FRAME: A major new biennial of dance 

Amelia O'Leary's 'A Certain Mumble'. Photo by Alliah Nival.
Amelia O'Leary's 'A Certain Mumble'. Photo by Alliah Nival.

FRAME: A biennial of dance, is a new festival from the dance communities in Melbourne and Victoria including arts organisations, companies and independent artists. The inaugural FRAME will run from March 1-31, 2023, with the full program to be announced early February featuring works presented by Arts House, Bunjil Place, Centre for Projection Art, Chunky Move, Dancehouse, Darebin Arts Speakeasy, Lucy Guerin Inc, Punctum, The Australian Ballet, The Substation, Temperance Hall and more.

A major new dance program, FRAME is an evolving and transformative congregation: for audiences, makers and presenters. FRAME represents dance artists across all forms, practices, cultures, histories, disciplines, aesthetics and experimentations. The festival presents dance in an expanded field including shows, talks, labs, films, public programs and workshops. 

Following three years of consultation with the independent dance community and small-to-medium sector, FRAME is co-led and co-designed by an unprecedented number of independent artists and producers. The FRAME partners said in a joint statement: “The journey has been incredibly rewarding, and we are immensely excited about all that’s to come. It’s been a privilege to work alongside one another to co-design and co-create a festival that champions artists and invites audiences to explore and delight in dance. The inaugural FRAME will offer a considered and enthralling dance program of unprecedented scale and depth. We can’t wait to unveil it in all its vibrancy, and March 2023 can’t come soon enough.”

Phillip Adams' 'Triptych'.
Phillip Adams’ ‘Triptych’.

FRAME responds to the need in Australia’s dance practice of a flagship festival to concentrate, connect and celebrate the work of dance and movement artists across the continent. The festival will be delivered through a new model, emerging after the pandemic and in response to the resultant challenges facing independent artists in the dance and live performance sectors. FRAME will be delivered through an unprecedented alignment of diverse arts organisations working collectively with a shared purpose and with an artist curatorium comprising 20 dance artists

FRAME will be adaptive and will respond to current conditions in its scale with ambitions to be sustained over a 10-year cycle. It has been created by an arts community recovering from the ongoing effects of interconnected crises and utilising artist-led, intergenerational, cross-sectoral and locally focused models of collaboration and collective organising. 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said FRAME was more than three years in the making and presents a unique opportunity to showcase Melbourne’s leading dance performers, artists and creatives. “FRAME is an inspiring dance festival only Melbourne can deliver. We are so proud to partner with FRAME, bringing leading arts organisations, independent artists and producers together to put on an unmissable festival.”

The full program is to be launched in February 2023, and will include:

Maloya Moshpit, Punctum with Muriel Hillion Toulcanon and associated artists

Maloya Moshpit bursts with the cultural and evolutionary influence of creolisation. In a live mashup of dance, music, percussion and song, Maloya Moshpit invites audiences to a collective act of cultural collision, churn and bloom in a performance Petri dish. The premiere is commissioned and programmed by Castlemaine State Festival and takes place under the Festival’s umbrella and FRAME at Goods Shed Arts in Castlemaine. Muriel Hillion Toulcanon is a Maloya dancer from Réunion island. Maloya is a living cultural practice of Réunion cultures including Creole, African Malagasy, Tamil and Indian influences.

Somewhere at the Beginning, Germaine Acogny – Arts House

Acclaimed Senegalese French dancer, Germaine Acogny, along with Mikael Serra, will present her acclaimed solo Somewhere at the Beginning. Known as the foremother of Black contemporary dance, at 79, Acogny is still dancing. Acogny evokes both the history of her family and West Africa in this committed autobiographical solo. The performance questions the place of women, the friction between tradition and emancipation and how identity is more of a path than an end point. Acogny was recently awarded the prestigious Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement in dance at the Venice Biennale.

The Honouring, Jackie Sheppard – Arts House

A physical theatre show with movement, dialogue, text and puppetry, The Honouring is about suicide and grief within the First Nations community. The performance poses a deeply taboo question: when suicide is played out almost every day, does it then become a practice of ritual that has become weaved into our cultural identity? The Honouring explores the transitions that the spirits take after suicide and pays homage to their souls. The Honouring was first presented at La Mama in 2019, for YIRRAMBOI Festival. Creator Jackie Sheppard will be redeveloping and expanding the show for FRAME.

Aotearoa is Here, Choreolab with Jaycee Iman and more – Chunky Move

A free, three-day workshop for up to 30 local artists as part of Chunky Move’s annual professional development program, Choreolab, featuring three of Aotearoa’s heavy hitters in the street dance community including Mother of House of Iman, Jaycee Iman. Choreolab is delivered in partnership with Naarm street dance leaders Efren Pamilacan and Jonathan Homsey and in conjunction with companion events at Dancehouse, Basement Theatre (Aotearoa) and MPavilion, placing these Pasifika voices in the forefront of Frame. 

Triptych, Phillip Adams – Temperance Hall

Phillip Adams, Australian maverick of contemporary dance, presents Triptych, a divine intervention of queer crucifixions inspired by Francis Bacon’s triptych paintings. Triptych celebrates the cultural kitsch of Christian spirituality and transforms its heteronormative iconography with a queer veneer. Amidst a sphincter-sex-sling installation, performers portray Bacon’s theatrical and surreal imaginariums of the crucifixion in a Disney-esque, porn-like ballet parody of penetrations.

Aliens of Extraordinary Ability, Curated by Luke George – Temperance Hall

Temperance Hall Artistic Associate, Luke George, curates and collaborates with 10 multi-disciplinary artists in the fields of dance, sound artists, visual installation and costume design, to create a one-night performance-party/happening where performance and art intermingle. The line-up includes artists such as Govind Pillai, Alexander Powers, MaggZ, Luigi Vescio, Sarah Aiken, Rosalind Crisp, Tony Yap, Joel Bray and Andrew Treloar.

SLIP, Rebecca Jensen – Darebin Arts Speakeasy

SLIP explores the illusion of Foley, a technique in film making whereby everyday sound effects are artificially created and layered over the image. In this humorous and mesmerising dance piece, choreographer Rebecca Jensen and award-winning sound artist Aviva Endean use this fascinating art form to bend reality, where your eyes and ears start playing tricks on you, time zones collide, and the bond between objective and perception comes unstuck. 

A Certain Mumble, Amelia Jean O’Leary – Darebin Arts Speakeasy

A new work by First Nations Gamilaroi dance artist Amelia O’Leary and Chinese Malaysian dance artist Janelle Tan, expressing their multiple truths and stories of what it feels like to be an outsider in Australia. These two young artists invite us into the murky space between the conviction they hold in their identities, the perils of being misunderstood, and the subterranean rumblings telling you you don’t belong here. 

Progress Report, Created by Alison Currie and Alisdair Macindoe – The Substation

Wasting waste is a waste. Dance as a bold manifesto. This solo dance performance puts real world, everyday decisions under the microscope to reveal seemingly contradictory, at times hilarious and often unbearable truths. Bringing together long-time collaborators, dance makers and multidisciplinary artists Alison Currie and Alisdair Macindoe, and their mutual interest in the place of objects and subjects in performance, Progress Report features soloists Kialea-Nadine Williams and Cazna Brass and a mountain of waste, with sound design by Sascha Budimski, and lighting, set and costume design by Meg Wilson.

For more information on FRAME: A biennial of dance, visit framebiennial.com.au.

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