On the Couch with Michael Ralph

Michael Ralph Arts Review On the CouchWho is Michael Ralph?
I’m a Director / Choreographer currently working on SELF – an original dance theatre production in Melbourne.

What would you do di?erently to what you do now?
I’ve always been into theatre from a very young age and have had an interest in stagecraft and the bigger picture of things being created on stage – I don’t think my life could be any different to how it has turned out!

Who inspires you and why?
Many artists inspire me for different reasons. I like to let current commercial choreographers and the great golden age choreographers influence and inspire my creative choices. I watch a lot of choreography by Galen Hooks, Laurieann Gibson, and Wade Robson, the dance they create for camera is so dynamic and unique and is often storytelling / message based. Also the great movie musical stars Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse of course because they paved the way for all things style and elegance. I also love to keep my eyes on current Broadway / West End shows to see who is creating new work and what their process / style is like. Some of my favourite theatre choreographers are Andy Blankenbuehler, Peter Darling, Matthew Bourne, Bob Fosse – mainly because their work is so unique and they really aim to tell a story in a new and interesting way.

What would you do to make a di?erence in the world?
I think it’s hugely important for me to be creating original dance works like SELF as there really isn’t a lot of original australian work being produced in this country. There also isn’t a lot of opportunities for Australian choreographers to work on musicals or dance theatre productions at a larger commercial scale as almost everything comes from overseas with overseas creatives attached. So instead of sitting and waiting for those opportunities to come, I’m better off creating my own work and therefore in the process creating opportunities for other artists, dancers, composers, designers as well. I will continue to make a difference in the world, or at least in our Australian industry by doing this.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
New York City. That city holds so much magic and to visit and be amongst that energy and soak it all up is hugely exciting and inspiring.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I always like to take people to theatre, but also the NGV or ACMI as they always have awesome exhibitions on.

What are you currently reading?
I usually only read biographies. I just finished Amy Schumer’s book which is both shockingly hilarious and insightful – just like her stand up comedy.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m enjoying the Missing Richard Simmons podcast at the moment – bizarre.

Happiness is?
Wine, salt and vinegar chips, my cat Mitzi, and Netflix!

What does the future hold for you?
One can never predict where this crazy industry is going to take you next of course – but I have two goals I’m working towards over the next few years. 1. To choreograph a classic old school big dance musical 2. To Direct and Choreograph a musical.

SELF is playing at Chapel Off Chapel in a world premiere season until 1 October 2017. For more information, visit: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au for details.

Image: Michael Ralph