Premiere: 19 September 2002, Chunky Move Studio, Melbourne.
” … it has the same kind of richness one can find in some of Kraftwerk’s music, Mondrian’s paintings, of the clipped dialogue of film noir.”
Jonathan Marshall, Real Time, 2002.
Melt was Lucy Guerin’s first full-length work since The End of Things in 2000. With Melt, Lucy turned away from the more narrative, linear progression she used in The End of Things and ventured back to the more abstract approach of her earlier works, such as Heavy.
Melt is a performance in two parts, examining the temperature trajectory from freezing to boiling. The first part is a duet with two dancers physically exploring rising changes in temperature. Beginning with the minute, sharp movements of cracking ice, it progresses through a warm and languid quality, culminating in frenzied and chaotic choreography that the dancers can barely maintain.
The second part adds another element of exploration, examining the relationship between temperature and temperament. These extremes are complemented through well-crafted light, graphic and sound design that bring together the two parts. In the words of one reviewer, “the overall effect is so seamless that we are left wondering how any one element ever existed without the other” (Seamless, 2002).
While Melt is quite an abstract work, Lucy was very conscious of the importance of choreographing visceral movements that would allow the audience to see and feel temperature, explaining “I’m working with a lot of very intricate hand movements and finger details” (Feature by Jonathan Marshall, 2002). Lucy Guerin’s choreography easily falls into the post-modernist contemporary dance category, but there is something unique about her work that makes any other form of categorization almost impossible. While one reviewer likened the minimalistic precision and clean lines found in Melt to that of New York Ballet choreographer George Ballanchine, he continued “like thawing ice, Guerin’s crystalline choreography proceeds at its own pace” (Jonathan Marshall, 2002).
In its opening season, Melt received mixed reviews, with some reviewers finding that the second part of the performance was too abstract and failed to meet the high expectations raised by the first part of the performance. In 2003 Lucy Guerin Inc was the only Australian dance company to be chosen by the American National Dance Project to tour the United States. Lucy took Melt and The End of Things on tour, performing in Miami, North Carolina, Durham, Seattle, Chicago, Portland, Houston and New York City. Performances of Melt subsequently became a duet only, using part one of the original presentation. Melt was performed as part of Love Me, which premiered in 2005 and incorporated three works (Reservoir of Giving I and II, On and Melt).
- 2002: Premiere season of new work at Chunky Move Studio.
- 4-9 March, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, On the Boards, Seattle, US.
- 11-14 March, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, PICA, Oregon, US.
- 18 March, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, Duke University, Durham, US.
- 28-29 March, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, Diverseworks, Houston, US.
- 5 Apri,l 2003: On tour with The End of Things, Miami Light, Miami, US.
- 8 April, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Canada.
- 10-13 April, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, Dance Theatre Workshop, New York, NY
- 13-15 November, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth.
- 18-23 November, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, Sydney Opera House Studio, Sydney.
- 28 November, 2003: On tour with The End of Things, West Gippsland Arts Centre, Warragul, Victoria.
- 21-22 August, 2004: Zurich Festival, Switzerland.
- 3-5 June, 2005: Asian Arts Mart, Singapore.
- 6 September, 2005: Performed as part of Love Me, Premiere, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne.
- 1-2 November, 2005: Performed as part of Love Me, Belfast Festival, Ireland.
- 26-27 October, 2005: Performed as part of Love Me, Contact Theatre, Manchester, United Kingdom.
- 29 August- 8 September, 2007: Performed as part of Love Me, PICA, Perth.
- 22-25 August, 2007: Performed as part of Love Me, Visy Theatre, Brisbane.
- 8-18 August, 2007: Performed as part of Love Me, Performance Space, Sydney.
- 1-4 August, 2007: Performed as part of Love Me, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart.
- 13-14 October, 2007: Seoul Performing Arts Festival, South Korea.
Images: Jeff Busby