Tag Archive | "Adelaide Festival"

Sadeh21 – Batsheva Dance Company

Festival Theatre, Adelaide, Australia
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa Australia.

Adelaide Festival brought Batsheva Dance Company in Sadeh21 to the Adelaide Festival Centre stage this March. What a stunning display of movement for the sake of movement and dance for the sheer beauty of it.

Sadeh21 had no storyline, was defiantly abstract, yet intensely emotional. The dancers took us on a journey through 21 movement studies called sadehs (Hebrew for “field of study.”) Each study was somewhat different, yet the same. Some were comprised mostly of solos and fluid, slow movement, whereas others were frantic ensemble pieces full of colour and vibrancy.

Choreographer Ohad Naharin is a genius and his dancers have rippled physiques, stunning technique and a ferocity that attacks every movement with just the right amount of zest or subtlety. Although at times a sadeh would drag on a little, each sadeh was interesting and thought-provoking in its own way and so simple, yet so complex.

Batsheva in Sadeh21. Photo by Gadi Dagon

Batsheva Dance Company in ‘Sadeh21′. Photo by Gadi Dagon

Voice was used in several pieces to interesting effect. In one sadeh, a female dancer yelled out numbers as the dancers formed groups of those numbers and unique positions or movements. This was very engaging and got my creative juices flowing, thinking about the choreographic possibilities that this simple idea could spark.

The lighting and stage design by Avi Yona Bueno was stark, at times harsh and confronting and worked brilliantly with Naharin’s vision. The musical score was varied between epic classical pieces that swept you away to ear-piercing, gut-wrenching screeching that was offensive to the ears. Naharin obviously wanted to confront us and make us feel uncomfortable and emotional.

Ohad Naharin and his Batsheva Dance Company are brilliant. It was an honour to be in the theatre and to feel their energy and creativity; it was palpable. I don’t want to give away how the work ends but it left me feeling free, light and on a cloud of dance beauty. Sadeh21 and Batsheva Dance Company need to be seen by every dancer, and everyone.

Photos by Gadi Dagon.

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Win Tix to Cats and Leigh Warren!

Readers, here’s your chance to WIN a Double Pass to…

Frame and Circle by Leigh Warren & Dancers
For more information about this new contemporary work read the feature interview with choreographers Leigh Warren and Prue Lang. Click here

Dates: March 10th‐13th, 7.00pm & March 14, 5.00pm
Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Contact: BASS 131 246

Click Here to enter

CatsCATS, the Musical Spectacular!
Win two tickets to see Cats in either Melbourne, Perth or Sydney.
Click here…

Venue: Regent Theatre, Melbourne
Opens: Saturday 6 March 2010
Bookings: Ticketek 1300 795 012

Venue: Burswood Theatre
Opens: Tuesday 13 April 2010
Bookings: Ticketek 1300 795 012

Venue: Lyric Theatre, Star City
Opens: Tuesday 18 May 2010
Bookings: ticketmaster 1300 795 267

NSW Permit Number: LTPM/09/00769 CLASS: Type B

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A Symphony of Body Parts

Garry Stewart breaks it down for ADT’s latest expression.

By Paul Ransom.

Be yourself. It’s a simple enough idea … isn’t it?

When Australian Dance Theatre debut their latest work at the upcoming Adelaide Festival of Arts the notion of ‘being yourself’ will be seriously deconstructed. Inspired by Eastern ideas about selfhood, ADT’s artistic director Garry Stewart has created a choreographic meditation on the theme of ‘I’.

Be Your Self has evolved into a dazzlingly surreal and architectural dance work.

“If we look into our interior….we can’t find anything other than our perceptions,” Garry Stewart begins. “There isn’t a thing in and of itself that we can identify as I or self. We are more like an array of perceptions that our conscious mind then constructs into a linear narrative of self … So I started the work off with the question: is the self the body?”

Garry Stewart, Artistic Director ADTIt’s an appropriate starting point for someone with a two decade plus track record of creating truly cutting edge contemporary dance. Indeed, Stewart’s works have been seen around the globe, with his Millennium Eve piece Housedance (performed on the outside of the Sydney Opera House) netting an estimated TV audience of two billion. What’s more, since taking over the stewardship of the internationally renowned, Adelaide based ADT in 1999 he has created critically adored works like Birdbrain and HELD.

Glittering CV notwithstanding, Stewart is not afraid to dive into the esoteric depths with Be Your Self. “I wanted to try and collapse the schism between mind and body because still in the twenty first century we think that mind, body and spirit are separate, whereas in fact neuro-biology is collapsing that separation and showing that what we consider our mind to be is very much inherent in what our body is.”

