Images: Sarah Walker
PRINCESS is a multi layered collection and collision of ideas based around its name.
I am interested in placing myself as the Dynast; I view my practice as an inheritance, a continuation of information and vocabulary that strongly influences my personal decisions as a performer.
With this position I have the power to create my own personal kingdom, a house of observation, architecture, interest, ideas, and possibilities.
I am the ruler of the body in which I exist, giving me power to change the recent history of the present performance. Here I can jump back through the work to redevelop/redefine its potential impact on its future
Running parallel to this is my interest in the modern fantastical side of the Princess. My questions in the role and scale of masculinity and femininity are a constant interest both in this work and my ongoing practice. Perceptions of strength, size, power and virtuosity stem from my identity as an individual.
The question of dependence in existence arises throughout my investigation, for in order to be a ruler there must be a people to rule; and a community of people seldom thrive without a leader. If one does not exist, what becomes of the other?
20 – 29 June 2014
Chunky Move Studios, Melbourne
Direction & Choreography: Benjamin Hancock
Lighting Design: Bosco Shaw
Sound Design: Alisdair Macindoe
Costume Design: Jack Hancock
Performer: Benjamin Hancock
GREEN ROOM AWARD
Outstanding Music, Sound Design and Performance
Benjamin Hancock/Chunky Move
GREEN ROOM AWARD
Outstanding Visual Design
Jack Hancock (costume) and Bosco Shaw (lighting)
Benjamin Hancock/Chunky Move
"Benjamin Hancock crowns himself in the ironically titled Princess. With kinked thumbs opposed to little fingers, he places a figurative crown on his head. He’s a human maypole, streamers attached; a spinning top; and he holds his centre with brash assurance. Self-belief seems to hold him upright rather than mere skill. His balance is so canny, he introduces a wobble — a wild, off-centre twirl — to show off his ability to re-find his centre. His robotic economy of movement gives way to something dervish-like.
Intriguingly, Hancock isn’t entertaining the masses; it’s absolutely apparent that he’s leading them, like some extraterrestrial Evita.
Just as Christianity adopted and adapted the rituals and festivals of the pagan world, Hancock’s bearded princess steals back the Promethean fire."
Bearded princess wears the crown
Chris Boyd THE AUSTRALIAN June 23, 2014
"Hancock choreographed and performs in Princess, a solo that casts him as a kind of warrior royal set atop a round pedestal. The sense of captivity - Hancock never ventures outside of his cage - is counteracted by a whirlwind of rainbow ribbons and flying golden plaits that stream around his limbs. He seems simultaneously a contained curiosity on display and a creature of supernatural ferocity as his body moves with increasing speed."
Chunky's next moves dance along cutting edge
Jordan Beth Vincent SMH June 22, 2014
"Benjamin Hancock's work Princess, takes a very different use of the same space and contains and contracts it rather that allowing himself to range through it. He keeps the viewer at a distance. Revealed on a round podium, Hancock commences a ritualistic, slow-paced series of movements that feature the angular folding of limbs. There is a sense that he is testing the limits of his small sphere. The movement pace quickens and encompasses greater fluidity. Flailing arms and high circular kicks end in swirling collapses to the ground. Hancock has a physicality that is enjoyable to watch. He combines isolations of the arms, neck and head with large, sweeping movements of the legs. There is a sense of everything being held under tight control, even in the moments of abandoned dancing."
Chuny Move: It Cannot Be Stopped
"Benjamin Hancock’s Princess opens the night. A solo in the round, it begins with an assaulting cacophony of instrumental sound (by Alisdair Macindoe). A black curtain rises to reveal Hancock on a raised circular stage. In a black dress streaming with thick, colourful ribbons, blond braids on head, Hancock stands still and sculptural, staring ahead. It’s a tightly improvised solo that reveals a clean movement style of rotating shoulders and hips, pauses and occasional flurries. Influenced by internal states and body rhythms, the movement builds and resides with focus."
Dance review: It Cannot Be Stopped, Chunky Move
"Benjamin Hancock showcases an eye-catching study of colour and form in Princess. The costume is delightful, combining a witchy sort of black dress with an explosion of coloured ribbons. Indeed, the whole piece has its own peculiar charm. There's a mesmeric, deep-felt intensity to the way Hancock develops toward his catharsis, classical and orientalist forms cracking beneath a rainbow explosion which leaves the dancer reeling."
It Cannot Be Stopped
"Hancock is dressed as a deity with long blonde plaits and a black dress adorned with long colourful ribbons that fly behind him as he moves about the small circular stage under a powerful spotlight mastered by lighting designer Bosco Shaw.
He begins slowly, exploring poses that evoke a sense of ‘power over the people’, with outstretched arms and long extensions of his legs, while avoiding eye contact with the audience at all times. Hancock builds momentum, working up to a frenzy of twists and turns before adopting a steady sense of command again. He creates a well-considered narrative flow with his precise technical skills."