13 August @ The Sewing Room ·
Presented by Tura New Music ·
Tura’s monthly night of new sounds at The Sewing Room.
This Month Featuring:
Hi. Ok, Sorry.
Movement: Jacinta Larcombe / Olivia Hendry / Lilly King / Umairah Murtaza.
Tura presents an evening of evolving club beats, off-kilter house, and elusive positions in a conversation between improvised movement and experimental electronic music. This club-night-gone-weird features live sets from local electronic musicians paired with live improvised dance from movement artists. Sounds from Lana Rothnie, Ben Aguero and Hi. Ok, Sorry. Shapes from Olivia Hendry, Lilly King, Jacinta Larcombe and Umairah Murtaza. Multivalent voicings drift up from the basement; motions becoming below; sounds and shapes in odd conversation.
Not Sold Separately, ‘ceilings’ ·
Huzzard Studios, 7 April ·
Review by Jo Pickup ·
“ceilings” is the debut production by new dance theatre collective Not Sold Separately. Spearheaded by recent WAAPA dance graduates Olivia Hendry and Briannah Davis, this duo’s venture follows in the wake of various other independent collectives recently added to Perth’s busy contemporary dance and theatre scene.
What sets these young dance makers apart from others in the pack is their resolve to self-produce and present a raw, challenging dance programme in an off-the-track theatre space, outside of Perth’s peak performance season (Perth Festival and Fringe World time). The brains and brawn required to successfully pull-off such a professional production is already a noteworthy achievement.
As a double bill of mid-length dance theatre pieces, “ceilings” appears to hinge on the experiences and politics of being a young woman in today’s world. In this way, both works seem deeply personal and signal this collective’s gutsy and honest approach to performance.
The first work, Bloom, is directed by Briannah Davis, and features four female dancer-performers Jessie Camilleri-Seeber, Jocelyn Eddie, Olivia Hendry, Georgia Smith. It opens with a scene in which a young woman (Camilleri-Seeber) lies motionless (perhaps dead?), on the floor, in silence. She is attended to by another young woman (Eddie) who kneels beside her, gently “washing” her body with a small spray bottle and cloth.
Conducted in silence, this prolonged introduction is a clever way to both focus and unnerve the audience. As we watch the repeated actions of this quiet purification process, we are compelled to closely consider this young woman’s fate. Then, as the attendant cleanser eventually breaks the silence, we listen to her deliver some beautiful prose that describes in detail the process of seeds becoming flowers, and the power and self-sufficiency of the seed itself – in its containing of everything needed for the oncoming life of the plant.
This text, for me, is the key motif of this work. As the other dancers join the stage and move through a series of choreographic and text-based scenes which frame the young women as both strong and vulnerable, it seems that this seed and flower analogy holds the key to it all.
The strongest parts of this work are those that use dance alone to explore these complex states of being and becoming, with some of the other purely text-based scenes losing the subtleties of the opening. With further development and research, these ideas of the female “becoming” could be communicated with greater clarity and resolve.
In the second piece, No Mandarin’s an Island by Olivia Hendry, there are similar strengths and weaknesses. Hendry has chosen five female dancers (Jessie Camilleri-Seeber, Jocelyn Eddie, Lilly King, Briannah Davis and Ana Music) to portray her wonderfully pink vision of women’s experiences of solidarity and separateness.
Instead of the flower, Hendry uses water as her central theme. From here, she creates analogies of “swimming without sinking”, “the struggle to come up for breath”, and “speed-swimming towards the winner’s prize”. Again, these poetic motifs are ripe for further exploration, and with more time spent in development they could be directed to more resolved ends.
Overall, this double bill revealed not only the active minds, but the deeply felt performance qualities of these young female artists. The ensemble dance sequences of both pieces were particularly enjoyable to watch, in their reflection of the artists’ imaginative choreography and their sensitive interpretations by the dancers.
For this audience member, the show marked both the beginning and the continuation of a bevy of sharp artistic intentions, and their sharing of these ideas in motion, with us, was a very generous offer.
