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Dance at Melbourne Fringe Festival

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.

The iconic Melbourne Fringe Festival rolls into town again this month, bringing treats from all corners of the creative spectrum. With around 20 dance shows on offer this year, audiences are spoilt for choice. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the dance highlights on offer:

I Came Here to Dance Once

Who: Yellow Wheel
When: September 24 – 26
Where: Revolt Melbourne – Indoor Carpark

I Came Here To Dance Once

‘I Came Here To Dance Once’ by Yellow Wheel.

What: Youth dance company Yellow Wheel presents a collection of four new contemporary dance works performed by 35 next generation dance artists. Acclaimed choreographer Jo Lloyd, shares the bill with emerging choreographers Amber McCartney and Joshua Lowe, and Yellow Wheel company member, Arabella Frahn-Starkie.

Quizzing the Creator (Joshua Lowe, on his work, Hunger in I Came Here to Dance Once)…

Describe the show in five words.
Desire to achieve the unknown.”

What do you hope audience members will take away?
I always hope that audiences of my works come away with such a strong visceral feeling and physical response to the work that they don’t feel the need to try dissect it with words or search for meaning in an academic way.”

What was the most fun or the most challenging aspect of creating this work?
My cast of young performers are hilarious and will give absolutely anything a go. While our piece ended up being quite serious and dark in tone, our process often left us on the floor laughing… they have the best facial expressions!”

Flash/Girl

‘Flash/Girl,’ photo by Tim Snowdon.

Flash/Girl

Who: Lauren Simmonds and Bicky Lee
When: September 18 – 21
Where: Dancehouse – Sylvia Staehli Theatre
What: Flash/Girl is a double bill comprising Flashlight by Lauren Simmonds and Project Girl by Bicky Lee. Flashlight is a live, interactive artwork which Simmonds describes as “a game of hide and seek between audience and performer”. Project Girl is a live scrapbook of one woman’s girlhood to date.

Quizzing the Creator (Bicky Lee, on Project Girl)…

Describe the show in five words.
Woman. Pink. Feminist. Scrapbook. Portrait.”

What do you hope audience members will take away?
I hope audiences will get to know me a bit and consider what ‘woman’ means to them. This work has references to various formative experiences in my life and – especially since I have been teaching dance to young children recently – I have been asking myself the question: ‘What are we teaching girls?'”

What was the most fun or the most challenging aspect of creating this work?
The most challenging has been piecing it all together. I have had to deepen my understanding of what I am trying to say so that only what is ‘necessary’ is there. Because this work is so personal, I have moments where I am convinced I am being terribly indulgent and self-centred. A large part of this process has been the regular realisation that my story is important and interesting. The concern with wasting other people’s time and not wanting to show indulgence is a chronic problem for women; we often apologise when we do not need to. The practice of not apologising about the work has been as crucial for me as making the work.”

I Can Disappear by James Andrews

‘I Can Disappear’ by James Andrews.

I Can Disappear

Who: Choreographed and performed by James Andrews
When: September 27 – October 4
Where: Fringe Hub – Warehouse
What: #selfie culture meets the Buddhist notion of anattā (the ‘not-self’ or the illusion of ‘self’) in a work that questions the value we place on our curated visual identities. I Can Disappear brings the body to the fore as the artist questions the very nature of ‘self’.

Quizzing the Creator…

Describe the show in five words.
“Dangerous, evocative, mysterious, extraterrestrial and (a little bit) sexy.”

What do you hope audience members will take away?
I hope audiences can leave feeling like they’ve just taken a visceral journey into a strange and foreign landscape.”

What was the most fun or the most challenging aspect of creating this work?
The design and construction of the costume elements are equal parts fun and challenging. Expect life casted #selfie haute couture. Epic.”

In Formation II

Who: Choreographed and performed by Chimene Steele-Prior
When: September 19 – 26
Where: Fringe Hub – Warehouse
What: In Formation is a physical and choreographic exploration of progression. It is instigated by a need to move forward, to possibly transform and by the desire to conceive a different perspective. It traverses the literal and tangible, colliding with the abstract and ethereal.

Quizzing the Creator…

Describe the show in five words.
The show is a challenging, physical, amorphic, dissolving reality.”

What do you hope audience members will take away?
“The show has elements of tension that build up and morph over time. It is a statement on the capability of the human for change and what is required of us in order to create and be changed. I would like the audience to feel they have been taken on a journey and that their senses of reality and perception have shifted throughout the show. I hope that by the end there is a sense of release for the audience and space for the realisation of many and all possibilities.”

