Q&A/The Festival Sessions/Dance/Theatre

Teenage obsessions

28 January 2020

100 Years Of The History Of Dance As Told By One Man In 60 Minutes With An Energetic Group Finale is a show for anyone who remembers what it was like to be an obsessed teen.

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Given the title of the work, it’s not surprising to learn that it’s creator, Joseph Simons, has a long-term love of dance. Ahead of 100 Years Of The History of Dance‘s Fringe World season, Seesaw found out more.

Seesaw: Joseph, tell us a bit about your career path to date.
Joseph Simons:
I was a dancer first. I started dancing at age six and really loved it. As soon as I left school I moved from my home town Dubbo to Perth, to study at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and was very fortunate to start performing with West Australian Ballet while I was there. I then went on to work with several major dance companies around Australia, and then stepped into acting.

Joseph Simons

S: And can you describe your artistic practice?
Nowadays I mostly direct and choreograph theatre… and teach.

S: Talk us through your 2020 Fringe World show, 100 Years Of The History Of Dance As Told By One Man In 60 Minutes With An Energetic Group Finale.
100 Years Of The History Of Dance… is a one-man play about a young high school student named Jacob. He’s giving an oral presentation on the most influential choreographers of the last century. He not only talks about them, but demonstrates their signature style at the same time! Full of fascinating facts, naughty stories and dance moves to die for, it’s hilarious and really really fun. You don’t have to know anything about dance to enjoy it, in fact, you don’t even have to like dance. This one goes out to anyone who was obsessed with something when they were a teenager.

S: What differentiates 100 Years Of The History of Dance As Told By One Man In 60 Minutes With An Energetic Group Finale from the 700 or so other Fringe World shows on offer?
I think we’d win the award for longest title, no? Probably.

S: Who will 100 Years Of The History of Dance… appeal to?
This one is perfect for people who always thought Paula Abdul was a hot dancer, or who want to know more about what Gene Kelly was really like behind the camera. Perfect for a date night, and even better with a bunch of friends who like to laugh, and then suddenly get inspired unexpectedly.

S: Tell us about the making of the work…
This show started in New York City 2017 where (director) Emma Canalese and I started creating a character who treated world famous choreographers like his imaginary friends. From there, the script was developed further in London, and then in Brisbane. The character of Jacob has grown into an over-enthusiastic, eternally confident, sassy young man who is very charming. He’s a delight to play.

S: What is your favourite part of the playground?
Look, I don’t think I can go past anything that lets you climb and choose your own adventure. Any sort of climbing shape makes my imagination spark.

100 Years Of The History of Dance As Told By One Man In 60 Minutes With An Energetic Group Finale plays Home Economics at Girls School, 3-16 February.

Pictured top and above: Joseph Simons as Jacob.

“The Fringe Sessions” is an annual series of Q&A interviews with artists who will be appearing at Fringe World. Stay tuned for more!

Seesaw offers Q&As as part of its suite of advertising and sponsored content options. For more information head to www.seesawmag.com.au/contact/advertise

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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