On the Couch with Stephanie Lake

Stephanie LakeWho is Stephanie Lake?
I’m a contemporary dance choreographer and performer based in Melbourne.   I’m currently creating a new work for the Melbourne Festival called A Small Prometheus.  Work has been taking me all over the world for the past thirteen years.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
God knows!  I’m completely unskilled in any other area.  Fortunately, I dearly love what I do.   I just want to be better at it and to do it with less panic and fear of failure.   If I could be making work year round without having to apply for grants or do any financial hustling that would be great.  If I had to do something else I would like to do humanitarian work – or work that directly benefits others in a concrete way.

Who inspires you and why?
The many dancers, choreographers and collaborators that I’ve been able to work with so far.   I’m working with my partner Robin Fox (audiovisual artist) on almost all of the projects this year and that’s been very fruitful and inspiring.  He’s a smart cookie.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’ve always thought of myself as a very, very small speck in a vast world so I don’t consider myself to have much impact.  Hopefully I’m raising kind, compassionate and smart daughters who will do good things.  If the dance works that I make are affecting in some way then all the better.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere where there’s no internet or phone reception.  We had a really nice family holiday at Wye River last summer that consisted of boogie boarding, eating, reading and gazing at the view.  We’re heading to the far north this year though for some bone deep warmth.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I’d take them to a show – there’s always something on in this city.  If there are kids involved the Collingwood Children’s Farm is a winner.

What are you currently reading?
The Guardian Weekly.   Notes from rehearsal.  Emails and texts.  I’m on a very strange and uncharacteristic break from novels.

What are you currently listening to?
The kids giggling in the bath.  Birds chirping noisily in our backyard near the Merri Creek.  My noisy head that’s obsessively thinking about my new work A Small Prometheus.

Happiness is?
Contentedness and love.  And getting the very last box of Bengal Spice tea at the supermarket – rare as hen’s teeth!

What does the future hold for you?
My latest work A Small Prometheus co-created with Robin Fox will premiere at the Melbourne Festival on October 15.  Five fantastic dancers, fire-driven sculptures and a blistering soundtrack – I’m excited.  After that a brand new work commissioned by Chunky Move called Aorta will premiere November 22 and then back to Sydney to work with Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Symphony on Elektra which will be performed at the Concert Hall at the Opera House in February 2014.  It’s been an amazing year – if things keep going this way I’ll be a very, very happy woman.

Stephanie Lake is an award-winning choreographer and dancer based in Melbourne.  After graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2000 she began dancing with acclaimed companies including Gideon Obarzanek’s Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc and BalletLab and has performed and toured extensively to festivals worldwide for the past thirteen years.

As a choreographer, her work has been commissioned by Sydney Dance Company (Dream Lucid, 2012) Chunky Move (Mix Tape – winner of Green Room Award for Best Choreography 2011), Frontier Danceland, Singapore (AxiaL, 2013), Stompin, VCA and Union House Theatre.

Stephanie has made several large-scale public dance works involving nearly one thousand participants, choreographed for music video clips including Unashamed Desire, Missy Higgins and worked in collaboration with artists Robin Fox, David Rosetzky and Natasha Pincus.

Stephanie’s most recent work DUAL premiered in Dance Massive 2013 and toured to Dublin Dance Festival in May.  It has been nominated for a Helpmann Award for Outstanding Choreography.

Stephanie was listed with Robin Fox in The Age’s Top 100 in 2012 and has been named several times in the Dance Australia Critics Survey as Choreographer to Watch and Best Female Dancer.  Stephanie is the inaugural winner of the Dame Peggy Van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship 2012 and is currently honorary Resident Director at Lucy Guerin Inc.

Stephanie’s latest work A Small Prometheus will be presented as part of the 2013 Melbourne Festival at the North Melbourne Town Hall from 15 – 20 October. For more information, visit: www.melbournefestival.com.au for details.

Image: Stephanie Lake