Posted by Morgan Leek, July 22nd, 2011
Curious to see the process behind WA choreographer Danielle Micich’s new dance theatre work SHIVER?
Head down to Midland Junction Arts Centre between 11.30am – 1.00pm on Saturday 23 July for SHIVER open rehearsals and see the outcomes of a four week creative development.
SHIVER explores physical and emotional response to loss, how we cope with it and how we eventually move on for better or worse. Four performers are brought into an unknown place with no exit and the only way out is to confront their past.
Stay for the whole time or just pop your head in!
“Open rehearsals will offer a chance for anyone from the public to come and see how we make work live. Meet the team behind the scenes and watch in-progress excerpts of the show before we perform for the first time at The Dolphin Theatre, UWA in November”. Danielle Micich, Choreographer
Choreographer: Danielle Micich Sound Designer: Kingsley Reeve Performers: Gerard Van Dyck, Jacqui Claus, Leanne Mason, Lewis Kilpatrick Design Consultants: Lawrie Cullen-Tait, Lin Kilpatrick Lighting: Joseph Mercurio Dramaturg: Humphrey Bower.
Produced by Performing Lines WA.
SHIVER will premiere at The Dolphin Theatre, UWA on 17th of November 2011.
To find out more about SHIVER click here.
This open rehearsal is part of a 2011 STRUT creative development residency, made possible through the WA State Government’s Future Moves initiative. The Final Stage Development of SHIVER has been supported by:
Photos: Ashley de Prazer
Posted by Morgan Leek, July 21st, 2011
Originally hailing from Perth, dancer Natalie Allen has in a few short years been recognised as one of Australia’s finest contemporary dancers. Having performed works around the world in 2008 Natalie was awarded Most Outstanding Dancer and Dancer to Watch in the Dance Australia critics’ review. Following a two year stint with Adelaide’s Leigh Warren and Dancers she joined Sydney Dance Company (SDC) in 2010. At the end of the month Natalie is returning to Perth as part of SDC’s touring production of We Unfold.
Performing Lines WA recently caught up with Natalie and asked her a few questions about the upcoming tour and what life is like for one of Australia’s leading dancers.
Words: Tom Cramond and Natalie Allen
We Unfold (2011) Photo by Jez Smith
TC: Hailing from Western Australia, you have worked with a number of local dance companies such as STEPS Youth Dance Company. How did STEPS prepare you for company life?
NA. STEPS was influential in my first experiences of contemporary dance and a company structure. I learnt how to task, improvise and be creative! Which is now what I do in a new creation process with Rafael. STEPS provided me with a framework of how to work creatively together as a company of people to arrive at an end product, where everyone has worked hard and is proud of it! The next best part is to then share the dance on stage to a live audience. I believe STEPS is a great youth company giving great opportunities to young dancers to have an insight of professional life.
TC. You studied dance at John Curtin College of Arts and The West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Were there any choreographers / teachers who inspired you during this time?
NA. Lots and lots! Where to begin? At John Curtin most of the staff and guests that came during my time at school. The WAAPA teaches had more impact on my development as a dancer; Nanette Hassall, Reyes De’ Lara,Sue Peacockand Kim McCarthy, just to name a few. Their experience and interests about dance were really inspiring and gave me the drive to improve each day while I was training. I would have to say a huge thank you to Kim McCarthy who inspired me during my 3rd year. The conversations about dance and how to dance have stay with me 3 years on! I would like to go through every teacher I have had and thank them in there on individual way because I have learnt from everyone who has taught or choreographed on me!
TC. Perth is renowned for having a unique creative culture; do you think the isolation acts as a hindrance to the production of new work or as an advantage in creating original ideas?
NA. Yes now living in Sydney I do sometimes miss the isolation of Perth and the creative culture there! The isolation hindrance is difficult if you don’t have the funds to come east and get your work seen, or to see the variety of new shows being performed. One thing though that is great about Perth is the network of dancers that support each other, because there isn’t that many of us it really feels like a family!
TC. In 2010 you joined Sydney Dance Company (SDC); can you describe what it has been like to join such a prestigious company?
NA. Sydney Dance Company is considerably bigger that other organisations I have previously worked with which has taken a bit of getting used to. Having said that working with such a large group of talented dancers is fantastic. We also have a lot more professional commitments like photo shoots and TV commercials which were new to me. I also love walking to work and seeing the harbor bridge on the way!
Shared Frequencies (2011) Photo courtesy of Sydney Dance Company
TC. Take us through an average day at SDC.
