By Elle Evangelista of Dance Informa.
New to the Perth dance scene in 2015 is the WA Dance Company Inc! The company is aiming to become a major force in the West Australian dance scene.
“The vision of the WA Dance Company is to become semi-professional as soon as possible, with the dancers being paid at the award rate for all performances and the company relying on funding applications” says Fiona Oliver, Artistic Director and Dance Mistress of the WA Dance Company.
Located in Midland, WA, the WA Dance Company is fully incorporated and run by a Management Committee made up of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and four other members. “The company was founded in 2013 by myself but has only been operating as a company in the last few months. There was a lot of ground work to do first to set it up.” And this “ground work” has certainly paid off with the company receiving sponsorship from Gunnersons, Stevensons Flooring, Glass Shop, Hilco Plumbing and TG Electrical to aid with the studios sprung floors, carpets, mirrors, plumbing and electrical.
Fiona says that the WA Dance Company’s contribution to dance in Western Australia will include “touring to regional areas, including a lot of the smaller towns, incorporating the towns’ dance students into the main performance so students from these remote areas can enjoy that experience. The company also will be constantly presenting new works so dancers and audiences will have access to a wide range or genres.”
In 2015 the company will present Dark Fantasy, which is a fusion performance with Zahara Dance Company Inc, and in 2016 they will perform Robin Hood as a two act ballet, with hopes to tour.
“2016 is the year Robin Hood is presented. The Robin Hood opening season will be in Perth. It is envisaged that it will tour to some regional towns, including Geraldton, Merridan, Wongan Hills, Bridgetown and Mandurah. There will be towns added, [and we’ll be] conducting dance workshops for local ballet schools to also help fund the tour.”
Oliver works with her dancers using the ‘Oliver Method of Safe Dance,’ which is a series of exercises and techniques she developed through discoveries from her own rehabilitation back to dancing after several severe accidents. She teaches OMOSD at the WA Dance School for dancers wanting to learn the technique and improve their status in the company. “OMOSD’s main aim is to bring about an awareness of correct body alignment and core stability together with the strengthening of the skeletal muscles whilst understanding the individual range of movement of the body and joints.”
And for the long-term future? “In five years I would like to see the WA Dance Company touring throughout WA, Australia. I’d like some overseas tours and to be working full time so that there are more jobs for dancers in our state and for dancers that thrive on innovative and totally new works. I think that once we have a few more full time companies in WA, dancers will stay here because they will have paid work and if the companies perhaps shared their dancers with overseas companies from time to time then our dancers would have that opportunity as well.”
“Auditions are running now until I have all of the dancers I require,” says Oliver. I still need two more female soloists and one female principal, two male soloists and two male principals, one male coryphee and one female coryphee, three male corps de ballet and five female corps de ballet. This will complete a company of 20 dancers strong. Achieving these goals will mean producing performing seasons of the highest calibre. To do this, dancers of the highest level are needed.”
Photo (top): A WA Dance Company dancer Garibaldi Delisle Simono. Photo courtesy of WA Dance Company, Inc.