Eight commissioned artists announced for 2016 Keir Choreographic Award

Keir Choreographic CommissionThe Keir Foundation, Carriageworks and Dancehouse have announced the eight outstanding commissioned artists competing for the 2016 Keir Choreographic Award, the second edition of Australia’s first major choreographic award launched in 2014.

Award entry requirements called for professional artists with an established practice to enter by submitting a five-minute video with a choreographic idea of 20-minutes in duration. The eight finalists were selected by an independent national and international jury to each make a new piece of original work.  The biennial award is dedicated to the commissioning of new choreographic work and to promoting innovative, experimental and cross-art form practice in contemporary dance.

The 2016 Keir Choreographic Award jury consists of; Bojana Cvejic (Belgrade) – performance theorist and performance maker based in Brussels; Pierre Bal-Blanc – Documenta 14 curator and independent art critic based in Athens and Paris; US based choreographer Sarah Michelson; Perth International Arts Festival Artistic Director, Wendy Martin and Phillip Keir – Keir Foundation founder.

The eight commissioned artists, who hail from across Australia, include: 2014 Keir Choreographic Award finalist Sarah Aiken; James Batchelor, Canberra-born, award-winning choreographer and performer; Chloe Chignell, emerging choreographer and recent DanceWEB scholarship recipient; and Ghenoa Gela a Sydney-based choreographer and performer from Torres Strait Islands whose recent work includes MURA BUAI (Liveworks, Performance Space).

Australian choreographer and performer Martin Hansen, now based in Berlin; Alice Heyward, seen recently in Maria Hassabi’s Intermission (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art) and Xavier Le Roy’s latest work Temporary Title (Carriageworks); Rebecca Jensen, a New Zealand artist, whose work was presented in Next Wave 2014 and Dance Massive 2015 and Paea Leach who has worked as a performer and collaborator in Australia and Europe and was most recently commissioned by Chunky Move’s Next Move 2014 season.

The eight commissioned works will have a premiere season at Melbourne’s Dancehouse: 26 – 30 April 2016. Four of the works will then be selected by the jury to participate in the Sydney season presented by Carriageworks: 5 – 7 May 2016. The eight commissioned artists will compete for the accolade of the award including a cash prize of $30,000 for first prize and $10,000 for an audience choice prize that will be voted by Sydney audiences.

“The Keir Foundation is very excited to be partnering with the Australia Council, Carriageworks and Dancehouse again to bring some of the best of contemporary dance to Australian audiences. The work is always fresh and vibrant,” says Keir Choreographic Award Founder Phillip Keir.

Established by Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin as a private ancillary fund, the Keir Foundation’s purpose is to foster innovation and excellence in the arts, particularly among new and emerging practitioners. Phillip Keir worked for twenty years in media, specifically as Chief Executive, Publisher and Founder of NextMedia.

For more information, visit: www.keirfoundation.org for details.

Image: Gregory Lorenzutti