Welcome to Dancehouse,
Dancehouse is the centre for independent dance in Melbourne. Through its programs of residencies, performance, training and research, Dancehouse is a space for developing challenging, invigorating, and socially engaged moving art. Dancehouse is a genuine tool for the dance-maker, a catalyst for developing new audiences and a facilitator of meaningful alliances and mobility schemes, in Australia and internationally.
We first met Sarah Aiken when she started to work at Dancehouse as one of the commissioned artists (and later finalists) of the Keir Choreographic Award. She has been in the 'House for 6 months now. She has rehearsed in all our spaces, she has worked with all of us on production, admin, marketing, grant writing, touring planning, and other dreaming big or day dreaming matters. We had meals and drinks together, we met her creative friends, she has met ours. At Dancehouse, she is at home. We call her our Housemate. This is what is commonly known as an artist in residence.
Artists residences exist since the Antiquity and they have taken many forms and shapes since but, yet, the principle has never changed- time for the artists to reflect and research in a space and context different to the usual one, a door open to meet a different community of thinkers and makers, a door open to the surrounding community to live and think more creatively. It is about experience and immersion. It is about being given space, time and support to experiment, to take risks, to share, to connect. This is what makes great art, inspiring artists and sophisticated audiences.
In many parts of the world, artist residence programs are an integral part of national arts policies and valued as relatively affordable mechanisms for building cultural capital, invigorating dull cities, boosting city marketing, investing in long term community well being. Spaces shape the outer architectures that we inhabit. Artists residing in those spaces shape the inner ones. If this principle of making art is unsettled, there are unsettling times ahead.
Sarah Aiken's SET opens soon. It is a set made of objects playfully reminding us that mundane objects can make our ordinary lives extra-ordinary.