Life through song, speech and dance


TIM HUGHES left Dublin in the 1960s to train as a dance. Now he is back as artistic director of the talented Fieldworks Performance Group Dance Theatre, which gave, the first of three performances for Australia Week at the Temple Bar Music Centre last night and which received a standing ovation from the young audience.

The programme begins with a mainly solo piece by and for Hughes. This consists of his Memories, though he first establishes his immediate past in Australia with the help of the four women, who move to sounds such as the bird warbler played by Hughes off stage. Like all Aboriginal or Aboriginal influenced dance I have seen, this suggested the movement of indigenous birds and animals, like the kangaroo (a dance style seen again in the second piece by Sete Tele).

Soon, however, Hughes is taking us through his life in speech, song and dance, from his childhood in Dublin's Henrietta Street and Cabra, moving through the games of his youth from hopscotch to football - we know which kind when he heads the ball - and illustrating how he herded cattle for his drover father when the latter was too drunk.

Starting with Irish dance, he moves to character dance and finally to classical, going through the routine of daily class though merely marking the more exhausting work as a choreographer might.

Sete Tele's Time Out is a more substantial piece, athletically danced by himself with Billie Cook, Paige Gordon, Angela MacDonald Booth and Shelley Mardon, initially only to pan pipes and percussion.

This is about the problems of communication, though memory intrudes here too, and the piece opens out with beautiful fluid movement and attractive lifts. Try to catch it tonight or tomorrow.