On the Couch with Joel Bray

AAR Joel Bray - photo by Pia Johnson Who is Joel Bray?
Joel Bray is approaching forty. Well, its a few years away yet, but he’s acclimatising himself to the idea. He’s a proud Wiradjuri man who looks as white as a Kelvinator, makes dance with lots of words in it, and is obsessed with staying fit… aside from the coffee, cigarettes and occasional burger. Okay, let’s say he maintains a modicum of fitness.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would grow veggies on a half acre somewhere green and lovely, and teach yoga for gay men in a yurt. Actually, that’s my retirement plan.

Who inspires you and why?
My Mum. I know its a standard showgirl pageant answer. But she’s savagely intelligent, and yet remains the most empathetic, patient, joyful person I know. Like, actually.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Hmmm. Probably what I do now, but just better. I’m always amazed by our traditional brethren in the north and desert areas of this continent. I want the rest of the country, however, to know that Blackfellas down here in the South-East still have a powerful artistic voice rooted in our ancestral culture and connection to Country. There is a renaissance happening here and it is so exciting. And when everyone gets onboard? Man, this country is gonna be next level!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I went to Estonia once and it was rad. Hardly any people, beautiful rolling green fields, and great food. I went to a luxurious spa pitching to Russian oligarchs, and admission cost me less than a coffee in Melbourne. Estonia is where it’s at, people!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The State Library. It’s got that great old world, hushed vibe and the cafe there does a killer lemongrass and ginger tea.

What are you currently reading?
Performance Studies: An Introduction by Richard Schechner. #theatregeek

What are you currently listening to?
Anything by Oceanvs Orientalis. His real name is Safak Ozkutle, and my MacBook is sick of playing his track Tarlabasi.

Happiness is?
I typed this one a few times, but couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t corny AF. So I am going to go with Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the 7-Eleven late at night, when you’re a bit drunk.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m going to stay in Australia. It’s good to be home again. And I am going to keep dancing and connecting with my mob, and together we are going to keep standing up and reminding the world that this is stolen Aboriginal land, and that our culture is alive and fierce.

Joel’s work, Dharawungara, will be presented as part of Next Move II program at the Chunky Move Studios from 9 November 2018. For more information, visit: www.chunkymove.com for details.

Image: Joel Bray – photo by Pia Johnson

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