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a love of subtle deceit

Choreography: John Utans
Lighting design
conceived by :
David Whitworth and John Utans
Music :
Gavin Bryars
Costume design : Shaaron Boughen
Performed by : Leigh Warren
and Dancers
Adelaide 2002

The Queensland Ballet Company
Brisbane 2000

Queensland University of Technology
Brisbane 1999

Lighting design originally conceived by
David Whitworth & John Utans

a love of subtle deceit was first choreographed on and performed by students at QUT (1999). It was then re-mounted and performed by the Queensland Ballet Company (2000). The piece was then developed and extended and performed by Leigh Warren and Dancers (2002).

It's a play on words and dancing. Movement phrases are treated like sentences, altering the words and splicing phrases within each other. A different accent in a different place evokes a whole new meaning and nuance. For example, arm movements taken away or added on to different steps 'sound' completely different, Relationships between the dancers, the music and the space come and go like voices in another room.

Photographs by Alex Makeyev © 2002


Alan Brissenden
The Australian August 30, 2002.

John Utans has produced a little winner in A Love of Subtle Deceit, the first of two new pieces making up this program. Cleverly, he exploits a restricted vocabulary based on arching stretches, slow turns and wrap around arms, and focuses attention on the choreography's fluid physicality by making the seven dancers facially impassive.
Always pleasing to the eye, the accumulation of patterned motion climaxes in a counterpoint sequence for three couples. A fourth man, isolated, not rejected, makes a chorus-like comment through his agitated movement.
The narrative in the program notes eluded me, but it was enough to enjoy the languid entwinings of Rachel Jenson and Peter Furness, the lyricism of the mercurial Dion Hastie and the precision of Glen McCurley.
Coherent, interesting and satisfying, A Love of Subtle Deceit has staying power.


Matt Byrne
The Sunday Mail Adelaide August 25, 2002.

John Utans'a love of subtle deceit is an exercise in intertwined bodies and emotions, with constantly changing situations and relationships that plays upon words and subtle movements. The piece is a series of carefully sculptured episodes inviting us to watch the process as much as the dancers themselves.


Katherine Goode
The Advertiser August 26, 2002

A Love of Subtle Deceit, choreographed by John Utans, is highly abstract with clean, elegant lines and a classical framework.[…] the austere Deceit ultimately proves the far richer and more satisfying work.[of the program] Deceit has been constructed with mathematical precision as the dancers intersect and crosscut in a series of linear patterns. In one sequence, the dancers form a diagonal line across the stage, flexing arms and legs and rolling over in a continuous flowing movement. Deceit subtly explores relationships as the dancers form brief alliances, break up and move on to new partners. The fragility and unpredictability of the love game is neatly paralleled with a voice-over describing the chance elements in playing cards. Glen McCurley and Kim Hales-McCarthur are particularly moving as a wary and battle-scarred couple.


Featured Dancers
Aidan Munn
Glen McCurley
Rachel Jenson
Kim Hales-McCarthur
Jo Roads
Peter Furness
Leigh Warren and Dancers