Interview: Danielle Micich Director of Shiver

Posted by Morgan Leek, July 10th, 2012

From choreographing Barking Gecko’s Perth Festival show Driving Into Walls to working with Kate Champion as the Associate Director for FOOD, Danielle Micich (or Dank as we all know her) is on a roll and it just keeps getting better.

In September Dank will tour her highly successful work Shiver to seven regional venues across the state. Shiver is a dance and theatre work taking an honest look at life and loss in all its unpredictable  beauty. Four strangers find themselves trapped in an unknown place with no exit. Together they dance tango, search for answers and recall moments when life ran out of control. From the exuberance of young love to the grief of loss, their only hope of moving forward is to face the past. Accompanying the tour is a program of film projects, dance works and installations created by the community made possible through the new CircuitWest Pilot Touring Model. I caught up with Dank to find out all about the upcoming tour.

Shiver by Danielle Micich

Shiver 2011 premiere Photo: Ashley de Prazer

Words: Tom Cramond (TC) and Danielle Micich (DM)

TC. For readers that weren’t fortunate enough to see the Perth premier of Shiver in late 2011, can you explain a little about the work and what viewers can expect from it?

DM. Shiver is about the journey of four people and their stories of loss. They each play an important part of telling the stories and all have different outcomes.  Shiver was created to reflect on how we personally cope with loss and how we choose to assist others dealing with loss. In moments it is funny and other quite breath takingly too close for words.

TC. Now that the Shiver is going on tour – how do you go about adapting the work to travel across the state?

DM. The first adaptation is replacing a cast member from the original cast. This is a very difficult job. I was not looking to replace a dancer as such but to find a personality that would reflect the character and there role within the whole work. After a nation wide search I have found such performer, Billie Cook from SA.

Shiver by Danielle Micich

Shiver 2011 premiere Photo: Ashley de Prazer

TC. Given that each venue you are touring to has a different stage size and technical capacity, how do you customize Shiver for each performance space? Will you have much time to rehearse in each venue?

DM. Shiver is made up primarily of duets, so the stage size I’m not worried about changing from show to show. Each venue will carry it’s own nuances and so it will be up the individual performer to gauge how to project physically and orally for this. We have a very busy schedule so we don’t have much time in each theatre but the time we spend bumping in, teching and running the work should be enough for the performers to adjust.

TC. The touring schedule sees you performing 10 shows right across WA in the space of two and a half weeks – Are you looking forward to the travel involved, or a little nervous about such a hectic schedule?

DM. We have a very experienced team and cast so I’m not too worried about a hectic schedule. I myself have done a lot of touring so I know how to pace myself. Distance just gives us time to listen to really good music on the road and share good old tour stories ourselves.

TC. So just how are you guys going to be travelling around? Can we expect some kind of Almost Famous road trip across the state?

DM. We all get put into a car and drive around together taking turns to drive and arguing about the next pit stop. No doubt with Gerard on tour it will be a blast. He is known to be the fun on any occasion. Our journey will be well documented so keep your eye on our blog and instagram feed.

Shiver 2011 rehearsals

Shiver Rehearsals Photo: Sarah Rowbottam

Shiver 2011 rehearsal Photos: Sarah Rowbottam

TC. Once the show has gone back into rehearsals and is ready for touring (remounting), does your role as the choreographer/ director effectively stop? What role do you think you will be playing on the tour?

DM. No my role as Director is even more important as the face of the tour. I will be responsible to make sure that the performers are looked after in every venue we entre and make sure that the work is looking it’s best at every theatre we go to.

TC. With this tour you are also embarking on some amazing community activities in each of the regional centres. What have been some exciting moments so far and what effect do you think it will have on the greater tour of Shiver?

DM. It has already brought together people of varied ages that would never otherwise mix. I had asked some to bring stories and photo’s of personal loss and this in itself is a very bonding experience. I have been blowen away about the type of losses people are sharing. It also makes for really rich material as we construct some of the Pre Shiver tour events. I hope that others might follow the blog and see what each town are doing and see how distance does not impact the way we deal with loss.

Merredin

Dance film made for Shiver tour which will premier in Merredin on 2 Oct 2012 at Cummins Theatre Photo: Ashley de Prazer

TC. Shiver is the result of a nearly five years of development and production, all as an independent artist. What are some of the lessons you have learnt over the run of this work? Do you have any advice for up and coming independent artists?

DM. It is unbelievable how one project can change from year to year. This happens because the as the time you have between each development continue to accumulate, so does your learning. It does have value to see a project to it’s end. Even though Shiver was completed  in November 2011, I still have plans to make changes for the tour to make the work better again.

TC. Earlier this year you choreographed Barking Gecko’s show Driving Into Walls and was Associate Director for FOOD, a co-production between Force Majeure and Belvoir Street Theatre in Sydney. Have these theatre works influenced how you are approaching the remounting of Shiver?

DM. The actual work itself has not, because we were working towards a specific outcome for both shows. Working with the two directors John Sheedy and Kate Champion has. Watching the way they work and talking about the process and being part of how they structure a work made me rethink what I would like to achieve for Shiver.

Driving into Walls, choreographed by Danelle Micich

Driving Into Walls 2012 Barking Gecko Theatre Company Photo: Jon Green

TC. After the tour (and I imagine a little bit of rest) what’s next for Danielle Micich?

DM. I’m forming a new partnership and starting a new creative development with two amazing musicians here in Perth, Gillian Catlow and Charles Hoernemann,  assisted by an Australia Council for the Arts grant. And then some professional development time for myself, up-skilling and trying out methods and ideas with writer Suzie Miller and director Kate Champion.

SHIVER – WA Tour 2012

Port Hedland: 26th September 2012
Tickets from: www.mattdann.com

Geralton: 29th September 2012
Tickets from www.queensparktheatre.com.au

Merredin: 2nd October 2012
Tickets from www.cumminstheatre.com.au

Esperance: 5th October 2012
Tickets from: www.esperanceciviccentre.com

Margaret River: 9th October 2012
Tickets from: www.artsmargaretriver.com

Bunbury: 11th October 2012
Tickets from: www.bunburyentertainment.com

Mandurah: 12-13 October
Tickets from: www.manpac.com.au

For more information on the tour, or to find images videos of the production please click here



Danielle Micich
Danielle is an independent choreographer, director and performer. She performed with Buzz Dance Theatre for five years, toured internationally with SQUINT and was a recipient of an Australia Council Young and Emerging grant. Danielle was the Artistic Director of STEPS for four years and choreographed the Curriculum Council TEE Set Solo. In 2011 she performed in WISH with Humphrey Bower (Nominated for Outstanding Female Performer 2011), choreographed Plan B for Buzz Dance Theatre and Into The Shimmer Heat for Nova Ensemble. Recently, she choreographed Barking Gecko’s Driving Into Walls and was the Associate Director for FOOD (2012) a co-production between Force Majeure and Belvoir Street Theatre.