“We don’t isolate senses. We don’t just see or hear – but all of those things act in concert. It’s a total experience. And with the emotions; they don’t just happen in the mind, they happen in the body. Could you imagine fear without the dry mouth or the dilation of the pupils?”

What you sense here is an artist very much engaged with his topic and taking his work beyond mere prettiness. “How much of a construct is the self and how illusory is the self?” he continues with passion.

But of course, we are still talking art here, not just indulgent philosophising. “We are an animal of representation,” he adds. “The most distinguishing feature of being human is our ability to transform reality into a multiple series of representations. And this is never more apparent than when we make art.”

Choreographically, the challenge for Garry Stewart has been to illustrate such high end abstractions with movement. In doing so he talks about deconstructing the human body, as both physical form and cultural construct.

To this end he has collaborated with award winning New York architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R). “They created a set design that allows us to show individual body parts and occlude and disguise others. So, it’s kinda like a symphony of body parts.”Be Your Self ADT

In fact, it’s fair to suggest that Be Your Self transcends the dance. “It’s too limiting to describe it as a dance work. It’s more an artistic expression about the human body. You would call it dance – but somehow that word seems too restrictive.”

The concept is daring and, you might think, a little too way out for most audiences. However, for all of Garry Stewart’s attention to research and conceptualisation the idea of the audience is never far away.

“The pleasure of a visual image grants an audience access to an idea,” he states. “It’s a kind of strategy. I mean, you can make something that’s like an essay on stage but it could bore everyone to tears. I think when you’re creating art you are working in an aesthetic dimension and you have to acknowledge that, otherwise you might as well just get them to read the essay and not bother coming to the theatre.”

As he says, he creates his works “for an audience” and not just “as something for my own pleasure.” The challenge, he says, is in “finding the balance between being translatable and accessible but also mysterious; although not to point of being dismissed as obtuse.”

And here we drift onto the vexed notion of beauty, (my word choice). I can sense his discomfort as we talk about it until he comes out and declares, “It’s kinda hard for me to hear the word beauty; especially with dance, because the conventional ideas about beauty have really held dance back. It’s kinda like a dictatorship in dance.”

Perhaps there in a nutshell is the nub of where Stewart will take both the company and his audiences with Be Your Self – beyond the obvious and into profoundly stimulating, creative territory.

Win a Double Pass to the Opening Night of Be Your Self !
One lucky winner will also get the chance to Meet and Greet Garry after the show!  To enter click here

Be Your Self – Australian Dance Theatre
Date: February 20th, 23rd-28th
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre
Contact: BASS 131 246 www.adt.org.au
Please note: This show has strobe effect lighting and is for a mature audience

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Lucy Guerin – ‘A Human Interest Story’

By Grace Edwards.

Adelaide-born contemporary dance choreographer Lucy Guerin has much to be proud of. Since her company, Lucy Guerin Inc. was established in 2002, Guerin has become one of the nation’s most highly recognised and influential dance figures, whose works have been toured across the globe. Dance Informa’s Grace Edwards caught up with Lucy to discuss her work and life as a choreographer.

You started out as a dancer, but now work as a choreographer. Did you always see a career as a choreographer ahead of you?
“No! I don’t think I was really that aware of choreography when I started actually, or the scope of it. When you study very known vocabularies, like ballet, which has a set number of steps strung together in different ways, there’s still choreography involved, but I think when I started studying contemporary dance and there was an infinite number of possibilities for creating movement, that’s when I started to become more interested in choreography as perhaps a future career. But I definitely wanted to dance initially and didn’t begin choreographing until my thirties.”

What, to your mind, makes for a good work, choreographically speaking?  
“For me personally, I like to see either dance vocabulary or combinations of movement that are unusual or unfamiliar to me. Something that makes me see the subject of the work in a new way or understand myself in a new way.

I’m quite demanding of works in that I’m not just interested in seeing fantastic dancing and flashy choreography. I really do want to have an unusual experience, and that’s what I try to do with audiences in my own work. I know that’s a big ask and it’s not going to happen every time to every person, but that’s what I’m aiming for.”

Lucy Guerin Inc. Structure and Sadness. Photo: Jeff Busby

Lucy Guerin Inc. Structure and Sadness. Photo: Jeff Busby

How do you sense when your own works have reached completion?

“I think there’s a certain point when I’m making works when it moves out of just being sections that you have to put together. You can’t work on a whole piece at once, so you tend to work on sections, but then when you start putting them together, that’s when things change, or you think to yourself that something has to go.

Once that process is done, once the work has a trajectory and has a sense as a whole, as a structure, that’s when I hope that it’s finished. You could go on forever of course, but I try to have all the details and these individual moments come together to make something bigger.”

On the flip side, how do your works take form in the beginning? 
“Generally, I have an idea about the subject matter, what aspect of the world I want to connect with dance, it’s quite broad.  Then I bring it into the studio and I work on a process for that subject matter.

