An Act of Now by Chunky Move won The Age Critics’ Award for best new Australian work, on Friday at the 2012 Melbourne Festival.
Selected by a panel of The Age’s expert critics, the award was open to all new major Australian works in this year’s Melbourne Festival program in the fields of dance, theatre and music, and carries with it a $5,000 cash prize.
Gina McColl, Arts Editor of The Age, highlighted the challenges of selecting a winner from a strong field of contenders. After a spirited and extended discussion, the judges wrote of the winning work:
“Chunky Move introduces its new artistic director Anouk van Dijk in An Act of Now. And what an introduction it is, featuring an unusual setting, a confined workspace that makes even the most benign partnering work feel exhilarating and risky, and a movement vocabulary that challenges the physical limits of the dancers. The house of glass and metal which confines the dancers also magnifies their emotions; exposing extremes in human joy and rage, and shining a light on an underbelly of violence articulated in crashing, whirling, diving movement sequences.
“This work demonstrates an impressive coherence across all of its different components, with Niklas Pajanti’s lighting design, Marcel Wierckx’s sound design and van Dijk’s physically demanding choreography coming together with confidence and conceptual clarity. An Act of Now does more than just herald a changing of the guard. It signals that Chunky Move will continue to push boundaries as a cutting‐edge dance company and van Dijk’s unique method of creating movement may strongly influence local dance making and training for years to come.”
Brett Sheehy, Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival, congratulated the winner: “I am thrilled that Anouk van Dijk’s stunning debut as artistic director and choreographer of Chunky Move has won the Award. I was privileged to present Anouk’s Dutch company at the 2006 Adelaide Festival with STAU, and have been a fan ever since. It is a coup for us to have her here as a permanent part of Melbourne’s artistic landscape and An Act of Now is a fitting recipient of this extremely important Award.”