On the Couch with Victoria Hunt

Victoria Hunt Arts Review On the CouchWho is Victoria Hunt?
I am a dancer and choreographer with a background in image making. I am dedicated to directing interdisciplinary/intercultural performance works, informed by years of observing intricate hybrid creative processes situated between studios, ritual spaces, theatres, galleries and environments. I have a 4-year-old daughter, Waiaria. Her name means many things, water, spirit, breath, song and the manifestation of something light.

I have studied Body Weather with Tess De Quincey since 1999. Body Weather was developed by Min Tanaka and his Mai Juku performance company in Japan to explore the origins of dance, and has since grown into a research platform around the world. In my practice, I have combined Maori cosmology with the Body Weather practice and philosophy to form the basis of my work.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d be living beside the ocean, waking up with birds and plunging into water as my morning prayer. I would also stop drinking coffee after 2.00pm and give up my addiction to induced insomnia.

Who inspires you and why?
My mother and father, aunties and uncles, cousins and ancestors reaching back through to immeasurable time, since I am carried by and the carrier of these relationships and encoded knowledges. I am because of them in a space that is always relational. Thinking about space, and time in this way inspires me.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Making a difference is about collective action against the crisis facing our global community. As a Maori woman I am learning culturally specific ways to protect and honor life, death and renewal cycles – connecting us humans to our earth, water, air, atmosphere and other-than-human living systems. It’s profoundly disturbing to forget that I/we are interdependent on our planet for survival and non-survival. Phase out the bees and we’re phased out too. Climate change is here and getting worse because of our inability to take action at this crucial moment in history. Being inspired by other human beings who have dedicated their lives to being creative and striving for a more humane world helps fuel my practice.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Home, whatever that means… it could be a place, having solitary time or catching up with friends. For me, a holiday is somewhere I can be to release tension from compressed surroundings and restore balance.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I treasure the ocean in Sydney. I would take them snorkeling at Gordons Bay, walk the coastline and go for a sauna at Bondi Icebergs. Grab some food for a picnic and relax (especially if the friends had traveled far). Best arrival remedy.

What are you currently reading?
Too many books on the go… I’ve just started Staying With The Trouble, Making Kin in the Chthulucene by Donna Haraway and Tupuna Awa, People and Politics of the Waikato River by Marama Muru-Lanning.

What are you currently listening to?
Nick Cave, Skeleton Tree – it’s devastating.

Happiness is?
Having breakfast with my daughter and hearing her explain why she can still see dreams in my eyes. Being with her as she grows and makes sense of things around her. I also love collaborating with amazingly gifted friends and challenging each other to be more abstract, less rational and non-obedient.

What does the future hold for you?
‘Hope’ or as author and activist Rebecca Solnit has aptly title ‘Hope In The Dark’.

Victoria presents Tangi Wai… the cry of water – a richly detailed, large-scale work exploring mythology, cosmology and traditional wisdom at the Meat Market: 14 – 18 March, as part of the 2017 Dance Massive Festival. For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.

Image: Victoria Hunt (supplied)