On the Couch with Sue Healey

Sue Healey oncWho is Sue Healey?
Dancer, choreographer and filmmaker – I love dealing with things that move! In fact, anything that moves, is reason enough to film it, shape it, place it in the perfect space and show it to the world.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would not change anything. I love my life and its possibilities.

Who inspires you and why?
Artists and scientists –they share the same curiosity for life but in very different ways.  I live with a molecular biologist, whose take on the world is always inspiring – he sees things that others don’t and he has taught me to look deeper, see beyond the surface, as well as think in evolutionary time dimensions…remarkably freeing.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Prove that dance, and moving, is essential to life – and that the Arts are vital, in fact, CRITICAL to our species survival!  Politicians need to understand this and take note.  The lack of vision by our current political leaders seems to be at an all time low – the Arts can make a difference, even in the face of blinkered conservatism and economic rationalism.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Two islands immediately come to mind. Waiheke Island, NZ – beaches and childhood memories, and that crystal clarity of a NZ summer. Naoshima, Japan – extraordinary island of Art.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I love going to Clovelly and sitting on the cliffs – the coast is Sydney’s most stunning aspect to me.

What are you currently reading?
David Malouf: A First Place – essays on being Australian and the ideas of home. Amazing lucid reading.

What are you currently listening to?
Mike Nock  – he is a legend and a close friend – his music inspires to the max and is basically the soundtrack to my life… he is someone who continues to push boundaries in his work and seems to transcend genres. His music is simply divine.

Happiness is?
My family.

What does the future hold for you?
I am about to present a large scale show at Performance Space, Carriageworks – On View: Live Portraits.  This includes night performances as well as a day installation, and is the culmination of 3 years of intense work.  So it is a big moment.

I literally have been working at a crazy pace for the last 7 years, having made a feature-length film Virtuosi, a new doco The Golds, and many other performance and film projects.  Perhaps a moment to breathe will eventuate… ie. after my new project in Hong Kong, and a full length work for WAAPA graduating students. But probably not…and I’d be happy with that.

A multi-award-winning choreographer, educator, filmmaker and installation artist, Sue Healey is one of Australia’s foremost dance makers and widely regarded as one of the region’s finest dance-filmmakers.

Originally from New Zealand, she was a founding member of the Melbourne company Dance Works and Artistic Director of Vis-à-Vis Dance (1993-96).  Sue received the prestigious Creative Fellowship in 2013-14 from the Australia Council for Arts, and was recently made an Honorary Fellow of the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.  With her own Sue Healey Company, she has made and toured numerous dance works for theatres, galleries, specific sites and screens across Australia, the US, Europe and Asia.

Her films have screened in over 30 countries and have been broadcast by Australian and European television networks. Virtuosi (her debut feature-length documentary) has screened in New York, Montreal, Amsterdam, Prague, Portugal, London, American Dance Festival and many other international festivals in 2013-15. Virtuosi won an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film 2013 and a Silver ACS Award for cinematography (feature film).

Healey creates choreography and film for a diverse range of companies and contexts.  Recent projects include: film/visual design for White Cloud for singer Tim Finn; film for Red Shoes, Expressions Dance Company Brisbane; Second Skin, a work for 24 artists with and without disabilities; Double Entendre and Narcissus, 2 commissions from The Australia Ensemble, Sydney; Luminocity – a large scale site specific for the Faculty of the Built Environment UNSW; and The Golds – a new documentary about a company of dancers aged 55-90 years in Canberra.

Sue’s major work On View: Live Portraits is being presented by the Performance Space at Carriageworks, Sydney: 17 – 25 July 2015, in conjunction with the installation On View: Icons – Dame Lucette Aldous and Professor Shirley McKechnie. For more information, visit: www.performancespace.com.au for details.

Image: Sue Healey