NA. The day starts at 9.30am, either a ballet or contemporary class to warm up. But I am usually in the studio at least half an hour before to warm up for class. Class finishes at 11am, 15min break and then rehearse until 1.30pm. Lunch until 2.30pm. Then rehearse until 6pm with a 15min break scheduled in somewhere during the last session. Cool down and then home time! If we get a break during the day we will often head to the gym to help maintain our fitness which is extremely important.
TC. WE UNFOLD has recently been performed around Australia to great success. Can you please explain a little about your role as a performer in the production?
NA. As I was not in the original cast, my role is sporadic throughout the piece. My favorite parts are Movement Three where I dance 2 duets and Movement 5 because there is a lot of lifts! I found learning the work quite interesting in the decisions Raf (Rafael Bonachela – SDC Artistic Director) made with the choreography and structure of the work because the music is powerful, driving the work to be a particular theme. The work is quite classical. There is beautiful moments throughout the work which I have enjoyed watch grow over the last 2years of performing it! In this time I have become familiar with the aesthetic of the work and how to perform each section I do. Each section requires a different mood and execution of the language created throughout so it is nice to have different idea’s throughout the work than just one! It keeps it interesting to perform.
TC. Working as a dancer at such an elite level must be incredibly strenuous both mentally and physically. What are some of the techniques and practices that you use to help maintain your abilities?
NA. I began this year doing pilates once a week; to work on my alignment, finding ease and efficiency in functional movement. I am finding it very helpful and brings another layer of thinking of how my body is constructed and moves through space. Other than that I don’t really do any other practices to maintain my ability, just lots of water and rest!
Raw Models (2011) Photo courtesy of Sydney Dance Company
TC. In the past you have choreographed a number of your own pieces, is that something you are looking to continue in the future?
NA. At present it’s a little hard to find the time with such a full on schedule at SDC although it’s something I would like to get more involved with as my career progresses. For me I need a compelling idea that I can immerse my brain and body, like anyone who choreographs . I just can’t whip out works! I want to dance everything and anything before I start choreographing because I believe I need to know what my craft is before I can share it with the dance community and wider audiences.
TC. What advice would you give to young aspiring dancers looking to develop their craft?
NA. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid, it is what I learnt from Michael Whaites in choreography and I do really believe it is effective! Don’t have too many idea’s! I remember Reye’s too, in choreography saying that you want to make your audience or viewer feel smart so make it easy for them! Last little thing is a focus for the audience. If chaos is the idea you have to have something to compare it against to understand how chaotic the choreography is.
TC. And lastly, do you miss WA?
NA. Yes and No! I miss my family and the beautiful quiet beaches in Summer but other than that not really!
We Unfold (Perth Season)
Wed 27 – Sat 30 July 2011 7.30pm & Sat 30 July 1.30pm
His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth
Bookings through BOCS Ticketing 9484 1133 www.bocsticketing.com.au
Watch the 4 minute clip of We Unfold http://bit.ly/yoINN
Born in Perth, Natalie began her dance training with Explosive Jazz and Theatrical Dance Company and later Academy of Ballet and Performance. She was accepted into the specialist dance program at John Curtin College of Arts in 2001 where she performed with STEPS Youth Dance Company as well as leading local and national dance choreographers. In 2006 Natalie was the recipient of the Steps Youth Dance Scholarship, which contributed towards a trip to Los Angeles, USA to ‘Dance Excellence’, an invitational, international festival. She continued her dance training at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), completing an Advanced Diploma in dance. During her second year of study Natalie successfully applied for exchange to Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan. This rich experience enabled her to learn traditional Chinese forms of Tai Chi, Kung Fu and Chinese Opera.
Posted by Morgan Leek, July 14th, 2011
Words: Fiona de Garis Photos: Sarah Rowbottam
Today’s the day!
Three years ago July 14th was a Monday.
It was also the day I started a new job.
It was also the day Performing Lines WA was made manifest here at the wonderful Kings St Arts Centre (KSAC).
On this day three years ago, recently retired founder of Performing Lines Wendy Blacklock and I sat in the little empty office kindly given over to our use by Country Arts WA, and I started downloading her brain! So much experience and so much wisdom in Wendy’s head. So little in mine!
That first week went by in a blur of meetings and conversation. The next week I went out and bought furniture and a computer and telephones.
A few weeks ago Performing Lines WA had a birthday party downstairs in the KSAC foyer. Thanks so much to everyone who turned out on a horrendously rainy evening to celebrate our three years supporting independent artists in Western Australia. The party was a little in advance of the actual anniversary so that both my outgoing (Wendy Blacklock) and incoming (Fenn Gordon) bosses could attend during their quick handover trip from Performing Lines’ Sydney HQ. It was lovely to have them with us for the event, and to have the opportunity to officially farewell the amazing and ever generous Wendy.
