"Why can't I be what I am?"
Incorporating elements of Indigenous dance into an unmistakably contemporary piece, (Mis)conceived is a work about identity. Four Indigenous dancers bring to life an engaging conversation between perception and reality. Appearing on stage one by one, they go through their identical journeys, seemingly unaware of each other. As their movements begin to synchronise, they draw the connection between individual and community. Conveying their message about Indigenous communities and preconceived ideas about them, these multifaceted performers bring together dance and acting to make their point.
“Can you tell what I look like from my voice?”
We all make assumptions about people when coming into contact with them for the first time. (Mis)conceived beautifully challenges such preconceived (or mis-conceived?) ideas and the stereotyping that comes with first impressions.
The dancers put on grey hoodies to explore stereotypes, but their use is far from singular – just like everything else in this show! It is surprising to see so many emotions conveyed with a simple non-descript piece of clothing – confusion, misplacement, exasperation. What is the best way to fold the hoodie? Repeated action, frustratingly performed over and over again, turns the clothing item into an object of communication as the four dancers use them to persistently write their messages on the floor.
“Touch the earth and be a friend”
The best aspect of this work is its ability to communicate on so many levels. The visual simplicity of the staging makes for a cleaner contrast between the serious and the entertaining moments. The show moves at a great pace, which highlights the pauses where they are important. The audience is presented with some serious messages, served with a side order of good-natured humour. As a result, it is an easy piece to watch, while at the same time being engaging and highly thought-provoking. The interpretation of individual elements of the performance is left open, giving plenty of thinking room to the audiences while keeping them firmly on the journey with the dancers.