Interview with Aimee Smith | Borderline

Posted by Thom Smyth, September 17th, 2014

Aimee Smith is a busy lady. Recently returning from working in London, she’s straight into the rehearsal room ahead of the premiere of her latest production Borderline. It’s no small undertaking either – using the Studio Underground at the State Theatre Centre, she is choreographing for eight dancers

TS: Borderline – what’s it all about?
AS: Borderline is a dance work that explores the experience of collective or cultural insanity – that which we might see in the pack mentality of a mob, in the extremes of religious doctrine and mass media, and certainly, but perhaps more subtlety, in our capitalist consumer driven lives.
Boderline 3 by Aimee Smith and Ben Taffee Photo by Tinderbox Creative

TS: You’ve got some of Perth’s best up and coming dancers working on this project. How did you go about choosing artists, and how is it working a cast that large?
AS: I knew this work was going to be physically demanding and at times quite a spectacle in its aesthetic so that of course informed the casting for the work. I’m absolutely loving working with such a superstar team and large cast. It’s so energising in the studio and, for this particular work, its also essential to the realisation of the ideas behind it.

TS: I’ve heard that rehearsals have been really fun and a bit of a different process – lots of play and experimentation, maybe even a séance…! What’s been happening in that room?!
AS: Oh that’s top secret! But I’m glad you’ve heard rumours that it’s been fun though because I’ve been concerned with how hard I’ve been working the dancers! We’re trying to create the majority of this work in the space of four weeks so it feels really tight and I’ve been cracking the whip a bit. But yes, we’re trying to find the fun when we can. There is a lot of room for the fantastic in this work…..

TS: Ben Taaffe is on board as your collaborator on this project for the first time. You’ve worked together previously, so how is his role different on this project? Does music play a more significant role than in previous works?Boderline 2 by Aimee Smith and Ben Taffee Photo by Tinderbox Creative (1)
AS: So often in dance I think the design elements of sound and lighting often get left until the end and are used only to serve that dance but Ben and I are both really interested in how the dance and design can grow together and inform each other, to create a really integrated work. Hence, in 2012 during an artist residency in Kyoto we began collaborating together on some ideas that have since grown into this work, Borderline. So yes, we’re collaborating much more closely on this work, though as the work has evolved into a more traditional dance production I guess I’ve taken the reigns a bit more.

TS: What can we expect from the show? What should we look out for?
AS: You should look out for the incredible dancers as well as the gorgeous designs by Trent Suidgeest (lighting), Holly Boyton (costumes) and of course Ben Taaffe (sound). You can expect some darkness mixed with the fantastical.

Filed under Aimee Smith