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Dance Massive

'Dark Night' (2019), Jill Orr. Photo by Gregory Lorenzutti for Dancehouse

Dance Massive

Since 2009, Dance Massive existed as the simultaneous biennial programming of contemporary dance works and associated public and industry events by three Melbourne arts organisations – Arts House, Dancehouse and Malthouse Theatre in association with long-term associate partner Ausdance Victoria and in 2019 new associate partners Abbotsford Convent, Temperance Hall and THE SUBSTATION.

The sixth Dance Massive was presented in Melbourne from 12-24 March 2019.

In 2020 things are looking a little different. Dance Massive in March 2021 is no longer possible.

Arts House and Dancehouse recently held an online presentation to explain that Dance Massive as we knew it will not proceed in 2021. You can watch a recording of that session here or read the transcript here.

What we have learned over the last 12 years is that Dance Massive has created a legacy:

– There is a passionate, large audience for dance
– The ethos of Dance Massive – a partnership and affiliation of organisations – can create a great festival
– While Dance Massive proved year on year to be hugely successful, the old model is no longer sustainable

Arts House along with Dancehouse remain deeply committed to Australian dance artists, and a dance festival in Melbourne for audiences.

That said, we’ve got a lot of questions:

– What kind of festival is it?
– Who will be part of it?
– How does it work and how will it be resourced?
– What is the model that fits how the dance sector looks now?
– If Dance Massive 2009-19 built audiences for dance, what our ambition will be for the next 10 years?
– How might an artform festival begin through conversation with the dance sector?
– What is dance 10 years on from Dance Massive?
– What dance is now?

There is work to do. And things to discover.

Consultation and re-thinking is underway.

Artists, organisations, communities and Governments are undertaking research and taking pause to regroup, and discover new configurations, new potentials.

For more about Co-Design: Imagine a festival for dance in Melbourne read here.


View previous Dance Massive programs


Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2019 Presentations

“It is an absolute joy to see such diversity of artists, practice, site and form in this 6th incarnation of Dance Massive — a remarkable testament to the wealth of dance making and thinking currently in Australia. At Dancehouse, we are particularly proud to present seminal senior figures not often seen on our stages such as Russell Dumas and Hellen Sky as well as provocative site-specific experimental installations such as Jill Orr and Atlanta Eke.

All the works in the Dancehouse program invite the audience to pause, listen and attune ourselves to what is really important today – care for the environment, care for others, imagination for the future.”

– Angela Conquet, Dancehouse Artistic Director 

Post Reality Vision – Nana Biluš Abaffy
Utterance – Siobhan McKenna
A Faint Existence – Kristina Chan – presented with the Victorian College of the Arts
Concrete Impermanence – Alison Currie
The Tennis Piece – Atlanta Eke
HYPERSPACE – James Batchelor
Cultural Residues 2020 – Russell Dumas
Dark Knight – Jill Orr – presented with Abbotsford Covent
Quake – Hellen Sky, Myriam Gourfink, Mark Cauvin & Kasper Toeplitzpresented with Abbotsford Covent

Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2019 Public Program

Adherence – Sandra Parker – process sharing and critical dialogue
DIRtywork – Rosalind Crisp – lecture performance
Botchan Retreat – Running Man (Nathan Smith and Max Pollard) – dance film screening
Writing Critically on Dance – Roslyn Sulcas – workshop with guest critic
Scribe – Leisa Shelton – live writing project
We Move You – Dancehouse – sensorial workshops for everyone led by Siobhan McKenna, Russell Dumas and James Batchelor
Choreographed Readings – Dancehouse – led by Rhiannon Newton
What Now? Conversation Series – Dancehouse in partnership with the Victorian College of the Arts

Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2017 Presentations

“The 2017 Dancehouse Dance Massive program reminds us that dance is, after all, about movement. Not only its presence but also its absence. And in this scarceness of movement, there is time to attend even more sharply to every adjustment of weight, shift of the gaze or flow of breath and to feel how vividly we are occupied by animality, cultural identity, machines, rituals, history, space closing in and time passing by. And then, this is where the dance begins to produce itself, to occupy us and to ignite our inner awareness of how we can, individually and together, return to being. Dance can do this. So allow it in, massively.”

