Those who were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at Bernadette Lewis’s “The Honeymoon Suite” in STRUT Dance’s “Short Cuts” program last year will know that the work is imbued with both sensuality and satire. Seesaw found out a little more about the dynamic emerging choreographer behind “The Honeymoon Suite”, ahead of its Fringe World season.
Seesaw: Tell us about your training… formal training, on-the-job, or a bit of both?
Bernadette Lewis: I began my training as an elite level gymnast at age seven, retiring from my Olympic pursuit at the ripe old age of 12 when I started my formal classical, jazz and contemporary dance training. I completed my BA in dance at WAAPA in 2005 and then temporarily retired again before returning for my honours year with LINK Dance Company in 2011. I’ve been learning on the job ever since.
S: Describe your artistic practice…
BL: My artistic practice crosses performance, choreography, teaching and community engagement. My choreographic works are moving pastiches that drive toward a dialogue or confluence of high art and pop culture.
S: Career highlight so far?
BL: So hard to pick one, but definitely up there is returning to LINK as a guest artist in 2015 to perform in Didier Théron’s Shanghai Bolero at the Fremantle Arts Centre.
S: Career lowlight?
BL: The inevitable gaps in work that we independent artists face year in, year out.
S: What do you love most about what you do?
BL: Being able to share the absolute joy of dance with all walks of life from professionals, to young aspiring dancers, to kids who can’t afford dance and to seniors who always wanted to.
S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show, The Honeymoon Suite!
BL: The Honeymoon Suite is a short, contemporary dance work staged in a light, photography and found object installation. It’s a neon, time travelling dreamscape that collages together vintage women’s wrestling, 1940’s beauty queens and the best of 1980’s exercise fads with all the religious fervour of a devout, Mexican Luchadora. It’s a bit slapstick, a bit satirical and abundantly kitsch.
It’s performed by Laura Boynes and Tanya Brown, with killer photography by Emma Fishwick and will be full of colour thanks to some very sage lighting advice from Chris Donnelly.
S: You’ve performed in Fringe before but not presented your own work. What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl as a maker?
BL: I’ve been very choosy about entering the Fringe domain as a presenter and have been waiting for the right opportunity to present the right work for some time now. I was determined to be involved in a curated program so when Paper Mountain’s Peaks call out was announced I didn’t want to miss out. I’m a big fan of their volunteer/co-op model and am really interested in placing dance in non-conventional spaces. The Paper Mountain Gallery is an absolute gift for us.
S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
BL: I can’t wait to see the rest of the Peaks program and “MicroMove” at The Blue Room as part of Summer Nights, where I’ll be performing in Scott Elstermann’s Act 2, Scenes 1-4 – The Murder / The Horror / The Arrest / The Escape.
S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
BL: The swings. No doubt about it.
Pictured top is dancer Laura Boynes. Photo: Emma Fishwick.
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