New works to premiere in the Keir Choreographic Award at Dancehouse

KCA2020 Jo Lloyd - photo by Peter RosetzkyThe Keir Foundation, Dancehouse, Carriageworks and the Australia Council for the Arts have announced the new works that will premiere in the Keir Choreographic Award Semi-Finals in March 2020 at Dancehouse.

The winner of the prestigious Award will be chosen by a Jury of five internationally renowned leaders in contemporary dance and receive a cash prize of $50,000. The eight new commissions will be presented at Dancehouse, Melbourne from 3 – 7 March and four semi-finalists will be chosen by the Jury to present at Carriageworks, Sydney from 12 – 14 March. The jury will announce the recipients of the 2020 Keir Choreographic Award and the $10,000 Audience Award on 14 March.

The 2020 artist selection represents an outstanding mix of early-career to established practitioners, from states and cities across Australia, with diverse perspectives on and approaches to contemporary dance. Presenting work in March are: Alison Currie & David Cross, Angela Goh, Riana Head-Toussaint, Amrita Hepi, Jo Lloyd, Zachary Lopez, Lewis Major, The Farm.

The 2020 Keir Choreographic Award Jury tasked with the responsibility of selecting the eight new commissions and to decide the recipient of the Award are: Paola Balla (Wemba Wemba and Gunditjmara, AUS); Claudia La Rocco (USA); Mette Edvardsen (NO); Serge Laurent (FR); and Takao Kawaguchi (JP).

The 2020 Keir Choreographic Award Semi-Finals take place at Dancehouse: 3 – 7 March. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Jo Lloyd – photo by Peter Rosetzky

Dancehouse: 3 March (7.00pm); 5 March (7.00pm); and 7 March (2.00pm)

Jo Lloyd – That’s Her Name
Jo Lloyd Designer/Performer: Andrew Treloar Composer/Performer: Duane Morrison
That’s Her Name will investigate the body as an inscriptive surface augmented through movement and materials. Lloyd uses unfamiliar methodologies to uncover physical vocabularies and behaviours between the three performers to display the unresolved body in performance – serving as a dialogue and reflective encounter for those viewing and being viewed. Using fictional and actual history as stimulus, physicalities will be activated based on the real and imagined. Fictional characters will be performed as evidence of this history. Language will be used simultaneously as a system and as a proposition for the work, to compose the sound score, choreograph the costumes and direct the action. The dance is an ongoing negotiation between performers – materials towards a choreography. What will occur has the potential to be a two-hour opera in 20 minutes, the preparation for a public speech, a crime scene, or all of these.

The Farm – Hold me closer Tony Danza
The Farm (Kate Harman, Michael Smith and Gavin Webber) Performers: Kate Harman and Michael Smfith Music: Anna Whitaker Design: Vilma Mattila
Once we hear something, it can’t be unheard and once we say something it can’t be unsaid. Hold me closer Tony Danza is an investigation into how we form meaning and a provocation that perhaps our understanding of the world is intrinsically flawed. The light-hearted reference to a commonly misheard song lyric contains a deeper proposition about how we accumulate information and the damage we can do with our opinions and a lack of empathy or connectedness. The Farm questions the randomness of the things we find important, how we form meaning and the whole idea of certainty itself. They speak about the world by embodying their experience within it, where the act of performing reflects a desire to be an involved and evolved participant on our planet.

Riana Head-Toussaint – Very Excellent Disabled Dancing
Riana Head-Toussaint Performers: Georgia Cranko and Holly Craig Videographer: Lux Eterna Sound Designer/Composer: Andrew Batt-Rawden Outside Eye: Imogen Yang
In Very Excellent Disabled Dancing, three visibly disabled dancers expose the distinct, persistent differences in the way dance is consumed and understood when performed by people with disability. The work involves a synergy of movement and video. The dancers physically demonstrate the effects of the external, objectifying gaze, amplified by capturing and projecting their movement via live video feed.This is then contrasted against movement from a place of knowledge and resistance – magnified by intimate, pre-recorded footage. The dancers lay bare anatomical preoccupations, saccharine sympathy and uninformed hostility – confronting and defiantly reframing the dominant gaze to make way for genuine engagement with, understanding of, and appreciation for diversity in dance.

