4 dancers in formation
Calendar, Dance, May 19, Performing arts

Dance: The Body Politic

22 – 25 May @ Geoffs Gibbs Theatre, WAAPA, Mount Lawley ·
Presented by LINK Dance Company ·

“Collectively we are powerful,” says Michael Whaites, Artistic Director of LINK, WAAPA’s graduate dance company. “That’s the theme for The Body Politic, which showcases our talented dancers in imaginative contemporary dance pieces from a trio of exceptional choreographers.”

The Body Politic is an exciting triple bill of new dance works choreographed on the LINK Dance Company by visiting Israeli choreographer Niv Marinberg, Co3 founding Artistic Director Raewyn Hill, and WAAPA graduate Scott Elstermann, the first Australian to win a prestigious Pina Bausch Fellowship.

The Body Politic will be performed in WAAPA’s Geoff Gibbs Theatre from 22-24 May at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday 25 May at 2.00pm.

Tickets $28 / $23 Concession and Friends
Bookings: Tel: (08) 9370 6895 or online at: www.waapa.ecu.edu.au/boxoffice

More info:
www.waapa.ecu.edu.au/research-and-creative-activity/performance-groups/link-dance-company

Pictured: The Body Politic, credit Christophe Canato

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Man posing at end of white page
Calendar, Dance, May 19, Performing arts

Dance: The Line

15 – 19 May @ Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre ·
Presented by Raewyn Hill & Mark Howett ·

Co3 Australia presents The Line, a world premiering creation by Raewyn Hill in collaboration with Mark Howett. This powerful dance-theatre work draws on the boundary line that demarcated a prohibited area in central Perth for Aboriginal people between 1927 and 1954. Co3’s cast are joined on stage with live accompaniment by Co3 Associate Artist and award-winning musician Eden Mulholland and internationally renowned classical accordionist, James Crabb.

More info
W: www.co3.org.au
E:  info@co3.org.au

Pictured: Stefan Gosatti Dancer: Ian Wilkes

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Ballet at the Quarry
Calendar, Dance, Performing arts, Perth Festival

Dance: Ballet at The Quarry

8 Feb – 2 Mar @ Quarry Amphitheatre ·
Presented by West Australian Ballet ·

Dance with a difference is heading to the Quarry Amphitheatre as West Australian Ballet presents three exciting new works under the summer night sky.

Acclaimed choreographer Garry Stewart joins forces with WAB and one of Australia’s newest contemporary dance companies Co3 Australia to explore themes of death and transformation set against brooding backdrops of nature – a bewitching forest, a foreboding lake, an ominous moon. A visually dazzling work embodying ritualistic and other-worldly tones Reincarnation evokes an alternate universe where metamorphosing bodies pass through a cathartic journey of resurrection and renewal.

Experience In-Synch, an improvised dance work accompanied by world- renowned vocalist, beat-boxer and looper MB14. Aurélien Scannella and Sandy Delasalle, alongside Sydney Dance Company and former WAB dancer David Mack, create a frame of movement for the dancers who each night improvise in response to MB14’s pulsing live melodies.

Being constantly under surveillance … What kind of emotions does this stir in a person? In X-It dancers move between the stage and synchronised worlds borne from video projections. The choreography is built on the foundations of the study of emotions and shifting power balances within human relationships.

Order your picnic hamper and settle in for a night of dance and dining under the stars.

Presented by the West Australian Ballet in association with Perth Festival and supporting partners Bankwest & EY

More info:
www.perthfestival.com.au/event/ballet-quarry

Pictured: Ballet at The Quarry, credit: Liz Looker

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MoveMe Festival
Calendar, Dance, Performing arts, September 18

Dance: MoveMe Festival 2018

11 – 22 September @ State Theatre Centre and Surrounds ·
Presented by Ausdance WA ·

MoveMe Festival 2018 will make a huge splash across the State Theatre Centre of WA and nearby between 11 and 22 September, showcasing new contemporary dance work from the state’s leading independent choreographers, dancers and more. MoveMe Festival 2018 offers dance that is everything from captivating and thoughtful to unashamedly hilarious and exhilarating.

