move of the choreography was nothing short of thrilling, as the heavy industrial music and precise robotic movements of Castillo turned into break-dancing (some of the best I’ve ever seen). The soundtrack skipped over old school hits such as Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” and the audience was woken up by screams, cheers and gasps. Castillo absolutely captured the eye with his virtuosity throughout the performance; it was difficult, if not impossible, to look away for a second.
The final song, ‘Girl on Fire’, summed up the performance. We witnessed a dancer at her absolute peak, dancing with every vigorous fiber of her being and so completely lost in the moment. It was fascinating and vital to testify. It seems superfluous to mention, but also important, that Castillo was performing following a back injury that prevented him from dancing in an earlier scheduled show. She is truly a force. Such a wonderful synergistic creation from two of Australia’s most exciting choreographers, Prue Lang and Jana Castillo, a privilege to watch.
CASTILE, dance house
Design and production: Prue Lang
Choreography: Prue Lang and Jana Castillo
Performer: Jana Castillo
Composer: Chiara Costanza
Video: Prue Lang, Pippa Samaya, Takeshi Kondo
Lighting design: Lisa Mibus
Producer: Alison Halit
CASTILE took place from March 3 to 6