The award-winning and internationally renowned RAW Dance Company has toured the world over, including a recent season on Broadway to sell-out crowds. The athleticism, ingenuity and charisma of the incredible RAW tap dancers deliver laughs, gasps, amazing moves and plenty of raw energy. I was lucky enough to get some one on one time with Andrew Fee, company founder. Enjoy learning more about this brilliant man, and the must see show.
You cite Hollywood musical classics as a catalyst for your love of dance. What is it about these old film and their stars, such as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, that resonated with you?
Initially at the age of six, I was always extremely energetic… jumping around copying the dancers in the videos my mum watched. Turned out they were Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.
As I grew up and started learning dance I admired their amazing agility, talent and love of entertaining. They would effortlessly leap through the air and their feet would move faster than I have seen before. They were my constant motivation to want to be just as good when I grew up.
You founded RAW Dance Company at 18 years of age. Can you elaborate on your motivation for starting your own company so young and some of the early hardships and/or triumphs you faced in those early years?
For as long as I can remember I have always been told that if I want to be successful at something to just grab a hold of it, work hard and make it happen… its with this thought that I decided to start my own company at such a young age. I was young a full energy and prepared to work.
I was working at Movieworld at the time, so for the first year and half I worked during the day at Movieworld as an entertainer and in the evenings and weekends rehearsed, choreographed and created new work as RAW.
The major difference is RAW has been an independent dance company since its inception. Making it one of only a few that has been able to create a self-sustainable arts company. This is something I am very proud of.
Since its humble beginnings, RAW Dance Company has taken the world by storm traveling to many different countries. What is it about this Australian dance company that you think resonates with international audiences?
Australians seem to be, in general, fairly popular internationally – from traveling to performing. I think that most countries and cultures are intrigued about our accents and the way we live. RAW’s performance style showcases our general relaxed nature and easy-going attitude, which we receive a lot of positive feedback from audience members. I also believe that Australian performers and actors are fairly well known to be athletic and masculine, which is certainly what we focus on with our performances here in Australia and abroad.
Where has been your favorite place to tour and why?
New York City. Playing on 42nd Street, Broadway to sell out crowds back in 2011 was definitely a highlight in my career. I could stand back and think about my journey from my first dance class at 6 years old in a small church hall in Rochedale, Brisbane to performing in the entertainment mecca of the world on 42nd Street. In any time of doubt, I think of this moment and my total perspective is instantly changed.
RAW Dance Company has enjoyed a 15-year career. What do you think is the key to longevity in the dance (and wider arts) industries?
Raw has certainly experienced our ups and downs, however the key to creating a self-sustainable arts company is too diverse your clientele. RAW has three major divisions (1) RAW Training; (2) RAW Productions and (3) RAW Corporate & Events.
Each of these divisions has a range of programs, events and/or shows that operates independently of each other with a diverse collection of clients. They support each other, but are not reliant on each other to operate. This allows the company to follow the natural ebbs and flows of the entertainment industry.
You’re premiering Bang! Crash! Tap! at Arts Centre Melbourne this September. Tell us about this show and what can audiences expect from this production?
Bang! Crash! Tap! features a crew of two tap-dancers, an amazing Beat Boxing Champion and one of Australia’s most talented drummers, Bang! Crash! Tap! is a mind-blowing dance and percussion stage spectacular.
Each member of the crew offers their talents to create a fun and energetic show that promises laughs, gasps, amazing moves and plenty of raw energy.
Bang! Crash! Tap! experiments with cresting and exploring rhythms with thongs, flippers, basketballs, loop pedals, while incorporating new drum and tap moves with new age beatboxing techniques.
How did you come to work with the phenomenal beatboxer Dr Rhythm and what does his style of “music” add to this particular performance?
We come across Dr Rhythm (aka Jonny) when he performed on Australia’s Got Talent back in 2008. We organised to meet with him to discuss a new project. Jonny brings the full range of sound to our show, from his solo show materials to our opening performance with drums and tap.
BANG, CRASH, TAP
Date and Time
11 – 13 September 2013, 7:30pm
14 September, 2.00pm, 7:30pm
Arts Centre Melbourne
Tickets from $ 25
By phone: 1300 182 183
“Untrammeled Energy" New York Times (USA)
“Disarmingly Phenomenonal” De Volkskrant (Europe)
“Caffeine Fuelled Double Espresso Tap” Courier Mail (Aus)
“Spectacularly Talented” De Telegraaf (Europe)