The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend – Henri Bergson
Arts House presents the world premiere of Expectation, a new work from acclaimed Melbourne dancer and choreographer Carlee Mellow that challenges the way in which we see, sense and organise information.
Expectation blurs the line between what is real and what is imagined, creating an altered space where physical and mental logic shift. Together with award-winning composer Kelly Ryall and designer Ben Cobham, Mellow has created a format that adapts and moves in real time, making each performance unique and different from the last.
A series of microphones will transform the stage into a live performance space. Each sound they capture – breaths, footfalls, voices – will transmit to a feedback loop that builds the score in real time. Absurd, fragmented and nonsensical information will test the audience’s perceptual boundaries in an attempt to awaken a different sphere of consciousness where normal logic no longer applies.
"I don’t pretend to offer you something you haven’t seen before, but my intention is to propose a new way of looking at things. The experiment is to find ways of confusing the viewer’s senses to seduce them into an altered sense of reality," says Mellow.
Mellow graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1995. Over the last 14 years she has worked extensively in both film and live performance as a dancer, actor and collaborator. She has performed with some of Australia’s leading companies including BalletLab, Chunky Move and Dance Works and numerous independent choreographers both nationally and internationally.
Mellows long involvement with BalletLab began in the Red Rooster drive thru on Warrigal Rd. "I guess my memory of the exact location demonstrates how excited I was to be invited to work with company. The first time I was in a studio with Phil (Phillip Adams, founder and artistic director of balletLab), he had us dancing (and partnering) in sleeping bags in the middle of summer. That was 5 years ago…"
And when discussing her most memorable BalletLab experience so far she says:"It is impossible to pick one. Our tour to Transylvania, Romania and Bulgaria was full of many odd and crazy incidents. The first time the second cast of Amplification performed at the Arts Market was amazing which was then followed by a sold out season in New York – that was very special. But you know… just being in a studio with Phil and the amazing dancers he works with is a gift. I really love being privy to the way Phil’s imagination manifests into his work and the unspoken agreement of generosity and trust between him and us – the performers."
Mellows stresses listening to your body and being aware of your body as a three dimensional shape. "Contemporary dance is not as strict as some other disciplines. But it does integrate many other disciplines, including ballet, jazz and hip hop. Contemporary dance lets you bring all of these things together into one style. In contemporary dance you can do anything you want. You can interpret other people’s movements or even stationary objects, inside, outside or anywhere. There’s no right or wrong."
Mellows work has been presented in Melbourne and Berlin. Alongside her own practice she choreographs for theatre and opera including Malthouse Theatre, Arena Theatre Company, 9minds Theatre Company and Oz Opera.
Expectation comes to the Arts House early November.