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Now Pieces #2

Shaun McLeod

Shaun McLeod. Photo by Anna White.
30 April 2023

Sylvia Staehli Theatre, Dancehouse

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Now Pieces continues a long standing disciplined exploration of embodied performance practice that leads to crafted, spontaneous and artful communication made on-the-go. On the last Sunday of the month, Now Pieces offers an improvisational performance evening at Dancehouse dedicated to low-fi public performances curated by and featuring local dance luminaries.

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Shaun McLeod on Now Pieces #2:

The April Now Pieces event features six solo improvised performances by artists who have migrated to Australia.

Naarm/Melbourne has been enriched by the presence of artists originally from many different countries and cultures. April’s Now Pieces at Dancehouse features solos from artists who grew up elsewhere but who now live and dance in Melbourne. Each artist will reflect on their country of origin and make reference in their solo – subtle or overt – to their heritage and origins. The different countries of origin is mixed with the different approaches to improvisation embraced by these artists.


Shaun McLeodCollaborators/Performers:
Tony Yap (Malaysia)
Shinjita Roy (India)
Soo Yuen You (South Korea)
Jonathan Homsey (USA/Hong Kong)
Shaun McLeod (New Zealand)Creative Correspondent:
Anindita Banerjee (India) 

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Shaun McLeod is a dancer, improviser and performance maker. He is interested in the affective situation of dance improvisation and utilises Authentic Movement as the basis of his improvisation practice. The performance component of his practice-led PhD, entitled Witness (Abbotsford Convent 2014, Dancehouse, 2016) was an activation of the Mover-Witness relationship at the heart of Authentic Movement. Shaun has an ongoing collaborative relationship with the members of About Now who make site-specific works in response to place www.aboutnow.net. In 2019 he led the research and performance project Dancing Between Two Worlds which was a site-specific, multi-arts performance involving artists of Indian origin in the city of Wyndham, Australia. The project examined questions of identity and transnational mobility in the arts context of outer-suburban Melbourne. He is an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University where he lectured in dance for 25 years.

Tony Yap, born in Malaysia, was one of the principle performers with IRAA Theatre (1989-1996). He has made a commitment to the exploration and creation of an individual dance theatre language that is informed by psycho-physical research, Asian shamanistic trance dance, Butoh and psycho-vocal experimentations. Tony has received numerous nominations and awards including The Decay of the Angel which won him a Green Room Award for Male Dancer Award; and Rasa Sayang was nominated for The Australian Dance Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance. He has been a leading figure in inter-cultural discourse and received Asialink residential grants to work in Indonesia in 2005, and 2008 and a Dance fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts. Tony is the founding Creative Director of Melaka Arts and Performance Festival – MAP Fest

As a site-specific choreographer, architect and Kathak dancer from India, Shinjita Roy applies her knowledge of Indian classical dance and architecture to create performance that facilitates space-making and public engagement. Her work attempts to initiate conversations between dance and architecture, create more active and engaged public spaces, and develop a language for site-specificity in Indian arts. She has graduated as an architect from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi (2012), and completed her MA in Performance Training from University of Plymouth, U.K. (2018). At VCA, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne, she is currently pursuing artistic research through a PhD project that enquires into how site-specific performance can help reactivate a sense of ‘space’ at abandoned heritage sites.

Jonathan Homsey is a choreographer and curator working from the positionality of a Queer Person of Colour based on Wurundjeri country. Originally an award-winning dancer for crews during the naughties in Southern California, he is humbled to be a community leader in so-called Australia for the past decade galvanising people together to dance. From Footscray Community Arts Centre to Melbourne Museum, Jonathan specialises in platforming Street and Queer dance forms to cultivate empowerment for sexually and ethnically diverse young people. He is a recent Green Room award winner for I Am Maggie, a commission with Melbourne Fringe Festival and Arts Centre Melbourne.

Soo Yeun You is a choreographer and dancer who trained in Korean traditional dance in Korea. She has performed internationally at the Lincoln Centre, The American Museum of National History and Battery Park in New York and toured Canada and Spain. She immigrated to Australia on a ‘Distinguished Talent’ visa in 2002. Soo Yeun choreographed and performed Ball (Terrain Festival 2009), Guy Bang Ga Sa (2009), Stanza (2009), [Gu:t] (2012), Mae Hwa (2017) was presented in Melbourne. She also received project funding for her intercultural collaborative project Reliquary from the Australian Council for the Arts and Creative Arts Victoria with Indigenous Australian co-choreographer Gina Rings and Torres Strait Islander dancer Albert David 2007-2013. Soo Yeun completed her PhD through Victorian College of the Arts, examined the use of imagery as a source of movement within dance practice from a traditional Korean dance perspective, and extended this investigation to derive contemporaneously from Western somatic practice.

Anindita Banerjee (PhD), describes herself as a twice uprooted Indian. She is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, researcher and arts worker that lives and works on the land of the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation. Her research interest includes cultural otherness, authentic identity and the sense of home. The memories of ritualistic ceremonies and mark-makings and her reconstruction of them informs her practice. Using gestural portrayals of hybrid rituals, she wonders where her place is as an immigrant to the unceded indigenous lands of present day Australia. She has exhibited at the Victoria Parliament Melbourne, Customs House Sydney, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata, at the Palazzo Bembo Gallery in Venice in conjunction with the Venice Biennale 2019 and various other institutions and galleries. Her exhibition Ondormohol has been shown at the Art Gallery of Ballarat as part of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and is currently touring other regional centres in Victoria. She currently works as a Public Arts Officer at the City of Ballarat.

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