Angela Goh – Sky Blue Mythic
Angela Goh Composer: Corin Ileto
Curtains open. There is no dance being performed on the stage. The dance that is not being performed is a ballet, Giselle. The backdrop is medieval and the elements are supernatural. It’s Act 2, and you know that she someone died at the end of Act 1. Time is an arrow that has been shot off stage, out of frame. You go out-of-render, looking for it, but it’s nowhere to be found. Damn. But then! Duration has no direction. Good. We will orient ourselves here. Sky Blue Mythic imagines dance as a non-human entity, existing on timescales longer than our cultural narratives, in spaces beyond the locality of the body, and forms unknowable to human-centric sensing. In a quest to move away from anthropocentrism, Sky Blue Mythic allows dance to alienate itself from human expression, in turn requiring the body to become an interface rather than a vehicle. By imagining a history of dance that is not humancentric, Sky Blue Mythic encounters possible worlds beyond our own reflection. This work confronts the notion that we do not exist in a vacuum but are staring into a void.

Dancehouse: 4 March (7.00pm); 6 March (7.00pm); and 7 March (7.00pm)

Amrita Hepi – Rinse
Choreographer and Performer:
Amrita Hepi Dramaturg: Mish Grigor Costume Designer: Aleisa Jalbert Sound: Daniel Jenatsch
What is it about the beginning that remains intoxicating? The persistent lust for the initial thrill of a romance, scene, cannon, theory, relationship, meal, country – the opening lines. This work explores the romance of beginnings and what happens when the inertia takes over. Rinse questions whether being on the brink of extinction, or endings, has intensified the seduction of the past. The fraught idolisation of the singular narrative under the grip of hegemony. Through recreating an entropic origin myth on stage, Rinse travels from end to end, positioning personal narratives in relation to dance, art, feminism, cannons, the void, desires, popular culture and colonial history. An intimate solo based on a dynamic improvisational score, Rinse is a continuation of Hepi’s fascination with hybridity under empire and contemporary dance’s preoccupation with the neutral body.

Lewis Major – Lien
 Lewis Major Performers: Sarah Wilson, Sophia Van Gent, Paolo Castro, Jo Stone Composer: James Brown
With major fluctuations and disruptions presenting themselves across the world, Major observes an increased awareness of the competing identities that exist within himself as an artist and within his work. Lien is concerned with cultural, artistic and autobiographical notions of being between places and groups as well as concepts of division, hierarchy, conquest, colonization – the thraldom of man by man. Unpacking the world that our ancestors have bequeathed to us, Lien interrogates the foundations of our current zeitgeist and asks at what price we enjoy the comforts we have inherited. The work explores the degree to which we are responsible for the deeds and the choices of those from whom we descend. As we build our own stories and our own world in relation to theirs, Lien flows from private to public, intimacy to extroversion, and the individual to the collective. Choices of connection, space and community are made between the performers and the audience. Through the dual lenses of action and inaction, Major investigates the complex and unrelenting theme of man against the world and the personal versus the political.

David Cross & Alison Currie – Delimit
David Cross & Alison Currie Performer: Cazna Brass Lighting Design: Goven Ruben Costume Design & fabrication: Ellie Boekman
Delimit examines the relationship between menial, process-driven labour and dance. Playing with ideas of staging and set making, the work seeks to interrogate how the making of an art installation offers a frame in which to understand dance and its assorted modalities in different ways. The collaboration between visual artist David Cross and choreographer Alison Currie has been developed through a long-term appreciation of each other’s practice and a realisation that despite their work appearing very different, their conceptual interests are closely linked. Delimit slips between functional and abstract, exploring live action as an unstable liminal space between labour and performance.

Zachary Lopez – Peril
 Zachary Lopez Performers: Yilin Kong, Zachary Lopez Sound Design: James Brown Costume Maker: Jennifer Do
This work is an exorcism of undesired narratives imposed on the Asian body. Drawing from folklore, ritual and the concept of material culture, two bodies endure states of dissonance and turmoil, vibrating between fantasy and the fantasised. They attempt to interrogate histories, conjure spirits and escape the threat to and of their bodies, creating a hypnotising cleanse. In collaboration with Yilin Kong and sound designer James Brown, a new reality unfolds. Peril enables bodies to transcend objectification and pass into a unified identity.