The processes that I’ve used in my last few works I’ve made slightly different for each work, and so really the first step in the studio is to do a number of experiments to figure out the process for generating new material. For instance in my last work, Corridor, that was to develop a lot of lists of instructions and deliver those instructions quickly to the dancers and create the movement that way.

In my most recent work (Human Interest Story), I’m interested in current events and in the way news is brought and how we respond to that, because sometimes I feel that dance often only speaks about certain things and can be quite an interior, personal art form. I’m interested in this latest work to see if the movement can be pushed outwards to connect with more day-to-day, real-life events.”

How has your way of working evolved since you started out as a choreographer?
“In early works I used to create all of the movement myself and the dancers would learn the phrases that I made, but in more recent works I’ve generated the material differently, mostly through the dancers.

When I made my very first piece with other people, I can remember being terribly nervous about having to stand in front of other people and tell them what to do, because they were all my peers at that point. I worked out the entire dance in the studio by myself first.

Now it’s evolved over the years such that, although I have some ideas for the content, subject and the process, I don’t work out anything ahead of time. I think now I trust much more my situation, my art form, the environment in which I make it and the dancers, and that all those things will come together on the day to produce different material. It’s a dance between coming in and being very prepared knowing that you’re going to try this and this, but then also trusting your instincts.”

You re-staged your work, Structure and Sadness, last year in Melbourne. How did the experience differ this time around?
“Well, the cast was a little bit different. Otherwise, I don’t tend to change my works a lot once they’re premiered, because once you’ve seen a work over and over you start to recognise flaws and sometimes if you try to fix them another part of the work becomes a problem, and the whole thing becomes too unwieldy.

You know, I actually really like re-staging works because I feel quite separate from them. I feel like they belong to the dancers and to the audience and I like to see how they respond to them.

And now I don’t get quite so nervous! I’ve always been very, very nervous in that work just because, you know, there are the normal nerves that go with presenting a new work, but also everything, in this work in particular, could just go so horribly wrong. We do have a back-up plan, but it really is a real-life situation happening up there for the dancers.”

Lucy Guerin Inc. Untrained

Lucy Guerin Inc. Untrained

You are taking your work Untrained to Adelaide in February, which features two trained and two untrained performers. What has it been like working with such a mix?
“It’s really fun for one thing!  It’s just wonderful to watch untrained dancers dancing. And not just social dancing, but doing abstract movements alongside trained dancers. I mean, they can’t really do them, but they do these approximations of them which are quite beautiful in a different way.

It’s beautiful to watch how training changes people’s bodies, but it’s also interesting to witness how much more you can read in untrained dancers. Their ‘personalities’ can be read through their movements because they don’t share that common intonation that all dancers have.

There are an infinite number of things that interest me about that project. It was never meant to be a performed work, it was really just a week of research for me, but by the end I thought we’d gotten so far along that I should make it into a piece. Now the untrained are actually improving though, so I’ll have to change them soon because they’re starting to pick up a few tips!”

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about working as a choreographer in Australia? |
“I think there are amazing dancers here. I love Australian dancers. I did work for quite a long time in New York, but I think there’s just something about having to grapple with your own culture and strengths and weaknesses in relation to art. I’ve been very fortunate here in that I’ve been well supported, I have a studio and a small functioning structure to support my work so I’m not struggling in the way I would be in some other countries, or in the way that some of the younger choreographers are.

One thing that’s a little hard in Australia is that we don’t really discuss ideas and possibilities for our art form as much as we could. But I think that the people in the dance community we have here in Melbourne are very supportive of each other, and choreographers work together to try and allow dancers to get as much work as possible. We’re always in constant conversation with other dance companies to work out clashes in touring seasons, because we share dancers. I know that’s something that would not happen in a lot of other countries.

I think it would be hard on the dancers though, because there aren’t a lot of full-time companies. My company is not full-time, and many others are project-based, so I think that’s why it’s really important to work together and try to create an environment that’s stimulating and inspirational.”

Lucy Guerin Inc. will perform Untrained at the Adelaide Festival between February 24-27th at 7pm and on February 28th at 5pm, at the Adelaide Centre for the Arts. To book tickets phone 121 246 or visit www.adelaidefestival.com.
For more information, see Lucy Guerin Inc.’s official website at www.lucyguerin.com.

Top photo: Lucy Guerin Inc. Structure and Sadness. Photo: Jeff Busby

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Warren and Lang Create World Premiere for LWD

By Deborah Searle.

