Venue: Central Hall
Rating: * * *
Fusion attempts to encompass elements of fashion, drama and different kinds of dance. By its very nature, then, it would be difficult to demonstrate continuity or spectacle of consistent quality, but thematic choices and some aspects of presentation often gave the impression that Fusion is essentially an expensive, better-produced version of a secondary school variety show; it doesn’t do anything you wouldn’t expect but it’s reasonably entertaining.
Films were grouped into different genres, and for each genre there was a sequence of dances and a fashion scene, which contained vague strains of narrative. This was problematic: the idea of film could have been explored in such diverse ways, the notion of the audience watching the model as voyeurism, for example. Instead, basic genre definitions often resulted in uninspired sequences with little point and even less excitement. Having ‘Foreign Film’ as a genre was a laughable excuse to shovel in other societies and Mime, Samurai and Spanish themes, though these performances were all particularly good, with the PoleSoc performance resonating as the best visual idea and one of the most technically impressive of the night.
Sequences tended to end abruptly, with only film clips to bridge the gap. A lack of human presence in these scenes made it seem as if the sections had been carelessly slapped into haphazard order, rather than being made to construct an organic whole. The only sense of continuity was in the plethora of hip hop dance routines, which peppered each section regardless of relevance to the genre. The clothes were hit and miss, especially those from Huddersfield fashion students, which were sometimes wonderful, like in the brilliant ‘Halloween’ modelling piece, but often resembled the impoverished cousins of Central St Martins brethren. Attempts to draw plot into fashion sequences were unsuccessful; even Alex Forsyth’s Charlie Chaplin impersonation fell flat. Fusion is a bit like a blockbuster film. In a creative sense, it’s an absolute shambles, but its energy carries the production forward.
The normal criticism levelled at Fusion should be completely rebuked. None of the models appeared to be too thin, and having a selection process that eliminates the unattractive or those unable to walk to a beat is a completely viable idea – selecting unconventional models is something that only a small group of top designers occasionally do to get press attention. Additionally, the sheer amount of people and societies involved demonstrated that it isn’t cliquey or self-important. The performers appeared to be having a good time and at no point did the event seem to be taking itself too seriously.
The choice of music was consistently excellent. Mint Royale and Roisin Murphy provided excellent backing to enthusiastic dances, and even when the music approached commerciality good decisions were made. Using ‘Objection’ and ‘No Hay Igual’ was a nice touch in the Spanish Soc performance. The Sci-fi sequence was the point at which music, visuals and dance all came together to make something quite special. Models with beehives similar to those of Rock-Lobster era Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson gave robotic poses as “Need the love object to reciprocate” blared on the speakers. This was followed by a trippy Star Wars visual and an interesting Frankenstein/alien dance.
The best part was undoubtedly the initial dance in the ‘Romance’ section, which was graceful, showed a high level of technical skill and completely elevated itself above the syrupy montage of clips from ‘Titanic’ and ‘Dirty Dancing’ that had been shown beforehand. It was the only moment of genuine emotion in the whole show, telling a story with control and delight. A terrible modelling scene and a saccharine group dance came after it. This typified Fusion in Motion really, the odd sparkle wading amongst the dross. Maybe they should make it more cliquey.
What did you think of the performance? Do you agree with Liam? Send us your reviews via the comment form below.