The definition of a “force majeure” is an irresistible compulsion or superior strength. It is also the name of a contemporary dance theatre company based in Sydney. Force Majeure was started by Kate Champion in 2002. Working out of Sydney’s Carriageworks, the company has produced such works as Nothing to Lose and Never Did Me Any Harm, a co-production with Sydney Theatre Company. The troupe has toured to Lyon Biennale de la Danse, Place Des Arts Montreal, Dublin Theatre Festival and the Seoul Performing arts Festival.
Choreographer, director and performer Danielle Micich began as artistic director in 2015. INCITE, part of a suite of Artist Development opportunities that Force Majeure offers, is designed to develop and refine the skills needed to make dance theatre.
“When you work with an actor, they talk about how they use their breath,” says Micich. “When you talk to a dancer, they talk about how they use their core. Doing both is highly refined practice that not everyone can do. The devising process, when you work with the performers to construct the work from scratch, is a very different practice from being given the steps to perform.”
INCITE is one of Micich’s fledging programs. She says, “A lot of people want to know how I put the work together, a lot of people want to observe; I want them to experience it. Unless you are doing it, you don’t know how it is done. I am trying to give the opportunity to those who want the opportunity. I am pulling it apart so you can see it.”
INCITE will also involve guest artist Ellen Lauren, a prolific performer, maker and educator from New York, where she is co-artistic director of SITI Company. SITI is renowned for Viewpoints, a methodology for training and composition for performance. Each year, hundreds of students descend upon Saratoga University for the summer intensive run by SITI Company. It would be unusual to find tertiary acting and dance courses in the USA that do not touch on Viewpoints.
Micich trained with Lauren and SITI in New York. “I was there for a couple of weeks,” she explains. “I walked away going, ‘That’s not enough for me. Where can I find more? I’ll just make my own training.'”
Micich describes being inspired by Lauren’s ability to offer deep feedback to artists and says, “We crave, as mature artists, something to help us to refine who we are. INCITE allows access to Ellen’s expertise in Australia without having to go overseas. She will be running parts of it with me. She will participate as well. Having her is so impressive. Matching up against her. So often you don’t get to put yourself up against the best.”
The professional development opportunity is open to artists who have some experience as makers and is by application only. The applications will be assessed by Micich and the team at Force Majeure. Applications for INCITE close Friday 18th of August.
For more information, visit www.forcemajeure.com.au/artist-development/incite/.
By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.