Recently I have had cause to review data from our first three years running the MAPS (Managing and Producing Services initiative) in WA, and frankly I am boggled at what has been achieved. Fear not! I will not bore you here with the statistics. And I talked much too much at the party about my personal highlights, so I won’t go there either.
But I didn’t say this at the party…should have written better notes… My special thanks to our Communications Manager, Sarah Rowbottam. Sarah joined Performing Lines WA on a short contract to market our first production in February 2009 and has never left. Thanks Sarah. It would have been a very different journey without you at the next desk 🙂
I would also like to say a big thank you to all the artists, production and admin staff who have so given so much of themselves to the projects and to Performing Lines WA. And thanks also to the many organisations who have supported us in different and diverse ways. Where we have succeeded it is no small part due to the generous embrace of the sector. Thank you all for your welcome and your patience as we have slowly, slowly unravelled the needs and desires of ‘our’ artists, and worked out where and how we can most effectively assist with the resources we have to hand.
The MAPS initiative is why Performing Lines WA is here. In many ways MAPS was a giant experiment; a chance to explore a new model to support the creation and touring of excellent West Australian independent theatre and contemporary dance. And of course there would be no MAPS at all without the vision and generous support of the State Government of Western Australia through the Department of Culture and the Arts and of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. So I thank them and their staff for their great faith, understanding and ongoing encouragement.
It has been a big learning curve and remains an ever challenging mission. Sometimes I do completely despair at the slow pace of getting things done. Watching Sarah’s slideshow of past Performing Lines WA projects at the birthday party reminded me that when we do finally get there, the results generally justify the time and effort expended. Hey ‘our artists’ – you do such good work! Spending time at the party with all the creative and committed people who’ve shared the journey thus far reminded me why we keep trying, and have to keep trying, to get things done.
So here’s to three more years!
PS. Julianne the cupcakes were perfect and it was outrageous of me to have asked for them!
Posted by Morgan Leek, July 13th, 2011
Chrissie Parrott Performance Company is currently in Stage 3 creative development for Reign at MosArts Hall in Mosman Park. Reign brings together an exceptional creative team of Western Australian artists – Patrick Doherty (Visual Artist), Reg Cribb (Writer), Jonathan Mustard (Composer) and Chrissie Parrott (Director/Choreographer). They are supported by a raft of wonderful performers and other creative and production personnel. In this stage the artistic team will workshop the sound, movement, script, characters and design developed in Stage 2 with eight performers – Kate Hall, George Shevtsov, Claudia Alessi, Rhiannon Newton, Russell Leonard, Kirsty Hillhouse, Tom Penney and Scott Ewen.
Throughout Stage 2 the core artists have been making work in responsive cycles. Now Chrissie takes over as Director. During this third stage her mission is work with the performers; exploring ways to bring all the material together on the floor. What to keep? What to put together? What hasn’t been created yet?
The following photos were taken during a rehearsal run on Wednesday 6 July 2011.
Photos: Sarah Rowbottam
To read about Stage 1 Development of Reign click here.
The Stage 3 Development of Reign is supported by the Western Australian Theatre Development Initiative (WATDI).
Posted by Morgan Leek, July 7th, 2011
Lewis Kilpatrick is one of four dancers currently working with choreographer Danielle Micich on the final stage development of SHIVER – a new dance theatre work exploring loss, how we cope with it and how we eventually move on for better or worse. SHIVER will be presented at The Dolphin Theatre, UWA Perth between 17-19 November 2011.
Words: Lewis Kilpatrick Photos: Sarah Rowbottam
First up, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Lewis, I’m an ex-Shenton College student currently studying Architecture at the University of Western Australia. I’ve just turned 18 and have been dancing for roughly 6 years now, since I was 12. I’ve always been interested in the more arts based subjects as well as sport throughout school and in my spare time. I enjoy playing music and have played in a couple different bands at school.
How did you first become interested in dance/ dancing?
Dance has always been a part of our family. My mum danced throughout her youth and my sister did contemporary dance for several years participating in numerous STEPS shows up until she was about 18. We would constantly be going to see many contemporary dance productions around Perth and I was really intrigued by the contemporary style. I auditioned for STEPS’ boys can dance project in 2004 (I think or 2005…) having no prior dance experience and was lucky enough to get in. The only thing I had done that was similar was Tae Kwon Do which I trained in for about 2/3 years.