Pictured top is Georgia Smith (front), with (L-R) Olivia Hendry, Jessie Camilleri-Seeber and Jocelyn Eddie, in ‘Bloom’. Photo: Minni Karamfiles.
Two recent graduates of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts’ dance program, Briannah Davis and Olivia Hendry, are the artists behind new dance theatre collective Not Sold Separately. Amy Wiseman chatted to the pair about their upcoming debut season “ceilings.”, and how they have navigated the transition from training to profession.
Amy Wiseman: Tell me about “ceilings.” and the two works you are presenting within this program. Not Sold Separately: “Drug Aware presents: ceilings.” is a double bill encompassing two new dance works: Bloom, choreographed by Briannah Davis, and No Mandarin’s An Island, choreographed by Olivia Hendry.
We have joined forces as Not Sold Separately because we are interested in similar subject matter – expressing the female experience. We feel it is important, both for our own artistic careers and for those of our peers, to provide a platform for young female voices to tell their stories through multidisciplinary performance. Both works feature all-female casts of recent WAAPA graduates, along with collaborating composer Annika Moses.
Bloom (Davis) explores how we support those we are close to in times of need; falling apart and building each other back up again, influencing our personal growth.
No Mandarin’s An Island (Hendry) focuses on the “islands” or states of existence we inhabit, based on life’s experiences. Quirky, disarming and evocative, the work is jam packed with ideas exploring togetherness, isolation and how we choose to take up space.
AW: What made you decide to present your own independent season outside of the Fringe World umbrella? NSS: Fringe is such a bustling time of year in Perth. We felt this work was at risk of being lost amongst the bombardment of material that is produced at that time. We are also both involved with another performance collective called SYNDICATE, that presented during Fringe, and we felt “ceilings.” deserved our undivided attention.
We saw an opportune space in the calendar for April, when we knew our voices would be heard, as well as allowing ourselves the appropriate amount of time to really refine our ideas and present them in a sophisticated way.
AW: What are some of the challenges you’ve come across as young emerging choreographers and producers? And any wins? NSS: Our biggest challenges have arisen on the producing side of things, as opposed to choreographing. Basically, every choice we make and every obstacle that presents itself is one we have not faced before – so there is a learning opportunity around every corner. Perhaps the most startling challenge has been selling tickets and expanding our viewer demographic. We have amazing amounts of support behind us from connections made at WAAPA, but we are new to the broader independent performance community.
Our biggest win has been receiving a Drug Aware YCulture grant through Propel Youth Arts WA, which has definitely helped us to stay afloat and learn all the varying aspects of show-making as they occur.
AW: What would you say is the most difficult thing about the transition from student to professional? OH: I think what’s most difficult is coordinating schedules. Once you leave the university bubble, you realise that not everyone exists in the same time frame as you used to, so getting a cohesive cast together and finding the (often unpaid) time to work on the project is a challenge. It takes a lot of sacrifice and forward thinking. But with experience and understanding it becomes more manageable.
BD: I think often the hardest part is believing in yourself. As a student, the professional world seems daunting and out of reach. However, anything can be achievable if you give yourself the chance to actually try it. I know I still have a long way to go but choreographing and producing our own show has given us so much insight into how much work goes on behind the scenes, and I know that learning these skills straight out of university will help me continue making and dancing into the future.
AW: What advice do you have for other aspiring choreographers and/or future graduates? NSS: Just put yourself out there. There are so many artists who have come before you, who are incredibly generous with their time and want you to succeed – we have been blown away by the support we have received. You just have to be present, show your face and ask. Take risks worth taking, take matters into your own hands, and know that right now is your time to learn and grow – so use it wisely.
4 – 6 April @ Studio C5, Huzzard Studios ·
Presented by Not Sold Separately ·
ceilings. is a double bill program, consisting of ‘Bloom’ and ‘No Mandarin’s An Island’ – two new dance works by Briannah Davis and Olivia Hendry of Not Sold Separately. This production explores relevant and universal concepts through hilariously poignant dance theatre that is bursting with power, vulnerability and feminine energy. Set to original sound by Annika Moses, prepare to be moved.
Proudly sponsored by Healthway, promoting the Drug Aware message and Propel Youth Arts WA.