What was the most fun or the most challenging aspect of creating this work?
Learning to trust myself and let go of fear. I’ve worked on becoming less attached to positive or negative feedback by remembering the work I have created is the meeting point for discussion. I am really interested in creating an experience where there is opportunity for the audience to undergo a transformation of their own.”

Mechanical Eye

Mechanical Eye by Gregory Lorenzutti and Maud Leger. Photo by Ashley Mclellan.

Mechanical Eye

Who: Directed and Choreographed by Gregory Lorenzutti. Produced by Maud Leger.
When: October 1 – 5
Where: Chapel off Chapel – Mezzanine
What: The world is a photograph of the world. It recreates its own image every time. A cross-disciplinary performance involving dance and photography, Mechanical Eye scans the role of images in our self-perception process.

Quizzing the Creators…

Describe the show in five words.
“Vibrant dance and photography performance.”

What do you hope audience members will take away?
Mechanical Eye questions how we accidentally amass images, and how these and other images pervade our lives and sculpt perceptions of ourselves in the world. Rather than blaming behaviours, the work invites us all to ask what are the ramifications of this obsessive desire to photograph everything, superseding the experience of life lived in real time?”

What was the most fun or the most challenging aspect of creating this work?
“Creating a movement-based photographic performance from sociological questions, arts history, photographed portraits, then discussing and transforming all of it and more into dance was extremely stimulating for all artists involved.”

Post Phase

‘POST PHASE: The Summit is Blue’ by Chloe Chignell and Timothy Walsh. Photo by Ashley Mclellan and Sarah Fiddaman.

POST PHASE: The Summit Is Blue

Who: Choreographed and Performed by Chloe Chignell and Timothy Walsh
When: September 18 – 21
Where: Dancehouse – Upstairs Studio
What: POST PHASE The Summit is Blue exists in two volumes. It is an urgent undertaking, a departure point, a space for transition and new arrivals. We dance forward in circles, with two bodies two histories and two futures to materialise a new Era. Chloe Chignell presents Volume One: The sublime attends to gravity. Timothy Walsh presents Volume Two: The endless motion of the motionless man.

Quizzing the Creators…

Describe the show in five words or less.
“The summit is blue.”

What do you hope audience members will take away?
“The experience we create will hopefully act as a catalyst to transport the spectator deeper into the space and time of our performance. We want the audience to feel the sensation of the movement and the sound happening right there, with them. We want them to feel like they were a part of something big and radical yet have had the space to feel personal and intimate. The work is dealing with something we will never truly capture; it is our hope that our audiences, with us, come just that little bit closer to capturing it.”

What was the most fun or the most challenging aspect of creating this work?
“Being in the studio together has been great. We are constantly being inspired by each other. It’s been fun testing the limits of this new collaboration at such an early stage in our careers; the sense that we are materialising a new era in performance really feels incredible.”

Melbourne City Ballet

Melbourne City Ballet present ‘Placebo.’

Placebo

Who: Melbourne City Ballet
When: September 25 – 27
Where: TheatreWorks
What: Melbourne City Ballet presents Placebo, a neo-classical triple bill showcasing the works of choreographers Alexandra Tylee and Michael Pappalardo. These performances will explore the very personal themes experienced by those dealing with grief or living with bipolar disorder. This is the much anticipated follow-up to Melbourne City Ballet’s double bill Parallel Connections, which debuted at Melbourne Fringe in 2013.

Quizzing the Creator…

Describe the show in five words.
“Diverse. Neoclassical. Contemporary. Classical. Intense.”

What do you hope audience members will take away?
“Melbourne City Ballet offers its annual choreographic Melbourne Fringe Season to showcase the talent of choreographers whose work may not get seen by the general public without such an event. Placebo hopes to give audiences a brief insight into the talents of these individuals and their respective forms of movement art.”

What was the most fun or the most challenging aspect of creating this work?
“For Placebo, there is much difficulty for choreographers to paint their pictures onto MCB performers within brief seasons where company members perform in a number of works. For company members, this is a very physical project and each performance will be very demanding.”

The 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival runs from 17 September to 5 October. To book, head to www.melbournefringe.com.au.

Photo (top): Melbourne City Ballet presents Placebo. Photo courtesy of Melbourne City Ballet.

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