SHIVER Stage 1 Development, 2008 Image 1) Lewis on right Image 2) Lewis in middle.
In 2005 you began working with STEPS Youth Dance Company, how important were they in your development as a dancer?
STEPS was one of the main factors that developed my dance through my teens along with some classes in the city such as Dancelab and the certificate II in dance at WAAPA which I did during years 10 and 11. But the rush of performing with STEPS during the main season and working with many incredible local and interstate choreographers greatly fuelled my love for dance. Unlike other dance instruction, STEPS has a unique approach based on process, so that dancers become used to creating their own original material. This empowers very young dancers to have the confidence to create and implement, whilst working with a very professional creative team.
I understand you were part of Perspectives at His Majesty’s Theatre where you presented one of your solo pieces. Can you talk a little about the experiences of performing such a work?
Perspectives was an awesome experience, particularly being able to perform at His Majesty’s Theatre and meeting all the other students from around the state. It was brilliant working with Dank in the lead up to the performance and she helped us all to develop our solo’s further as well as creating a group piece. It was great to actually perform my piece outside of the stress of year 12 exams. With the stress and anxiety of school over, it was joy to revisit the work, push it further and then just have fun with it. It was awesome. I have never performed in such a huge and luxurious theatre as the Maj and that was pretty incredible. Being on a stage like that, on your own, delivering your own work was cool.
How have you found working with Danielle Micich (Dank) on SHIVER in the final stage of development?
I have known Dank over the years through STEPS and after doing some smaller independent projects with her so I am always very comfortable and stoked to work with her again because I love her movement style and ways in which she goes about making a works. She’s a tough Artistic Director, in that she expects attention to detail and strong intent, but I trust her and I know she is capable of creating brilliant work, so I love working with her. She also trusts her dancers and when she sends you off to do a task, you do your best for her and she is always keen to see what you bring back.
Being the youngest performer in the show; how has the creative development and interaction with the other members of the production helped your evolution as a dancer?
SHIVER is a huge privilege for me to work alongside such incredible, professional dancers in a very professional setting. It is different from working in companies such as STEPS and I have treated it like a real job. I still cant really comprehend how I can be doing something like this and be getting paid for it… It is far more intense than the other things I have done, especially since I have much less experience compared to the others dancers. I have learned a lot from the other dancers through working with them and seeing how they work individually and as a group.
Are any of the themes explored in Shiver such as grief and loss something that you can identify with? If so how these experiences influenced your performance? Are they something you can draw upon?
When you dance it is impossible to create a real emotion or feeling without being able to draw on something that is real in you life or an experience you have had. So I would have to say yes I can identify with many of the themes within the piece. The challenge, as always with dance, is to portray them through your body.
Currently you are studying Architecture at UWA, is dance something you will continue to pursue outside of your study? Is dance something you are looking to continue well into the future?
Year 12 was defiantly the hardest period I have ever been through, not only trying to study and get good marks but trying to work out what I wanted to do after school. I planned to audition for WAAPA but was also very interested in architecture and when I was accepted into WAAPA I was fully torn and totally in split mind about what to choose. The reason I chose to do architecture was that I figured I would be able to still incorporate dance into my life whereas doing WAAPA, architecture was really not an option at all… And as soon as I was asked to work with Dank in SHIVER I decided on architecture. Dance is sort of a hobby of mine as well as being a good way to stay fit. I definitely plan to dance into the future especially if I am lucky enough to participate in projects like this!
What advice would you give to young aspiring (particularly male) dancers looking to develop their craft?
I would have to say training and technique is extremely important and I wish I were able to do more of it. But also don’t over do it either because it can ruin your passion and love of dance. I certainly find that if I am doing nothing but ballet for an extended period of time it can drive me a bit insane…Although many people don’t know it, Perth has a very unique and interesting contemporary dance scene and there are a few really good classes in the city which you should look into!
Read more about the Final Stage Development of SHIVER from choreographer Danielle Micich.
This project has been assisted by STRUT co-production funding through the Future Moves initiative.
Lewis Kilpatrick has been a regular company member of STEPS Youth Dance Company since 2005, when he performed in the ‘Boys can Dance’ project titled “Dash” as one of the main characters. In 2006, Lewis took part in the major STEPS project “Kissxx”. Later in 2006 Lewis was invited to take part in a special STEPS educational project, which involved showcasing contemporary dance to disadvantaged primary schools in Perth northern suburbs. Lewis was also the subject of a short documentary film focusing on boys and dance. He is currently enrolled at the University of Western Australia to complete his BA (Architecture).