Brisbane’s Metro Arts launches Dance24

Metro Arts Dance24 Matriarchs photo by Jade EllisAn electrifying celebration of dance and creativity, Dance24 is set to take centre stage over two weeks at Brisbane’s Metro Arts from 22 May – 1 June 2024.

Dance24 serves as a testament to the transformative power of dance, igniting inspiration and connection among industry professionals, dancers, and audiences of all ages.

Offering an immersive experience that goes beyond the stage, the festival program includes interactive workshops, engaging discussions, industry networking events, and a celebration of the diverse expressions that shape the evolution of dance.

Genevieve Trace, Executive Director of Metro Arts, emphasised the festivals’ goal of fostering connections within the dance community: “Dance24 reflects Metro Arts’ dedication to cultivating Queensland’s up-and-coming talent and strengthening connections in Brisbane’s vibrant arts landscape,” said Ms Trace.

“The festival provides vital avenues for artists to explore, develop professionally, network, and showcase their work. We’re thrilled to introduce this exciting new arts festival to Queensland, made possible with support from Arts Queensland.”

Dance 24‘s mainstage program includes the world premieres of two brand new Queensland contemporary works: Matriarchs and [gameboy].

Delving into the ancestral echoes of Indigenous womanhood, Matriarchs by Olivia Adams is an intimate contemporary dance work that reflects on the lived histories of past generations of First Nations women.

“Dance has been the catalyst for me to connect with my community and was the first step in a long journey of finding security in my Aboriginal identity. I want people to be able to experience the power that dance can have to connect, reconnect, and heal,” said Olivia Adams.

As an up-and-coming Indigenous artist, Adams’ has performed as part of Karul Project’s production SILENCE, produced work for BlakDance, and collaborated with Bangarra Dance and Digi Youth Arts.

[gameboy] by Amy Zhang draws inspiration from Japanese game shows, video games, and internet culture, exploring themes of competition and endurance.

“I was inspired by video game culture in creating this work – it  struck me how much we reveal about ourselves when we’re in the familiar setting of our homes, hidden behind a character avatar we’ve crafted,” said Amy Zhang.

“In this work, I delve deeper into this phenomenon, exploring the choices we make online versus those we make in real life.”

[gameboy] also features two of Australia’s most sought-after dancers, William ‘Billy’ Keohavong and Ko Yamada (Winner of Red Bull Dance Your Style, 2022).

The festival will also feature a series of workshops and panels led by industry experts. Thomas E.S. Kelly, co-founder of Karul Projects, leads a Contemporary Dance Workshop exploring movement, technique, and choreographic processes of contemporary dance and First Nations traditional dance.

Lisa Wilson (Studio1), Nerida Matthaei (Phluxus2 Dance Collective), and Wania Serce (Pink Matter) will contribute their industry experience to a panel discussion on developing dance practice into a viable business (Dance and Business in Practice); while AusDance Queensland will host a panel discussion on Building Diverse Dance Communities within the sector.

Also included in the two week program are one-off dance classes for dancers and dance enthusiasts to connect with renowned performers/teachers  including: Heels Choreography with Kim Smit (Mad Dance House), Bollywood Dance with Andrea Lam (Dance Masala), and Breakdancing Basics with Leah Clark (Elements Collective). The classes offer opportunities for dancers to expand their skills.

Special community connection events at Dance24 include a weekly Community Connect Mixer, offering artists and the dance community a chance to network and collaborate in a vibrant atmosphere; alongside an inside view of the critical process with Studio1’s Sandpit and Exchange events whereby the audience is privy to what goes on in the creative development process.

Dance24 is a joyful celebration of Queensland’s richness and diversity in dance. I warmly invite audiences of all ages to join us at Dance24, and discover cutting-edge works, exciting new talent,  and innovative ideas right here in Queensland. ” – Genevieve Trace, Executive Director, Metro Arts.

Dance24 takes place at Metro Arts, West Village, West End, Brisbane from 22 May – 1 June 2024. For more information and full program, visit: www.metro for details.

Image: Matriarchs – photo by Jade Ellis