This March the 2010 Adelaide Festival will host a world premiere by acclaimed contemporary company Leigh Warren and Dancers. A masterful new two-part production, Frame and Circle is a collaboration between Artistic Director Leigh Warren and creative talent Prue Lang. The production marks a home‐coming for Paris‐based Lang and is the first time the two award‐winning choreographers have worked in a program together.

When asked if she was excited to return to Australia and work with LWD Prue exclaimed “Absolutely, I can’t wait to get started!” In the lead up to working with the dancers Prue shared her anticipation. “I’m very excited about meeting the dancers and introducing them to a new kind of choreographic research. I will bring my own physical modalities that I hope will inspire and challenge them, so as to create together a work of great quality and complexity”.

The work Prue is referring to is called Rubicon, which together with Leigh Warren’s new work Meridian, create the program for Frame and Circle.

Prue Lang

Prue Lang

So what can audiences expect from Rubicon? “A translucent choreographic system that allows the spectator to be immersed in the performance while simultaneously understanding the work’s structure”, Prue explains. For Rubicon Prue explores the framework within which games (be they sporting or board games) are played. “Hidden networks, Rubik’s cube algorithms, dual realities, game theories and hypnotism are driving my creative process right now”, she shares. “Each has an inherent logic that can be experienced or played out. I’m interested in the relation between projection and action and the consequences of their interaction”.

An internationally celebrated dancer in her own right, Lang is also the creative force behind some of the most ambitious choreographic works currently being made in Europe. Born in Melbourne, Lang was invited to France in 1996 to join Compagnie L’Esquisse and later joined Forsythe’s revolutionary Frankfurt Ballet (1999–2004). Over the past five years she has created numerous critically acclaimed productions including the multi‐award winning performance‐installation Infinite Temporal Series (2006). So how has this time in Europe shaped her choreography? “The context in which I’ve been creating has been fertile and inspiring”, Prue shares. “There are over 600 choreographers in France alone so there is a lot of room for diversity and experimentation in dance. I had the chance to collaborate with great choreographers, visual artists, architects and dramaturges that have all proposed challenging questions. I have also seen a great number of performances and exhibitions that have influenced the way I think about my art”.

With such experience, it is no wonder that Leigh Warren chose to partner with Lang to create a groundbreaking work for the company. “Prue brings a wealth of experience and sophisticated practise to us”, Leigh shared. “Her approaches and methodology to working will be a wonderful development for the dancers. Her vision as a choreographer will be fresh and challenging while related in background to my own work, quite different in its evolution for our audiences”.

With some connections in their career paths through working with William Forsythe, Leigh Warren knows that Lang will work well with his dancers. “Prue was just the most wonderful dancer and still is! Her physical ability and her intellectual ability to develop concepts and research new avenues of movement to connect with her ideas makes her a perfect choreographer for the company to create with”.

Leigh Warren. Photo Alex Makeyev

Leigh Warren. Photo Alex Makeyev

But Lang’s work isn’t the only number in the program. Leigh’s own new work, Meridian, will premiere also. Meridian sees Warren explore the links between his dancers’ innate sense of balance and the symbolism of the circle as it transcends space and time. “The inspiration for Meridian has been a long time unfolding. It grew from many thoughts I have had about the Middle East and how the circle of existence from birth to death is still so condensed”.

So what kind of work will Meridian be? “Audiences can expect a very dramatic work”, Leigh shares. “The stark minimalism and purity of the white circle floor space with the dancers cutting through intersecting arcs of light will create a world of balanced tensions. Meridan will be a very strenuous physical work that places the body at the centre of our experiences”.

Undoubtedly an exciting challenge for Leigh’s talented dancers, Frame and Circle will surely be a hit with contemporary audiences. “The premiere in the Adelaide Festival will be very exciting and it’s at such events that the company will galvanise to produce something new that stretches the company artistically”, says Leigh.

So will the company tour the new work? “We hope very much to tour this program and share this special season with as broad an audience as possible. We believe this program would be perfect for the Mobile States programming so fingers crossed they will all come and see our exciting new enterprise”,  voices Leigh. “Frank Madrid our Associate Producer will certainly be making every effort to let people know we are keen to tour!”

But before they can tour, they need to enjoy a hit Adelaide season. With an eager artistic audience in South Australia the work is sure to be well received and a highlight of the Adelaide Festival program. Make sure you get your tickets!

For further information about Leigh Warren and Dancers and the 2010 Adelaide Festival visit www.lwd.com.au and www.adelaidefestival.com.au

Win a Double Pass to Frame and Circle! Click here

Frame and Circle – Leigh Warren and Dancers
Dates: March 10th-13th, 7.00pm, March 14th, 5.00pm
Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Duration: 1 hr 20 mins (incl interval)
Tickets: Adult $49 Friends $42 Conc $39 Fringe Benefits $25
Bookings: BASS 131 246 or www.adelaidefestival.com.au

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