Every dinner party needs a good host

Dancers in Natalie Weir's The Host - Expressions Dance Company's latest production.
Dancers in Natalie Weir's The Host - Expressions Dance Company's latest production. Megan Cullen

EVERY good dinner party needs a talented, charismatic host.

That someone must captivate their guests, negotiate eloquently through the ebbs and flows of the conversation, and keep the night from descending into a shambles.

The young, wealthy man at the centre of Expressions Dance Company's latest production The Host struggles a little with the latter.

While his high status and influence initially make him an expert puppeteer, skilfully entertaining the people at his dinner table, his guests have their own agendas.

There's the wannabe who tries it on with the lovely ladies, the insecure girl yet to blossom and the flirty party girl with her sights set on climbing the social ladder.

There's the younger woman who indulges in an affair with her powerful host, leading to a stunning pas de trois with the betrayed hostess.

The easily led "has-been", who is just happy to still be invited, drinks more than his share of the booze but sways with the mood of the party, seemingly unfazed by all the antics around him.

Choreographer Natalie Weir's latest dance theatre creation is a tongue-in-cheek look at human desire for status and wealth.

An alternate meaning for a host is an animal or plant on which a parasite lives.

Expressions Dance Company's Michelle Barnett and Jack Ziesing in Natalie Weir's The Host.
Expressions Dance Company's Michelle Barnett and Jack Ziesing in Natalie Weir's The Host. Megan Cullen

The use and misuse of power is presented on a micro scale at this dining table but Weir explores this alternate meaning well.

The Host Jack Ziesing is, as always, mesmerising to watch, though it's hard to argue the whole ensemble is not captivating.

His fight scene with the wannabe (Benjamin Chapman) is breathtaking in its strength and masculine prowess.

They seem to defy gravity as they hurl each other over the table seemingly with little effort in incredibly physical partner work that is Weir's trademark.

But the standout duo piece was with Daryl Brandwood (the has-been) who yet again showed he is an artist of the highest calibre when it comes to manipulating his body.

Performing as an easily pliable mannequin, he showed he was the dinner party guest with no backbone who can blend in with any crowd.

Cloudia Elder, an up and coming dancer on the Brisbane scene, struck the right balance between insecure and powerful in her pas de deux with Chapman.

Rebecca Hall's flirty party girl character shines through in a gossiping scene with Elder and a fun piece with Chapman.

She ably portrays a social climber who knows she has to influence the right people to progress up the ladder.

The soft landings and delicate exchanges throughout The Host belie the sheer strength required to execute the dance moves.

Through an enchanting, organic dance style paired with moving live music from the Southern Cross Soloists, every emotion is felt.

Insecurity. Jealousy. Betrayal. Friendship. Joy. Love.

The lighting adds further to the drama, with top hats shining lights on to the table a nice touch - a credit to Ben Hughes.

It is impossible to take one's eyes off the guests at this dinner party - a charming, relatable, hour-long production.

The show continues at the Cremorne Theatre at QPAC in Brisbane until May 9 and will show for one-night only at Ipswich Civic Centre on Wednesday May 13.

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Topics:  editors picks expressions dance company rae wilson review

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