You are invited to take full advantage of new and innovative contemporary dance through MoveMe Festival 2018. We’ve created MoveThree, a 10% discount offer when you purchase tickets to three festival shows – Co3 Australia’s WA Dance Makers Project, Kynan Hughes’ Love/Less with STRUT Dance’s NEXT, and The Farm’s Cockfight.

Take advantage of discount offers to other festival programs, Dust on the Shortbread and WAB’s Dracula.

SeeMe is a program of free events across the festival including site-specific works and showings of Sunset (STRUT Dance) and Amity (Talitha Maslin and Dane Yates).

DUST ON THE SHORTBREAD
Anything is Valid Dance Theatre
Secret location at a suburban house in North Perth
6:30 p.m. 11 – 15 & 18 – 22 September
Tickets $30 – 35*

WA DANCE MAKERS PROJECT 2018
Co3 Australia
Studio Underground
7:30 p.m. 12 – 15 September
12:00 p.m. 14 September
5:00 p.m. 16 September
Tickets $35*

LOVE/LESS
New trio by Kynan Hughes
Studio Underground
6:00 p.m. 19 – 22 September
Tickets $30 – $35*

NEXT
STRUT Dance
Presented with Love/Less at Studio Underground

COCKFIGHT
The Farm
Heath Ledger Theatre
8:00 p.m. 19 – 22 September
Tickets $35*

More info
W: moveme.org.au
E:  dance@moveme.org.au

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WA Dance Makers Project
Calendar, Dance, Performing arts, September 18

Dance: WA Dance Makers Project

12-16 September @ Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA ·
Presented by Co3 Australia ·

12 – 15 September, 730pm
14 September, 12pm
16 September, 5pm

Celebrating a powerhouse of female contemporary dance makers, Co3 Australia proudly present WA Dance Makers Project, a double-bill of new and exhilarating dance theatre works, featuring choreography by Australian dance legend, Chrissie Parrott, and the dynamic trio of Unkempt Dance (Amy Wiseman, Carly Armstrong, and Jessica Lewis).

Supporting the next generation of WA talent, ECU’s LINK Dance Company showcase a new work by Richard Cilli as curtain-raiser to WA Dance Makers Project.

More info
W: co3.org.au
E: info@co3.org.au

Image: Emma Fishwick

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William Rees as Frank with Co3 Australia dancer Andrew Searle
Children, Dance, News, Performing arts, Reviews

A winning reinvention

Review: Frank Enstein, The Farm with Co3 Australia ·
State Theatre Centre of WA, 12 February ·
Review by Nina Levy ·

When I first heard that Co3 Australia was remounting Frank Enstein, I was sceptical. A retelling of Mary Shelley’s gothic classic by Gold Coast-based duo The Farm, the work made its premiere in WA just a year ago and it felt too soon to watch it again.

My fears, however, were unfounded. Watching Frank Enstein “2.0” (to borrow Co3 executive director Richard Longbottom’s nickname for the show) it was apparent that this is, indeed, a new version of the work rather than a simple reproduction.

The bones of the story are the same as last time. Frank’s a lonely inventor with a physical impairment who creates monsters in an effort to find friends. It’s a tale about acceptance, of both others and ourselves. Frank’s workshop, with its electric generator, crate of mannequin parts, fluorescent signs and AstroTurf surrounds, is also familiar.

So far, so recognisable, but there’s one key difference this year. Two of the five characters, Frank and his romantic interest Liz, are played by teenagers rather than adults. While the recast was made for practical rather than creative reasons (lack of availability of the original Frank, Daniel Monks), the decision to replace them with young performers has worked a charm.

As in the first rendition, both Frank and Liz are a sweet mix of awkwardness, enthusiasm and eccentricity. Casting them as teenagers gives a context for their idiosyncrasies that makes them more relatable.

