Deaf dancer stars in KAGE’s Out of Earshot

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Anna Seymour is a professional dancer. She’s also profoundly deaf.

She stars in Out of Earshot, the latest work from the contemporary dance company KAGE, which is all about silence, body language and the reverberations of sound.

I went along to the KAGE rehearsal room to speak to Anna, through interpreter Jinaya Myers, and to the Artistic Director of KAGE, Kate Denborough.

You can hear the interview, that I produced for Books and Arts on ABC RN, here.

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Nude dance work celebrates real women

Women performing in Trilogy (Photo: Will Potts)

Women performing in Trilogy (Photo: Will Potts)

More than 100 women are dancing nude in the Australian premiere of a work called Trilogy that seeks to celebrate women of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities.

After the exuberant nude dance, the second section of Trilogy revolves around a landmark discussion in New York in 1971 in which author and commentator Norman Mailer took on a panel of passionate feminists including Germaine Greer, Diana Trilling, Jacqueline Ceballos and Jill Johnston.

But in a world that still judges women on their appearance and the shape of their bodies, why does this work centre around female nudity?

I speak to the creator of this work, Glasgow-based artist Nic Green, and participants Claire McAllister and Felicia Lannan.

I produced this story for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can listen to it here.

Chunky Move’s Miss Universal

Miss Universal

Miss Universal is the latest work from Chunky Move, Melbourne’s pre-eminent contemporary dance company.

It’s directed and choreographed by Atlanta Eke, and is part of their Next Move program for the next generation of leading dance makers.

The work had its origins in a residency at the Gertrude Street Contemporary gallery in Melbourne, where Eke was paired with visual artist, Claire Lambe.

In Miss Universal, Eke and three other female dancers with dyed platinum hair and wearing mustard wetsuits wrestle and writhe on the ground.

I spoke to Eke, alongside the Artistic Director of Chunky Move, Anouk van Dijk on Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can listen to the interview here.

Turkey’s Whirling Dervishes

 The Whirling Dervishes of Konya

The Whirling Dervishes of Konya

The Whirling Dervishes of Konya and the Sufi Music Ensemble are in Australia this week to perform tradition ‘sema’ ceremonies.

A sema is a spiritual performance, where male dancers cloaked in white rotate gracefully with their arms raised. Their performance is a form of dhikr, or remembrance of god.

The Sufi performers are from the Mevlevli order, which was founded in the Turkish city of Konya the 13th century by followers of the Islamic mystic Rumi.

In 2008, the dance of the Whirling Dervishes was declared by UNESCO as one of the masterpieces of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of of Humanity.

Ahead of their Australian tour, I spoke to third generation Sufi dancer, Mithat Ozcakil, and you can listen to the interview here.

Darwin Festival: Cry Jailolo

The dancers from North Maluku island performing Cry Jailolo

The dancers from North Maluku island performing Cry Jailolo

Jailolo Bay, in eastern Indonesia’s North Maluku islands, looks like it is straight from a tourist brochure – white sand, clear water and fantastic diving.

But climate change is altering the landscape for both locals and tourists.

Internationally renowned Indonesian dancer and choreographer Eko Supriyanto travelled to Jailolo, and spent two years researching the underwater habitat and working with disadvantaged young men.

The result is a powerful contemporary dance work that draws on the traditional regional dances and gives voice to a remote community struggling with the impact of climate change.

For ABC RN’s Books and Arts, I spoke to Eko Supriyanto and dancers Gerry Gerardo Bella and Noveldi Bontenan and you can listen to the interview here.

Celebrating Darwin’s sunset through dance

Tracks Dance's Last Light

Tracks Dance’s Last Light

For nearly 30 years Tracks Dance Company has been making distinctly Territorian work that celebrates the people, the place and the spirit of the Northern Territory.

For this year’s Darwin Festival, Tracks is tapping into a Territorian tradition of watching the heightened colours as the sun sinks over the Arafura Sea.

Last Light is the 20th consecutive work that Tracks Dance Company have made for the Darwin Festival, and some of the dancers who took part in that original production are involved in this year’s work.

We travel to Myilly Point Park in Darwin, to speak to the artistic directors of Tracks, Tim Newth and David McMicken. You can listen to the story I produced for Books and Arts here.

Tasmanian International Arts Festival: Stompin’s 6000 to 1

Stompin6000to1_image_onlyThere’s something about Tasmania and gambling.

Australia’s first casino was established in Wrest Point in Hobart, and the state is also home to the enigmatic gambler David Walsh who established MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, in Hobart.

Launceston-based dance company Stompin is using gambling as a metaphor for their latest work 6000 to 1, which opens this week as part of the Tasmanian International Arts Festival.

Artistic Director of Stompin, Emma Porteous and dancer Megan Denne discuss why they decided to tackle the themes of choice and chance, and how the personal stories of cast members are incorporated into the production.

I did this interview live on ABC RN’s Books and Arts program, and you can hear the full story here.