“Now more than ever, it’s a time to engage and connect, to question everything. Most importantly, it’s time to dance”

The fifth chapter of the Dance Massive Festival explodes into Melbourne this month, presenting work that is adventurous, mythical, fun, abstract and potentially ambiguous, all at the same time.

Supported by Creative Victoria, and the Federal Ministry of Arts, the festival has welcomed over 40,000 people to 71 different contemporary Australian dance works. For 13 days, starting on Tuesday 14 March, the Arts House, the Dancehouse and the Malthouse Theatre will play host to a variety of performances. Theatre People spoke to a selection of the artists performing at the Arts House space in North Melbourne about their upcoming shows.


 VIDEO:  https://vimeo.com/179016745 )

Split- Lucy Guerin Inc

Arts House

Thu 16 – Sun 19 & Thu 23 – Sun 26 March

In Split, dancers Melanie Lane and Lilian Steiner negotiate ever-diminishing dimensions of space and time. Choreographer and Director, Lucy Guerin, says there is no story behind this work.

“The structure of the work implies a shrinking world. It creates a framework to think about the diminishing options we are leaving ourselves with” she said.

As the world contracts, clocks tick faster and bodies press closer, in this square that is our stage, our world, our life.

“This has been a chance to experiment with the elements of choreography, time, space and the movement of the human body. It was such a pleasure to be in the studio with these two dancers” said Guerin.

The show will be a physical drama, with delicate, complex and elegant choreography, and features a musical score by UK composer Scanner, lighting design by Paul Lim and costumes by Harriet Oxley.

“I would like the audience to trust their own responses to the piece. Rather than search for one literal story in the choreography I hope they accept the multiplicity of feelings, images, textures and meanings that arise as they watch it” she said.

Split is set to be a thought-provoking structural meditation, rendered in movement and delivered by a truly original dance company. Tickets and more details at: http://dancemassive.com.au/program/split/


Tiny Slopes- Nat Cursio Co.

Arts House- Meat Market

Tue 21 – Sat 25 March

 Tiny Slopes is about learning to skateboard. At 41, Nat Cursio decided she wanted to learn how to skateboard, after thinking about how people learn and change as they age, and what aspirations they actually pursue.

“Having spent so much of my physical and mental energy on dance over 20 years, I started to feel like I was in a straight jacket, kind of bound to the idea that I had to conform to a trajectory of building a choreographic folio and ‘career’. Skateboarding became this great relief from that” said Cursio.

Over the past few years, Cursio and her dancers have come together, both in public and in the cocoon of the studio to skate, dance and reflect on the experience of new learning.

“We’ve worked with ideas around remembering, embodying, sensing and knowing as bodily intelligence and as a source material for deepening our understanding of what it is to take on this challenge and share it with an audience” she said.

“The process has also involved a lot of discussion and reflection into the things we could/would do when we were children and we have incorporated many aspects of risk, fear, knowing and not knowing, to provide for our audience a hint of the psychology behind the work”.

Tiny Slopes explores vulnerability and resilience, and asks “what else can we do, what else can we be”?

“I’d like to open up conversations about the limitations we place upon ourselves, the value of risk and persistence, the importance of humility and a little celebration of what is both ordinary and extraordinary” Cursio said.

“I also think it would be pretty special if people felt like taking up skateboarding after seeing the show. Or at the very least going ahead and doing that thing they’ve always wanted to!”

Tickets and more info at: http://dancemassive.com.au/program/tiny-slopes/


VIDEO:  https://vimeo.com/100578212

 Cockfight- The Farm

Arts House- Meat Market

Fri 24 – Sun 26 March

 For Gavin Webber, co-director of The Farm, creating Cockfight has been traumatic, but mostly only for his dance partner, Joshua Thomson.

 “He’s had to deal with me getting older day by day and he still has to hoist my tired, flaccid body around a stage that I should have left long ago” said Webber with mirth.

“Josh and I have a long personal history that underpins the work. I used to be his

boss and now he runs his own company and won’t give me a job. Our rivalry runs deep and we only pretend to be close, that’s for everyone else’s benefit. The tension you see onstage is real”, he chuckles.

“We started working with the story of Icarus and Daedalus. In the classic tale Icarus’s father Daedalus is a hero, making wax wings, escaping the labyrinth, and Icarus gets over eager and flies too close to the sun.  But there’s a second part we found out about where Daedalus retired to an island to live out his days as a famous inventor. On the island he had a nephew called Perdix who was also pretty clever- he invented the saw. Daedalus wasn’t impressed with having a rival so one day,  he pushed him off a cliff. That’s Cockfight.”

“Truth is though, this show was a dream gig. We crafted the work out of improvisations that would go on for hours, taking an idea and running with it until someone forced us to stop for the lunch break” he said.

“The show is tragic, funny and surprisingly tender. Our desire is to connect to all sorts of people, not just those invested in the world of contemporary dance”.

“We are speaking of human frailty in the face of impermanence as an older man tries to hold on, in increasing desperation, to what he knows. Equally the show is about the impact his choice has on a younger man learning about his own power and what part he should inevitably play” said Webber.

Tickets and more info: http://dancemassive.com.au/program/cockfight/