William Rees as Frank with Co3 Australia guest artist Luci Young
William Rees as Frank with Co3 Australia guest artist Luci Young. Photo: Stefan Gosatti.

Guest artists William Rees (Frank), 16, and Luci Young (Liz), 15,  have put their own spin on their respective characters. Both gave highly engaging performances on opening night, at once comical and sensitive.

As Frank, Rees had the audience giggling as he ricocheted between triumph and terror, interacting with his newly enlivened creatures. Like Monks, Rees has a physical disability, in his case restricting the use of his left arm. As in the first version of Frank Enstein, the difference between Frank’s arms is acknowledged in a moment that is deft and poignant, without being overly sentimental.

Young’s Liz was full of delightful bravura, whether tossing her head wildly to the instructions of an “advanced at-home dance class” issuing from her old-school ghetto blaster or losing herself in a spine rippling solo, performed with an exuberance and abandonment beyond her years.

As well as cast changes, there have been adjustments to both the narrative and choreography, making this version of Frank Enstein that little bit darker and kookier. The “vacuum cleaner scene” was, if anything, even funnier on second viewing, as various body parts fell victim to the power of suction. I don’t seem to recall a disco scene in last year’s version, but it shone golden this time.

Once again, guest artist Andrew Searle and Co3 Australia’s Zachary Lopez and Talitha Maslin were sensational as the three monsters. Wonderfully funny in their interactions with one another and with Rees and Young, it was in their solos that we saw their incredible physicality as movers. Searle moved through his mass of spirals with his trademark grace. Lopez both amused and amazed as a series of crazed vibrations overtook his body. And Maslin appeared inhuman, her limbs contorting at seemingly impossible angles.

Finally, mention must be made of the sound design, with its evocative layers of melody and machinery, created by James Brown with Laurie Sinagra.

Kudos to the creators of this work, The Farm’s Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood, as well its cast – Frank Enstein 2.0 won me over.

Frank Enstein plays until 15 April and is suitable for ages 8 to adults.

Read Seesaw’s interview with Co3 Australia’s artistic director Raewyn Hill to find out more about Frank Enstein.

Pictured top: William Rees as Frank with Co3 Australia dancer Andrew Searle. Photo: Stefan Gosatti.

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Frank Enstein
Dance, Features, News, Performing arts

A tale of two companies

Raewyn Hill, artistic director of Co3,  takes Nina Levy behind the scenes of the contemporary dance company’s upcoming season of Frank Enstein, a darkly comic retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic tale, with a message for young and old.

RaewynHill by Naomi Lee
Raewyn Hill. Photo: Naomi Lee.

WA’s Co3 and Queensland’s The Farm may be dance companies based on opposite sides of Australia but their respective directors go back a long way. The common link is Townsville-based company Dancenorth (An aside: if you were lucky enough to catch Attractor at this year’s Perth Festival then you saw Dancenorth in action). Gavin Webber, now co-director of The Farm, was artistic director of Dancenorth from 1997-2005. “And I took over Dancenorth when he left,” explains Co3 director Raewyn Hill. “When I left Dancenorth, Gavin had just arrived back from Berlin, and was setting up The Farm on the Gold Coast [with co-director Grayson Millwood].” It was 2014, the same year that Co3 was established in WA.

As the two newest contemporary dance companies in Australia, it made sense to collaborate, continues Hill. “Because we’d had such a long artistic association I invited Gavin to be one of our guest choreographers for  Co3’s launch season. Then the opportunity came about for a full-length work. Gavin and Grayson had been talking to me about Frank Enstein and I decided it was a great time for it.”

Frank Enstein
‘Gavin and Grayson are constantly push the boundaries in terms of concept and in terms of content delivery’. Pictured: Co3 dancer Talitha Maslin rehearsing ‘Frank Enstein’. Photo: Stefan Gosatti.

