Through the Summer Grants program, Dancehouse supports artists whose emergent ideas or existing material needs a condensed period of time to be deepened or brought to fruition. 

The four recipients of the Summer Grants 16/17 are:


Nebahat Erpolat works across genres, encompassing sound art, installation art, site-specific performance, text and dance. She is interested in how choreography can create new performance contexts, using space, body and objects to create highly experimental pieces that challenge and engage audiences to re-think critically about live performance. Drawing from performance art, architecture and visual arts, in particular sculpture and photography, Erpolat challenges traditional notions of performance. Her artistic practice is heavily invested in forming inter-cultural dialogue, exchange and generating new forms of ideas and knowledge to cultural discourse both in Australia and internationally. Erpolat has worked in collaboration with Berlin arts organisations and individuals, presenting works at HAU1 Hebbel Am Ufer, Leipzig Theater, Tanzfabrik, Uferstudios, Ada Studios, Transient Museum, Grimmuseum, Petra Rietz Salon Galerie and Performer Stammtisch. Since returning to Melbourne in 2013, she has established her own independent arts practice with a special focus on creating highly rigorous, conceptual and experimental works.  Recently, her dance work Emptying the Bucket was awarded Best Dance Award at 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival and received high acclaim from writers Andrew Fuhrmann (RealTime Arts Magazine) and Paul Ransom (Dance Informa Magazine). Currently she is working with Marrugeku, a dance theatre company based in Sydney and Northern Territory, on Burrbgaja Yalirra for Sydney Festival 2017 - working with company Artistic Directors Rachel Swain and Dalisa Pigram, alongside international guest choreographer Koen Augustijnen from Belgium.

Erpolat will use her Summer Space Grant to begin a new research project on the feminist Iranian poet Forough Farrakhzad. She is interested in exploring Forough Farrakhzad's controversial poem 'Conquest of the Garden' written in 1955, which was at the time controversial because of its transgressive female voice and its criticism of the position of women in Iranian society during that time. Using movement, text, sound, objects she will experiment with the central ideas and concepts from 'Conquest of the Garden' and attempt to subscribe these onto the moving body, space, as well as use this time to explore the perceived connections between feminism, poetry and dance.  


Jacqueline Aylward, Belle Frahn-Starkie, Jonnie Havakis, Thomas Woodman & Ruben Stoney

Artists Statement:

We are dancers/makers who are exploring the physical, performative and energetic possibilities of our shared corporeal reality. We are a network with decentralised power. We have no shared or collective vision. We have only singular visions that overlap. We value and respect each other, the earth and dance. We are developing and working with what we think is interesting now and what we think we will need for the future.

We plan to use the Summer Space Grant for the purpose of dancing and being dancers - to develop a shared practice and movement vocabulary. We will explore the site of overlap between our independent visions and attempts to push at the edges of this to operate generatively and generously. As dancers/makers we are experimenting with ways to gather momentum and generate force together - asking the questions: Who are we? How do we dance? Why do we dance? What do we want to produce? What do we actually produce? This is giving us time to sit with these questions and to investigate the potential of dancerly processes.


Gülsen Özer completed a Bachelor of Performing Arts double degree with honours, at Monash University. She has since taught in the theatre department at Monash University and has been an artist in residence at Victoria University. Özer has recently presented works at Circling the Brink curated by Vivienne Rogis, HillsceneLIVE art Festival, TarraWarra Museum of Art and has a new work in development for exhibition at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in 2017. Seminal works include I really want to be here, Malthouse Theatre (2004), Girls on Boys Dancehouse (2008), Iris, Arts House (2009), Dynamic, UK/Turkey/Australia (2013-15) and This is where it happened, The Memo, Healesville (2016). Özer seeks to explore choreography in an expanded context; creating hybrid live performance events, installations, site-specific dance, community outreach and public art works. Her body of work is analogous to a constantly shifting identity. It constantly redefines itself while searching for new presentation contexts and territories for dance. Theories of representation, and questions around power permeate her work.

For her Summer Space Grant, Özer will be working on the second development of a new dance work - In Real Life. The material Özer is investigating includes research and practices centered around ideas of ritual, initiation and relational agreements/pacts/promises. Özer will be working to recast her team of collaborating dancers and will work on developing and refining material for 'in progress' showings to be held during 2017 with aim to seeking presenting partners for public presentation in 2017/18.


Caitlin Dear is a choreographer and interdisciplinary artist based in Melbourne whose interests surround the processes through which the world is perceived. Her work incites reflection and inquiry into how these processes affect our conception and communication of truth. Through various means of participation, her live works invite audience interaction through sensory and behavioural processes. This first hand information allows the audience to better relate to the visual and performed elements. Her visual practice explores the space between abstraction and representation, resulting in ambiguous imagery that explores the distinction between noumena and phenomena. Dear has presented live works at Lucy Guerin Inc, Testing Grounds and Schoolhouse Studios, with an upcoming exhibition at Metonia. In 2016 she was selected for the First Run programme at Lucy Guerin Inc, presenting a body of live and visual work. Dear has also performed for numerous choreographers (including James O'Hara, Shian Law, Leah Landau, Hiromi Tango and Jonathan Sinatra) at venues such as Arts House, Dancehouse and the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia.

For her Summer Space Grant, Dear will complete the first development of Translations (working title), a new choreographic work investigating the affect human perception has on our direct communication. Languages (ie oral, gestural and behavioural) will be referenced and abstracted so that they carry allusive meaning. Iterations of such material will transpire across time, space and bodies. Shifting correlations will form, provoking inquiry into how interpretations are formed and how they might shift with perspectives/contexts. Dear will interrogate methods of audience immersion and participation, seeking to incite consciousness towards others' responses and understandings. This will allow for reflection upon semantic multiplicity based on perspective.