Distance | Proximity | Voice | Movement
Design, choreography & performance: Simon Ellis
Voice: Christine Sullivan
Slide Design & Projection: Gabby O’Connor
Sculpture: Scott Mitchell
Touch premièred in August 1998 as part of Dance Compass Melbourne’s True North season at Theatre Works in Melbourne.
Images courtesy of Elizabeth Boyce.
Simon Ellis, always pleasing in other choreographer’s works was totally captivating in his own solo Touch, not least because his presence and fine articulation invites intimacy with the viewer. His material is deftly shaped, spare, and atmospheric, leaving one pondering intention and meaning, but tantalised to know more. Where (Anna) Smith creates exquisite movement and refined, multilayered images, Ellis opts for a ‘less is more’ approach. His lean musculature is curled, suspended at the end of a rope, or half raised on a small square of contoured landscape, where he stands rock still, barely illuminated or clearly washed by Gabby O’Connor’s lustrous projections of fingerprints. Static, mysterious images - such as a head stand with legs apart, as if walking - become intensely poetic, amplified by Christine Sullivan’s powerful vocal lines or intimate bursts of sound.
– Lee Christofis (Dance Magazine Feb/Mar 1999)
The maturity and psychological complexity of his solo imbue liquid with a very welcome intellectual depth. His deliberate movements hold a gentle sharpness enhanced by Gabby O’Connor’s clean slide and projection design. Ellis dissolves in and out of geometric lights, sometimes dancing in darkness, moving through poses. Combined with Christine Sullivan’s enveloping vocals, his material remains trancelike, never losing its intensity, even in moments of silence.
– Stephanie Glickman (Herald Sun November 21 1998)
The surprise of the evening is Simon Ellis’s Touch. It is almost minimalist in the sparseness of the action, but the amalgam of carefully constructed movement cameos, music that shifts between barely audible murmurings and sonorous vocals, and a masterly use of simple slide projection technology, builds into a thoughtful essay on the nature of human touch. Ellis exploits his athletic capacity in a work of extraordinary gentleness.
– Hilary Crampton (The Age August 10 1998)