And so, in April 2017, Frank Enstein premiered in WA. Webber and Millwood are no strangers to our state capital – they toured to Perth as Splintergroup with lawn in 2006 and roadkill in 2009, and collaborated with Ochre Contemporary Dance Company to present Good Little Soldier last year – and those who have seen the pair’s work will know it ranges from blackly comic to downright disturbing. Frank Enstein sits at the lighter end of their spectrum. As the name suggests, the work references Mary Shelley’s famed nineteenth century novel, with a lone scientist who creates a monster (or three)… but Frank Enstein is full of quirky touches. A monster pops out of a smoking wheelie bin, a vacuum hose wreaks suction-based havoc… it’s classic Webber and Millwood, lavishly kooky.

Gavin Webber. Photo: Stefan Gosatti
Gavin Webber. Photo: Stefan Gosatti
Grayson Millwood. Photo: Stefan Gosatti.
Grayson Millwood. Photo: Stefan Gosatti.

“Gavin and Grayson are… some of the bravest, most courageous artists working currently. They constantly push the boundaries in terms of concept and in terms of content delivery,” muses Hill. “They have a very distinct style of work, a very clear and established aesthetic in terms of movement language, design and working process. They come with an enormous amount of personality, an enormous amount of desire to create something original, they have this incredibly ability to tackle big subjects and balance them with humour and irony.”

Frank Enstein will have its second outing in Perth this April, but the production won’t be quite the same as last time. In the premiere season, the cast was entirely composed of adults, with Daniel Monks taking the lead role of Frank and Brianna

Kell as the young woman who discovers the inventor and his creations. This time those two characters will be played by teenagers, William Rees, a young actor based in Canberra, and Luci Young, a West Australian dancer and Co3’s Act-Belong-Commit CoYouth Ensemble member.

The recast took place because Monks was not available to do the repeat season. “That led to lots of different conversations about the work and where it could go next,” explains Hill. “We were drawn to idea of creating the characters using younger performers, to bring a new voice and perspective to the work.” For Hill, incorporating young performers was a philosophical decision too. Co3 was formed by amalgamating Buzz Dance Theatre and STEPS Youth Dance Company, two companies that focused on working with young dancers and young audiences, and Hill is conscious of upholding that heritage. “Youth and education are a big part of the company’s legacy, but I also believe that’s where our future is,” she reflects. “I hold that responsibility really strongly, to nurture the next generation of dancers. That idea of the younger dancers joining the company dancers onstage will continue as the company develops.”

Frank Enstein
‘We were drawn to idea of creating the characters using younger performers, to bring a new voice and perspective to the work.’ Pictured: William Rees rehearsing ‘Frank Enstein’. Photo: Stefan Gosatti.

As well as strengthening the link between generations of performers, the recast has seen the work develop and change, says Hill. “The way we work as a company is that the personality and character of the performers plays a big part in how the work is developed. So there are big changes to the work because of the cast changes. Luci and William bring an enormous amount to the work in terms of their life skills and where they’re at, in relation to the subjects that Frank Enstein deals with. Gavin and Grayson have drawn on that and also on their particular personalities.”

Like the works made by Co3’s predecessor companies, Frank Enstein is pitched at both children (eight and above) and adults, with its story line about Frank, a lonely guy who wants to bring his imaginary friends to life. Managing a physical impairment, Frank longs for acceptance by others… a concept that we can all relate to, says Hill, no matter what our age. “That idea of the struggle to find our place, our worth… we all experience that regardless of age, race, religion,” she reflects. “A 10 year old’s concept of fitting in and finding place and worth is actually the same as an 80 year olds, just on a different level. The work is a reminder, too, to be a little less judgmental and a little more accepting of others around us. It’s as much about acceptance of others as about self-acceptance.”

Frank Enstein plays the State Theatre Centre of WA, 11 – 15 April.

Pictured top are (L-R): Luci Young, Andrew Searle and William Rees, rehearsing the 2018 season of ‘Frank Enstein’. Photo: Stefan Gosatti.

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