– Angela Conquet, Dancehouse Artistic Director

Bodied Assemblies – Rhiannon Newton
Small Details – Sandra Parker
Creature – József Trefeli & Gábor Varga
Jinx 103
– József Trefeli & Gábor Varga
Stellar Project – Prue Lang
Noise Quartet Meditation – Lilian Steiner 
If It’s All in My Veins – Martin Hansen

Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2017 Public Program

Building Kinetic Sculptures – Rhian Hinkley – Dancehouse workshop
Body Percussion – Jozsef Trefeli and Gabor Varga – Dancehouse workshop
Creative Differences – Claudia La Rocco – Dancehouse workshop
Writing in, on and Through Dance – Claudia La Rocco – Dancehouse workshop
Scribe – Leisa Shelton – live writing project
The Body Next Conversation Series – Dancehouse – in partnership with the Victorian College of the Arts

Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2015 Presentations

It is a pure coincidence that the choreographers presented in the Dancehouse Dance Massive program are all women. Exploring notions of impermanence, gender, identity and unity, as well as interrogations on what is choreographed and what persists of the choreographic, their pieces each generate an infinitely nuanced poetics of the moving and thinking body. No overtly feminist or gender-oriented overtones; simply distinctive flavours from genuine authors, both established and emergent; simply the body, as a living receptor, the body as mind, filtering time and space in a subtle attempt to bring meaning, imagination and some poetry into this world.

Space Project – Prue Lang
Solos for Other People – Shelley Lasica
Maximum – Natalie Abbott
Body of Work – Atlanta Eke
10,000 Small Deaths – Paula Lay
On View: Quintet – Sue Healey 

Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2015 Public Program

Ritual as Performance/Performance as Ritual – Dancehouse – conversation as part of Simone’s Boudoir at Alice’s Bookstore
What the Body Can Do – Dance and Ethics – conversation as part of Simone’s Boudoir at Travelling Samovar
Virtuosi & and the Gold – Sue Healey – film screening

Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2013 Presentations

Life Support – Ashley Dyer
The Recording – Sandra Parker
Intermission – Matthew Day
dance for the time being – southern exposure – Russell Duma
Monster Body – Atlanta Eke
Dance Screen Retrospective 1985 – 2010 – Tracie Mitchell
WeTube Live – Ben Speth – at the Great Hall/National Gallery of Victoria

Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2011 Presentations

“The second edition of Dance Massive delivered a remarkable program of cutting-edge sold-out performances (seven shows and one instillation). Dance Massive is the only contemporary dance platform existing in Australia and Dancehouse is very proud to be part of the organizing consortium, alongside Arts House and Malthouse Theatre. It brings the artists a much-needed visibility and access to audiences and presenters alike and is the best advocate for Australian dance overseas.”

– Angela Conquet, Dancehouse Artistic Director

No-one will tell us… – Rosalind Crisp
The weight of the thing left its mark – Shaun McCleod
NOWNOWNOW – Luke George
Dual Repérage in Threes – Deanne Butterworth
Thousands – Matthew Day
Becky, Jodi & John – John Jasperse
Music for Imagined Dances – Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey

Dancehouse’s Dance Massive 2009 Presentations

On March 3,  2009 Dance Massive kicks off with its premiere event.  Dance Massive is an initiative of Arts House, Malthouse Theatre and Dancehouse; in conjunction with Ausdance Victoria and with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Victoria.

A contemporary dance festival spanning 12 days across three venues, Dance Massive will showcase a mix of full length and shorter works, from some of Australia’s leading dance companies and emerging artists. The program includes: Chunky Move, Splintergroup, Helen Herbertson & Ben Cobham, Russell Dumas, Rogue and many more.

Huit à Huit – Russell Dumas
Limina – as part of Massive Double Bill One – Michaela Pegum
Melbourne Spawned a Monster – as part of Massive Double Bill One – Jo Lloyd
Vianne – Shelley Lasica
Lifesize – Luke George

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