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Origins Dance Company prepares for online performance season

Xander Soh outside his Rowvilee home. Photo by Paul Malek.
Xander Soh outside his Rowvilee home. Photo by Paul Malek.

Origins Dance Company by Transit Dance is keeping the artistic spirit alive by embracing the current social distancing restrictions and turning what would have been its live performance season into a virtual theatre experience for all to enjoy. 

Choreographer Paul Malek works with Origins Dance Company. Photo by Jayden Hicks.
Choreographer Paul Malek works with Origins Dance Company. Photo by Jayden Hicks.

Choreographers Jayden Hicks, Damian Meredith and Paul Malek will work with a cast of 60 young artists to create a new digital work, Our own island. The dancers will collaborate with the choreographers to create a unique piece within the parameters of their own home. This work will then be captured digitally and merged into both a film and live performance outcome.

There are 60 dancers participating in Origins Dance Company’s virtual performance season aged between 12 and 25 years from across Victoria. With Artistic Director Hicks at the helm, he is hopeful that this new performance delivery will shed light on what is a dark arts industry at present. 

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for these young artists to share their stories whilst in isolation,” Hicks says. “As artists, we welcome this challenge of producing and performing dance content online. We have the creative licence to adapt our mode of performance and deliver something really special.”

Transit Dance Founder and Director Paul Malek, also a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, reiterates the importance of continuing to produce work in the arts amidst this crisis.

“In a period when other recreational projects in the arts are being forced to cancel or postpone, we felt it was important to continue to deliver our planned programs in whatever capacity we could,” Malek notes. “Creativity can and should continue. It is our duty to make sure we can continue to provide young artists with as many opportunities as possible.”

Origins Dance Company performer Xander Soh was one of the Australians quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Soh was unable to commence his first year of dance training at Transit Dance due to the ship’s quarantine; however, he is now able to join the Origins Dance Company program and return to his passion. 

“It’s been so long since I’ve felt and danced like this,” Soh says. “I’m so grateful to be able to return to the one thing I love doing after months of quarantine.” 

Abbey Chappell outside her home. Photo by Paul Malek.
Abbey Chappell outside her home. Photo by Paul Malek.

Bayside dance school Theatre De La DanSe is proud to have 20 of its students participate in this term’s program and be the first to experience online dance direction. 

“This is such an amazing opportunity for our dancers to continue dancing and unite as a community during this time of such uncertainty,” shares Rachael Shiels, school principal of Theatre De La DanSe. 

Origins Dance Company is a highly acclaimed youth program delivered by dance tertiary institution Transit Dance. The company produces two performance projects per year, each consisting of eight weekend rehearsals to bring a professional performance experience.

For more information, visit www.transitdance.net/odc.

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