ACM ColossusIt may have taken 20 years for one of Australia’s leading choreographers Stephanie Lake to bring her work Colossus to life, but as the recipient of the Melbourne Fringe Take Over! opportunity, art makers and lovers can see the world premiere in the Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne this September.

Commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne, the new immersive dance work is compelling and visionary, comprising of a combined 50 dance students and emerging dance artists. To create a work of this scale has been a long-held ambition for Lake but a monumental achievement.

“It is a huge logistical undertaking to coordinate a cast of this size,” said Lake. “I needed the backing of a big institution like Arts Centre Melbourne to make it happen. It’s through their support along with the Victorian College of the Arts and Transit Dance that we’re able to make the show a reality.”

Lake is known for her robust yet intricate works, but what continually allows her to connect with audiences are the key messages she weaves throughout her pieces. Colossus is no different where Lake taps into the human desire to, on one hand, be part of the mass and to share in a communal experience, and on the other hand to assert individuality.

Colossus looks at how we create and follow icons and the subsequent rejection of those leaders – whether they be ideological, political or even celebrity,” said Lake. “We tend to want something to believe in and would prefer to follow than to exert individual agency. Giving over to outside influence can absolve us from responsibility and that can be of comfort. I want to look at the beauty and ugliness of that tendency.”

The mass of dancing bodies will move in complex unison and wild individuality. They will jostle and coexist in perfect imperfection, illustrating the push and pull of humanity and the exquisite patterning found in the natural world. The 50 dancers will shift in and out of allegiances, couplings, micro-societies and also isolation using a dance language that is ballistic, original and intimate.

“I love working with large casts. The choreographic potential is dizzying. I love patterning and rhythmic interplay and the sheer energy from having a mass of bodies on stage,” says Lake. “It’s great to work with a diversity of students and emerging dancers as well; they bring their idiosyncrasies and different training backgrounds into the process, and I’m really excited by the ways they will influence and inspire each other.”

The Take Over! project is a unique partnership between Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Fringe that enables an independent artist, company or collective to develop a creative idea ready for presentation in the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Stephanie Lake is a multi award-winning Australian choreographer, dancer and director of the Stephanie Lake Company founded in 2014. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and went on to dance for leading Australian dance companies Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc and BalletLab, touring and performing for nearly 20 years.

Lake has received the Helpmann Award (2014), Green Room Award (2011) and Australian Dance Award (2014) for Best Choreography and in 2013 was appointed inaugural Resident Director of Lucy Guerin Inc. Her works tour internationally and she collaborates across theatre, film, TV and visual art. Stephanie received a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in 2013 and is currently the Australia Council Fellow for Dance.

“Lake has danced with and choreographed for the crème de la crème of Australian contemporary dance.” – Herald Sun

Choreographer: Stephanie Lake Composer: Robin Fox Lighting Designer: Bosco Shaw Costume Designer: Harriet Oxley Production Manager: Emily O’Brien Producer: Michaela Coventry Assistant Producer: Zela Papageorgiou

Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 27 – 30 September 2018
Information and Bookings:

Image: Arts Centre Melbourne in association with Melbourne Fringe presents Colossus by Stephanie Lake Company (supplied)