Dancehouse stands on what always was and always will be Aboriginal land. We pay our respects to the traditional owners of this land, the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation, to their Elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.

'Genetrix' (2019), Victoria Chiu. Photo by Gregory Lorenzutti for Dancehouse.
8—9 November 2019

Dancehouse, Upstairs Studio

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Genetrix is an international collaboration between Victoria Chiu (Aus/Chinese heritage), Jozsef Trefeli (Australian born/Hungarian heritage/based in Switzerland) and Rudi Van Der Merwe (South African/Dutch heritage/based in Switzerland). Three solos are presented as an anthology of personal and problematic family histories from two generations ago, where each artist is confronted by information, stories, and memory.

Chiu’s grandfather was raised as a girl to protect him from death as all his older male siblings died in infancy. Then as the patriarch of the family he gave Chiu a boy’s Chinese name. Trefeli never met his grandfather who was a farmer, fisherman and musician. In WW2 he was enlisted, and lost almost half his body weight in a POW camp. He survived and walked back to Hungary to rebuild his body, their lives and their country. Van der Merwe was close to his grandmother. As a young girl in the 30’s, she became infatuated with a visiting German submarine officer (not her later husband) who, once widowed, she began talking about in her later years. This story mirrors the greater narrative of Afrikaners fatal attraction to populism and fascism in the decades following the South African war (1899-1902).

In an immersive cinema setting, created in collaboration with video artists Hana Miller and Jacob Perkins of RDYSTDY, the shared theatre space becomes an unresolved space of homage and resistance as each artist creates their own ritual for accessing their inherited selves.

Choreography: Victoria Chiu, Jozsef Trefeli, Rudi Van Der Merwe
Performers: Victoria Chiu, Jozsef Trefeli, Rudi Van Der Merwe
Video: RDYSTDY (Hana Miller and Jacob Perkins)
Music: Roland Cox, Beatrice Graf, Cathie Travers
Lights: Kris Chainey
Costumes: Harriet Oxley
Set & Accessories: Cate Consandine


November 1—10

From the black box to the white cube, from public parks to rock concerts and cinema scapes, this selection brings to Melbourne some of the most sophisticated, thought-provoking Geneva-based makers. These breathtaking works all interrogate complex notions of identity, shared heritage, tradition and the desire to demarcate, possess, tame or exploit the environment and the self.

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Victoria Chiu trained at the VCA, Melbourne, Australia. She performed and toured extensively with European and Australian companies Cie Nomades, Cie Gilles Jobin, Micha Purucker, Jozsef Trefeli, Fiona Malone, Bernadette Walong, with Australian Dance Theatre for Superstars of Dance. She co-created and toured ‘Starstruck’ and ‘The Ballad of Herbie Cox’ through Europe, Canada, Los Angeles and Australia. Victoria was Dancehouse Housemate XI in which the work ‘Floored’ was presented in 2013. Victoria created ‘Do You Speak Chinese?’ which premiered with critical acclaim in March as part of the 2015 Malthouse season for Dance Massive and toured to Shanghai International Arts Festival RAW!Land and Bendigo 2015. Victoria choreographed  ‘Fire Monkey’ with Arts Fission, Singapore and ‘Grotto’ for AsiaTOPA. Recently she has created, ‘Viral’, for PPY Sydney Dance Company and toured ‘What Happened in Shanghai’ to Shanghai. Victoria’s practice investigates physicalising concepts in relation to histories of self, peoples and place. www.victoriachiu.org

József Trefeli is Australian of Hungarian origins, graduate of the VCA Melbourne University. Geneva, Switzerland has been József ‘s home since he joined Alias Cie in 1996. József has worked with many Swiss dance companies including Cie Greffe, Cie Skree Wolf, Cie Philippe Saire, Cie Estuaire, Cie Drift and Collectif Utilité Publique. József has worked as a choreographer for theatre and opera including the Opéra de Lausanne beside the director Omar Porras and Theatre Spirale with Patrick Mohr and Michelle Millner, as well as creating three choreographic works for Ballet Junior. József began his own work in Geneva in 2005 with an invitation from the ADC to create choreographic work. Current creations on tour are: JINX 103 and Creature created with Gábor Varga and Traces created with Mike Winter.

Rudi van der Merwe studied dance, theatre and French at the University of Stellenbosch and Modern Literature and Cinema at the University of Strasbourg. He partook in ex.e.r.ce at the CCN of Montpellier under the direction of Mathilde Monnier in 2002.
 Since 2004 he worked as a performer with Gilles Jobin, Cindy van Acker and Yan Duyvendak among others. He has collaborated with Ayelen Parolin, Victoria Chiu, Marie-Caroline Hominal and József Trefeli on various multidisciplinary projects. In 2010, Rudi created I’d like to save the world, but I’m too busy saving myself in collaboration with Susana Panadès Diaz. In 2011 he created Solstice at Festival Antigel (Geneva) and Miss En Abyme at la Bâtie – festival de Genève. He created the solo Celestial Spunk (2012), Buzz Riot (2016) and Blue Moves (2018) at the ADC in Geneva.

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