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The choreographic potential is dizzying: Stephanie Lake on Colossus

Stephanie Lake - Colossus

It may have taken 20 years for multi award-winning Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake to bring her work Colossus to life, but as the recipient of the Melbourne Fringe Take Over! opportunity, art makers and lovers can see the world premiere from 26 – 30 September at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio.

The Take Over! project is a unique partnership between Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Fringe that enables an independent artist, company or collective to develop a creative idea ready for presentation in the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne, Lake’s Colossus is a new immersive dance work described as compelling and visionary, comprising of a combined 50 dance students and emerging dance artists. To create a work of this scale has been a long-held ambition for Lake but a monumental achievement.

“It is a huge logistical undertaking to coordinate a cast of this size. I needed the backing of a big institution like Arts Centre Melbourne to make it happen. It’s through their support along with the Victorian College of the Arts and Transit Dance that we’re able to make the show a reality,” Lake said.

Lake is known for her robust yet intricate works, but what continually allows her to connect with audiences are the key messages she weaves throughout her pieces. Colossus is no different where Lake taps into the human desire to, on one hand, be part of the mass and to share in a communal experience, and on the other hand to assert individuality.

Colossus looks at how we create and follow icons and the subsequent rejection of those leaders – whether they be ideological, political or even celebrity. We tend to want something to believe in and would prefer to follow than to exert individual agency. Giving over to outside influence can absolve us from responsibility and that can be of comfort. I want to look at the beauty and ugliness of that tendency,” she said.

The mass of dancing bodies will move in complex unison and wild individuality. They will jostle and coexist in perfect imperfection, illustrating the push and pull of humanity and the exquisite patterning found in the natural world. The 50 dancers will shift in and out of allegiances, couplings, micro-societies and also isolation using a dance language that is ballistic, original and intimate.

“I love working with large casts. The choreographic potential is dizzying. I love patterning and rhythmic interplay and the sheer energy from having a mass of bodies on stage. It’s great to work with a diversity of students and emerging dancers as well; they bring their idiosyncrasies and different training backgrounds into the process, and I’m really excited by the ways they will influence and inspire each other,” she said.

To catch Colossus this September 26 to 30, visit artscentremelbourne.com.au or call 1300 182 183.

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