If you listen closely you may hear the beating of drums roaring from the Sydney Dance Company this season. Inuk 2 is a tribal dance for the 21st century.

This new production by Meryl Tankard has been showered with amazing reviews since it opened a few weeks ago.

In Meryl’s words it’s about people and community and the struggle to survive as a human being. The way I see it, when I’m performing it’s a lot about competition and the beauty and frustrations in day-to-day life, dancer Connor Dowling said.

More than a story being told, there are scenarios presented to you with many different characters who have different tales to tell. Who you choose to focus on and draw from is up to you.

It’s a work of intense emotions and physicality that is driven by the insistent and hypnotic voices of rhythmic chants, Dowling said.

The music is varied depending on the scenario being presented. One of my favourite pieces is in a scene where we represent being caught in a net underwater and the music bubbles and gurgles and comes in waves and is wonderfully fitted to what we are creating on stage.

The dancing is a hard slog result of weeks of workshopping ideas taken from set tasks, learning fellow dancers’ movement sequences, speeding it up, slowing it down and having Meryl always asking to move more and differently.

A tribal dance for the 21st century is what is presented on stage sometimes quite literally, and other times you have to look a bit harder.

Whether it’s dancing on the set of a multimillion dollar musical or as a back-up dancer for a drag queen, there are different stereotypes attached to being a gay dancer.

Well, we’re a dime a dozen so there’s a stereotype already, but God love us we’re expressive, fabulous and bloody good movers, Dowling said.

The whole show is about community and struggling and resilience and fabulous outfits. I think the gay community should be able to find something to relate to in there.

The costumes run the gamut of sexy -“ from bad taste to stylishly alluring -“ and the movements do the same from rough, sweaty, throw-yourself-about stuff to subtle and tactile.

Inuk 2 is on now at the Theatre Royal. Details: www.sydneydancecompany.com.

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