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Now Pieces #6

Gretel Taylor

Naree Vachananda. Photo by Matt Crosby.
5pm, Sun 24 September 2023

Sylvia Staehli Theatre, Dancehouse

Full Price: $20
Concession: $18
Members/Locals: $15
MobTix: $15


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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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Gretel Taylor on Now Pieces #6: An experiment in proximity, vantage, atmosphere and embodiment

A performer’s positioning in relation to a space, and the configuration of the audience in relation to the performer create spatial dynamics that affect atmosphere and embodiment.

Evoking situations, power relationships and dramatic expectations that may be leaned into or unravelled, in this iteration of NOW Pieces, curator Gretel Taylor invites dancers to play upon the fundamental elements of performer, space and audience.

Each solo or duo will select a performance site or orientation within the three Dancehouse studio spaces and lead the audience into a different configuration to witness their improvisation. Performers are encouraged to experiment with extremes of proximity and vantage.

Audience members, please note that you will be moving between spaces, some of them upstairs and not always with seating.

Curator/Dancer: Gretel Taylor
Performers: Peter Fraser, Zoe Bastin, Naree Vachananda, Joshinder Chaggar, Gretel Taylor, Janette Hoe, Alec Katsourakis

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Joshinder Chaggar is a dancer, choreographer, actor, teacher, writer and film-maker. She is currently undertaking her PhD candidature at Deakin university, researching identity and interculturalism through dance. Her work centres around the themes of identity, freedom and transcendence. Her work is influenced by physical theatre, Indian folk and classical dance. Joshinder spent ten years in Karachi, Pakistan (2007-2017), working in theatre, television, live events and films. She has participated in many festivals locally and internationally such as the Edinburgh showcase 2017, Mapping Melbourne 2017, NAPA International theatre festival (Karachi), Karachi Biennale 2017, Kunstareal Fest 2017 (Munich), Emerge in Yarra (2018), India @Mindil 2019 (Darwin), Dancing Between Two Worlds (2019) and IndiaFest 2022 (Townsville). She is the recipient of a collaborative Green Room Award (2022), ‘Best Cabaret’, for the work TakeBack (Role – performer).

Zoë Bastin is an artist. Her expanded choreographic practice considers exhibition, installation, publication and performance as part of the same political project – the reorganisation of societal structures that limit bodies.

Zoë considers situations, movements and objects as connected in artistic production, her projects operate within academic, gallery, theatre and public art realms traversing artistic modes. This practice emerged during visual art studies (BFA, Hon, PhD) considering the sculptural potential of the physical body. She studied, then later taught, at Mangala Studios in Carlton, an important site in the lineage of Australian German Expressionist Dance (est.1970). In recent years her research has become increasingly interested in the complexity of practices, ideologies, and aesthetic modes of making within settler Australian legacies of dance and their intersection with visual art.

In 2021 she completed a PhD at RMIT University. Zoë has previously exhibited & performed at the Villa Lena Foundazione, Chunky Move, Bus Projects, Dancehouse, Midsumma Festival, Felt Space, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Seventh Gallery, Testing Grounds, BLINDSIDE, Bloc Projects, KINGS Artist Run, MADA Gallery at Monash University, Project Space at RMIT University & The Substation.

Naree Vachananda is a Melbourne-based dance artist and researcher. Her PhD research investigates the sense of time in the improviser’s body in the performance of solo dance improvisation. Using concepts drawn from Japanese Noh theatre, fundamental theories of time and phenomenology, she proposes a new framework termed & ’embodied temporality’, which organises improvisational material to enhance the interrelationship between improvisor and audience.

Peter Fraser performs widely in dance, physical theatre, improvisation and installations. His performance mainly focuses on body states as they are experienced internally and in relation to the environment. Peter’s work is influenced by Body weather (originated by dancer Min Tanaka) and the improvisation practice of dancer Rosalind Crisp. His work with De Quincey Co since 1992 includes extended desert inhabitations, theatre projects, and durational performance. He creates and performs solo dance works and collaborative projects with Sounds Like Movement, About Now and is co-director and performer with Environmental Performance Authority.

Janette Hoe is a Melbourne-based dance artist and designer working across embodied movement, drawing and photomontage. Her performance practice is grounded in the dance-theatre artform of Butoh, and a sensorial approach informed by Eastern and Western somatic, movement-based improvisation modalities. Shaped by personal stories of migration, her works explore the liminal space of shifting identities and multiple belongings. Usually presented site responsively in non-theatre spaces, Janette’s projects invite audiences into visually evocative performance worlds where fragments of memory, lived experiences and imagination meet. Janette is currently developing an autobiographical work which explores ageing, memories and the changing body.

Gretel Taylor performs site-responsive dance works both live and for screen, and curates place-based events through her platform BodyPlaceProject. Her focus on place has illumined her art and performance practice through lenses of ecology, history and decolonisation. Recent performances include Blayne Welsh’s new theatre work We were children based on Kinchela Boys Home, at Carriageworks 2023; and From Where I Stand with Gulsen Ozer for Climarte Gallery, 2023. Her solo performance Restless won Best Site-specific Work for Immerse public art program (2021). Dance-place-video work Co-habit in collaboration with Laki Sideris was  selected for the 2nd International Ecoperformance Festival, São Paulo, Brazil (2021). Gretel is a key artist of Environmental Performance Authority (EPA), a Melbourne-based group committed to deepening audiences’ experiences of place through participatory, ecological performance. Gretel is an occasional writer on dance, performance, art and place.

Alec Katsourakis is an emerging Greek-Australian choreographer, dancer, dance, and yoga teacher. Their choreographic practice is focused on play, games and logic. Alec seeks to bring together artists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to create vital and inclusive works through his project-based dance collective InPlay Projects. Alec has worked with prominent Australian and New Zealand dance choreographers including Stephanie Lake and Sean Macdonald. They have performed in works by Raewyn Hill, Huang Yi and Sam Coren during his time as a contemporary dance major at the New Zealand School of Dance. Alec has been obsessed with filmmaking since the age of 12 and often makes dance films as passion projects. Their film works have been featured in Dance(lens) at Dancehouse, The Festival For Work In Development in Wellington NZ and Testing Grounds.

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