Imagine a flash-mob/outdoor dance-karaoke jam, where you get to watch uber-cool street dancers strut their stuff and you can have a boogie yourself, under the stars, to your favourite tunes.
This is “Trigger”, a free dance event that combines flash-mob performances from urban and street dance crews with interactive screen art and a chance for everyone to get up and groove.
And the music? That’s nominated by the public, via social media using the hashtag #triggersong. Taking place on Saturday 5 May, 5-9pm, “Trigger” is the grand finale of a week of free dance classes and performances presented by Ausdance WA in celebration of Australian Dance Week.
To find out more about “Trigger” and Australian Dance Week, Seesaw caught up with director of The Dance Collective (TDC), Charisse Parnell, who has not one but three crews dancing in the show. Based in Perth’s southern suburbs, TDC offers dance classes for children and adults across 15 different styles. TDC also supplies dancers and choreographers for corporate events, media launches, flashmobs, locally made movies and television commercials, and delivers workshops and choreographic projects to schools and community centres.
Having been involved in previous iterations of “Trigger”, Parnell comments that the camaraderie between the different groups makes for a fantastic vibe amongst the performers. “There will be great variety in the styles and a huge amount of positivity shared between everyone,” she remarks. “There’s also something special about performing in an open space. Passers-by who may not normally go to a dance event have an opportunity to watch and possibly be inspired.”
In particular, Parnell hopes that TDC’s all-male group, composed of 19-23 year olds, will help redress dance’s traditional gender imbalance. “The dancers have collaborated amongst themselves to put their piece together and have had lots of fun doing so,” she says. “When you watch them you will think they are the greatest bunch of friends. The truth is, they are! It’s really warming to see a group of young men come together and be able to share ideas, create and support one another.”
There are plenty of boys in TDC’s other groups, too. “We have 26 juniors performing, 13 boys and 13 girls, aged between 8 and 11 years of age,” says Parnell. “They all have a thirst for dance and have learned their piece intensively over the past five weeks with their co-choreographers Jessica Spencer and Drew Nicholas. Our older teenagers (year 11 and 12 at high school) will perform a piece choreographed by Corey Harrison.”
As aforementioned, “Trigger” is the finale of Ausdance WA’s swag of free dance events celebrating Australian Dance Week. The program opens with a gala performance in Forrest Chase on Sunday 29 April, featuring a myriad of dance styles, ranging from Bollywood to ballet. At Perth’s King St Arts Centre there are evening classes in styles such as hip-hop, Chinese dance, swing dance and salsa, and in the mornings there are a range of open contemporary dance classes.
A long-time participant in Australian Dance Week performances, Parnell speaks passionately about the significance of the annual program. “I can’t express how important dance is to me and every other person I know who takes dance,” she reflects. “It’s our regulator, it brings us joy and happiness, it brings social connectedness, we express ideas, create artwork and enjoy an amazing high when we perform. If Dance Week can expose non-dancers to the world of dancing and, somehow, they are inspired to take a class, their lives will change forever. In the best possible way.”
Pictured top: The Dance Collective performing at “Trigger” 2017.