Sydney Festival: Tree of Codes

Rebecca Varidel
7th Jan 2018

What is the Tree of Codes? The name was familiar I remember thinking, although before the Sydney Festival performance I didn't Google, just went along to opening night.

While to me the name is reminiscent of something philosophical or spiritual, I had indeed read about it before, and not so long ago in 2010 as an art work, a sculpture, a book with words cut out, to create something new.
In 2015 British choreographer Wayne McGregor, composer Jamie xx and visual artist Olafur Eliasson evolved the creation to a multi media performance that premiered at the Manchester International Festival.
Now this work has arrived in Sydney to grace the 2018 Sydney Festival.
As a long time devotee of the dance I didnt think I stepped in with expectations but I must have. 
Slowly. Softly. Gently. The performance started in sound and with light. 
And while fluid execution of contemporary dance was central to the show, each of either the original music or the light installations could entice their own devoted audiences. Together the power of three with the alchemy of costume evolution created a magic that took us beyond the 3rd dimension.
Philosophical and spiritual, like my first instinctive feeling? I certainly found it so. With costumes lights sounds and movements taking us from amoeba to animals dressed in just lights, to nude coloured costumes that bare the human soul, the introduction of colour and emotion, to coloured humaness in all its traversty, the music and movement flowed from sweet natural harmony to mechanical rigour. Most profound from this deep experience was the reflections of the audience, spotlighted as well as refracted on stage in the evolutionary backdrop.
It wasn't what I had expected I realised. Not your 'usual' even within the spectrum of contemporary dance (albeit sprinkled with en pointe). Yet this combination of aspects- dance, melodic music and song, and innovative light installation - would satisfy and delight not just dance lovers but those new to this beloved art. And indeed it did. 
Tree of Codes is on at ICC Sydney for Sydney Festival until Wednesday January 10th.