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March Dance contemporary dance festival is back

DirtyFeet. Photo courtesy of March Dance.
DirtyFeet. Photo courtesy of March Dance.

March Dance, the annual month-long contemporary dance festival, is back in 2021, for its third consecutive year. The festival, running 1 – 31 March, is created to support independent artists in Sydney.

March Dance will bring together the diversity of ongoing independent dance practices in Sydney, opening these activities to a wide audience. Ninety-seven artists will engage in 35 events across 10 Sydney venues in March, incorporating everything from the development of new dance works to workshops to performances, online live-streamed events and screening by Dance Cinema.

Photo courtesy of March Dance.
Photo courtesy of March Dance.

March Dance 2021 will be a celebration of Sydney independent dance artists and will showcase the remounting and development of work that was unfortunately on hold due to the pandemic. Finding space to create work is challenging, and the City of Sydney’s support is paramount in providing artists with the opportunity to get back into the studio.

The event is an Independent Dance Alliance (IDA) project and a partnership between Critical Path, DirtyFeet and ReadyMade Works. IDA has joined forces with numerous companies and venues from across Sydney to celebrate independent dance culture in Sydney.

Four artists, Elle Evangelista, Emily Flannery, Holly Craig and Wendy Yu, have been selected to receive mini bursaries of $1,000 to support their three-day residences.

“The 2021 festival is proud to support the Sydney dance community which has been struggling due to COVID,” says Lauren Vassallo, festival manager. “March Dance 2021is excited to allow audiences to experience live performances again. Many of the artists will no doubt reflect on how the pandemic has affected them. Independent Sydney dancer Elle Evangelista was due to premiere her work, 30 THIRTY, at last year’s festival, about turning 30, which had to be cancelled due to COVID. During the festival, Evangelista is working on a revised work about turning 31!”

On 13 March at 6pm and 14 March at 6pm, Happy Hour returns, with Happy Hour #11 Street Elite, curated by Nick Power. For the first time at Readymade,Ultimo, a batch of hardcore hip hop practitioners will celebrate culture, community and ‘killa’ moves.

Another hip hop performance festival event is Geometric Flow, from 26 – 28 March, a highlight of last year’s festival, which will take place in Petersham’s Station Tunnel with performers illustrating the connections between graffiti and street dance.

Improv Exchange 2021, to be held on 14 March, at Rex Cramphorn Studio, is an intensive three-day laboratory led by Tess de Quincey which will explore improvisation from the perspective of a collective, which will culminate in a one-hour performance for audiences.

'The Foul of the Air'. Photo courtesy of March Dance.
‘The Foul of the Air’. Photo courtesy of March Dance.

The Foul of the Air on 25 – 31 March will take place in an abandoned women’s garment factory in Summer Hill, Living Room Theatre, and will explore a sound work without a score, a dance piece without steps, theatre without words.

Tra Mi Dinh’s Holding, from 12 – 13 March, will examine some of the ways humans grapple with being subjected to a cycle that can be ended only by an external source/instruction.

A Small Spectacle, from 7 – 9 March, is a free online performance that will be live-streamed and features an eclectic mix of dance architecture, costume and sound. Phaedra Brown will explore the spectacle of the everyday, framed by the increasing influence of the common digital experience.

Inhabiting Erasures: Embodying traces of the feminine on 27 March 27 is a multidisciplinary exhibition by Rakini Devi with live music by Dr Cat Hope, informed by ongoing research into the erasure of women through misogyny and violence.

Aside from performances, March Dance 2021 will also feature award-winning dance films and documentaries that resonate themes of distance and connection (Lucy Doherty, Lux Eterna, Orion Mitchell and Nick Vela, Richard James Allen and Karen Pearlman, Corina Andrian [Red-Cor], Hadi Moussally, Tove Skeidsvoll, and Klara Elenius). The panel discussion on 26 March will involve several participating artists sharing their dance filmmaking practice and discuss the frameworks of screendance in this heavily digital world. 

'Geometric Flow'. Photo courtesy of March Dance.
‘Geometric Flow’. Photo courtesy of March Dance.

Numerous artists will undertake residences during March Dance 2021, including Emily Flannery, Lost all Sorts Collective, Wendy Yu, Holly Craig, Adam Warburton, Lucy Doherty, Elle Evangelista, Lux Eterna, Gabriela Green Olea, Kay Armstrong, Roman Hassanin, Matt Cornell and Emma Fyshwick, Bonnie Curtis, Tra Mi Dinh, Patricia Wood, SXAE, Reina Takeuchi, Analogise Paul, Laura Osweiler, and Coti Cibils.

The Right Foot and DirtyFeet will present a one-day workshop in the Glebe Town Hall for people with and without disability. Special guest teachers from Down to Bhangra teaching Bollywood will join. Open to all levels of ability and suitable for low to moderate support needs, the workshop will be held in an accessible venue which is wheelchair accessible.

Constant Relay is a first-in-first-served, no application, short-form residency and exchange opportunity at ReadyMade Works. Artists will receive time in the studio bookended by encounters with fellow artists in residence, an informal opportunity to connect with other practitioners, share something about what they are working on or exchange ideas.

Body Traces is a two-day workshop focusing on making large scale energetic transpositions from the body to page and back again, using both wet and dry mediums.

Kay Armstrong will host a Your Funny masterclass in which she will encourage others to find their own brand of funny as they come out from under the heavy blanket of 2020, all aimed fairly and squarely at finding your funny using the vehicle of dance.

March Dance 2021 will be held 1 – 31 March. Tickets are now on sale. For tickets and full program details, visit www.marchdance.com

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