Spotlight on Natalie Weir’s Expressions Dance Company

EDC's Alana Sargent and Richard Causer. Photo by Jeff Camden.
EDC's Alana Sargent and Richard Causer. Photo by Jeff Camden.

Expressions Dance Company (EDC) has a busy 2017 season: a new signature work, Behind Closed Doors, choreographed by EDC Artistic Director Natalie Weir, is premiering; as is Propel (currently showing), which presents the works of four emerging choreographers. 2017 will also see the company collaborate closely with Opera Queensland, Opera Australia and City Contemporary Dance Company in Hong Kong, as part of the Chinese Australian Dance Exchange Project. Here, Dance Informa catches up with Weir and EDC dancers Alana Sargent and Jake McLarnon to find out more about what they are up to.

EDC Artistic Director Natalie Weir. Photo by Justin Nicholas.

EDC Artistic Director Natalie Weir. Photo by Justin Nicholas.

“All of our projects this year are very exciting!” Weir says. “One of the elements that makes us different from other companies is that we create work with a narrative. This narrative defines the signature of the company and has built a great audience here in Brisbane and beyond. Our 2017 signature work, Behind Closed Doors, is set in a hotel, so it’s a voyeuristic glimpse into the comings and goings of guests.”

She adds, “But Propel is also a big highlight for me because I like to play an important role in supporting emerging and established choreographers. Lisa Wilson is a well-respected and established choreographer, Amy Hollingsworth is emerging as a very gifted creator, and Elise May continues to develop a strong choreographic voice. Also, Yi-Ming from China brings us a very different style of movement, which is very challenging and very beautiful, so it will be an exciting program.”

McLarnon agrees that the collaborations with other companies and choreographers is going to be one of the highlights for the 2017 season. 

Jake McLarnon. Photo by Elise May.

Jake McLarnon. Photo by Elise May.

“It’s exciting to be a part of the company for 2017,” he says, “not only working with some amazing dancers, choreographers and our amazing Artistic Director Natalie but dancing to incredible music, too – Mozart arias with Opera Queensland for Mozart Airborne, jazz by Trichotomy for Behind Closed Doors and some seriously avant-garde stuff for Propel.”

Sargent describes Propel as a treat, saying, “As well as being a dancer, I have taken on the role as Designer for Propel, collaborating with each choreographer to design their costumes. So Propel has been a massive creative outlet for me as, and I think it’s amazing that the company has given me the opportunity to branch out into design.”

EDC's Jake McLarnon and Alana Sargent. Photo by Samara Sutton-Baker.

EDC’s Jake McLarnon and Alana Sargent. Photo by Samara Sutton-Baker.

Great professional development opportunities and support for emerging artists comes through in all aspects of the EDC program. “EDC has a program called Brisbane Contemporary Dance Intensive that we do in both the summer and winter school holidays,” Weir explains. “This is a great way for young, aspiring dancers to work with great teachers and be taught by both the EDC dancers and guest artists from across Australia. We also have a secondment program, where dancers in the final year of training at a dance university can come and spend a week with us, experiencing how the company works and what it is like to be a professional dancer.” 

For more information on Expressions Dance Company, or to book a show or workshops, visit expressionsdancecompany.org.au. Propel is currently showing until March 11 at Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.

By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.

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