On the Couch with Lilian Steiner

Lilian Steiner Arts Review On the CouchWho is Lilian Steiner?
I am an independent dancer and choreographer working across independent and company environments within dance and performance, experimental sound and the visual arts. From and currently based in Melbourne, I’m a dancer with Lucy Guerin Inc. and Phillip Adams’ Balletlab, a yoga student and teacher, a lover and a dreamer.

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
I’d be an Astronaut so that I could dance in outer space (that’s a childhood dream), and in my real life I’d smile and say hi to all the homeless people I walk past, make a bigger effort to find alternatives for using anything plastic, and be more decisive.

Who inspires you and why?
A hard one to answer, there are so many. But the first that comes to mind is my long-term love, Ash Keating, who is a politically charged person in life and in his work, and at this point in time I see him using his practice to make what I think is quite a powerful political statement but with such gentleness.

Through endless hours at the studio, Ash has been working for the last few months on a series of intensely delicate yet large-scale paintings for an exhibition he will have at the Meat Market in early April. Each day that I learn more about his relationship to painting I understand more and more that ultimately he is a big softy with a lot of generosity in his heart, who just wants people’s lives to be filled with experiences of beauty so sublime that they feel joy and peacefulness.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would make compassion a key emotion in every person. It might be a cliché, but I do believe that if compassion was a given, much less negative energy would be expended.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
This reminds me that I haven’t been on enough holidays lately! In the last few years Tasmania has been a bit of a recharge destination, both for soaking up art, nature and good produce.

But if go back in time… My family and I lived in Bangkok for two years from when I was 8 years old. Having experienced this place as a local I have to say that Thailand is one of the most wholly beautiful places. It’s the complete package for me… The way the big city operates with calmness in all of its craziness, the delicious food, the lusciousness of the many forests and beaches and most of all the generosity and kindness of Thai people.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Well what is life other than a collection of good food and nature experiences? In no particular order: Wilson’s Prom. for the delicately rugged landscape, Shandong Mama for the best dumplings, Hakata Gensuke for the best ramen, Badger Weir and Fairfield Boathouse barbeques for picnics.

What are you currently reading?
Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84…  I’m halfway through the second of the three.

What are you currently listening to?
Classical music is back as a major player in my listening… mostly catching up on the ones I’ve never heard. It helps me to think, but also to stop thinking. When I feel like something else, Jill Scott Heron is a spoken word master, and when I’m not sure what I feel like I turn to the eternally incredible Sun Ra.

Happiness is?
Swimming in the cold ocean then lying in the summer sun like a lizard on a hot rock.

What does the future hold for you?
The immediate future holds lots, and I hope the future future does too.

Currently I am rehearsing Noise Quartet Meditation – a work I made in 2014 that is being shown again for this years’ Dance Massive Festival in Melbourne from 19 – 22 March at Dance House. I also start rehearsals with Lucy Guerin Inc. for the company’s work in Dance Massive – a duet for Melanie Lane and myself called Split from 16 – 19 & 23 – 26 March at Arts House. Straight after the Dance Massive madness is over I will be working with Phillip Adams’ Balletlab on a stunning new work titled EVER.

Later this year I will be starting a new project researching the body as a house of history and a tool for accessing ancient experience and knowledge… and a holiday!

The 2017 Dance Massive Festival runs 14 – 26 March at Arts House, Dancehouse and Malthouse Theatre. For more information, visit: www.dancemassive.com.au for details.

Image: Lilian Steiner