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Now Pieces #4

Siobhan McKenna and Lilian Steiner

'300 micro-fictions' (2020), Amaara Raheem. Blindside. Photo: Nicholas James Archer
27 June 2021

Sylvia Staehli Theatre, Dancehouse

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Full Price: $15


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Now Pieces is a monthly platform for improvised performance that builds on the lineage of Cecil St Studio, a dance studio in Melbourne for 21 years that is now earmarked for demolition, to build apartments. Now Pieces continues a long standing disciplined exploration of embodied performance practice that leads to crafted, spontaneous and artful communication made on-the-go. This program invites a range of intergenerational practitioners who — in one way or another — prioritise movement to incorporate body, sound, vocalisation, memory, image and energy, responding to each passing moment in relation to the space where they are dancing in relation to the audience. Now Pieces 2021 curates curators as well as performers, opening up improvisation as a relevant, urgent, poetic transdisciplinary practice that reflects back patterns and possibilities for freedom, and flight.

Each month a different curator or collective is invited to host and program Now Pieces, 2021. June is curated by Siobhan McKenna and Lilian Steiner. Now Pieces (June) looks at how the framing of ‘rehearsal’ vs ‘performance’ can inform how improvisation is approached, developed, experienced and observed. Through the performers dancing in various combinations, the evening will highlight spontaneity as a way of revealing what already exists and manifesting what has been waiting to actualise.

Curators: Siobhan McKenna and Lilian Steiner
Performers: Hillary Goldsmith, Sarah Aiken, Shian Law, William McBride, Luigi Vescio, Shelley Lasica, Siobhan McKenna and Lilian Steiner
Creative Correspondent: Roslyn Helper

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Lilian Steiner is a choreographer and dancer/performer whose practice champions the deep intelligence of the body in movement and its unique ability to reveal and comment on the complexities of contemporary humanity. Her interests extend into visual arts and experimental sound practices where the body is the base for questioning and expression. Lilian’s choreographic work has been presented in Australia, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Hong Kong. She is a long-term performer-collaborator with Lucy Guerin Inc. and has worked on numerous projects with choreographers Phillip Adams, Shelley Lasica, Melanie Lane, Brooke Stamp and Rebecca Jensen amongst others. She frequently collaborates with artists working with sculpture, film and experimental sound performance. www.liliansteiner.com

Siobhan McKenna is a Narrm/Melbourne based dance artist. Siobhan graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She has since presented her award-winning choreography internationally as well as in key Australian festivals such as Dance Massive, and developed ongoing relationships with Melbourne companies such as Temperance Hall, Lucy Guerin Inc. and Dancehouse. Siobhan’s work Utterance received the ‘Best Dance Award’ and ‘Temperance Hall Award’ in the 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival and received a nomination for the ‘Shirley McKechnie Award for Choreography’ in the 2019 Green Room Awards for its presentation in Dance Massive Festival at Dancehouse. www.siobhanmckenna.dance

Sarah Aiken is a Melbourne based performer, teacher and choreographer. Sarah’s work investigates assemblage, authorship, scale and the self, looking at the roles of audience, performer, subject and object and connecting tangibly with audiences, to consider performance as a site for empathy & exchange. Sarah is co-director of Deep Soulful Sweats, working with Rebecca Jensen to create work that engages rigorously with participation, waste and a reckless formalism, recycling content to consider materiality and how we come together. www.sarahaiken.net

Hillary Goldsmith is a Narrm/ Melbourne-based dancer and maker who has worked with a range of artists across dance, visual art, music and film. Hillary has performed in the works of Jo Lloyd, Sarah Aiken, Siobhan Mckenna, Rebecca Jensen, Alice Heyward and Megan Payne, Judith Walton, and Deep Soulful Sweats. Hillary was involved in Dancehouse’s Emerging Choreographers program for 2019-2020, and is a member of the band Polito.

Shian Law, or better known as Shi Shi Law is a dance practitioner whose works ask more questions than they can chew, such as why dance? What is choreography? Shian’s practice is an extension of their temperament: intuitive, ruminative and vehement in its pursuit of truth and beauty to the point of being insufferable. Their works often engage both professional dancers and non-dancers in a risky interplay between spectatorship and institutional critique, which inevitably rub some people up the wrong way.

Luigi Vescio is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and performer creating works for theatres, galleries, digital and outdoor spaces. His work predominantly manifests as live performance, installation, moving image or participatory performance. Luigi is interested in how intuition, memory, desire and unknowing interact in improvised dance and collaborative praxis. Luigi has been supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, Dancehouse, Chunky Move, Temperance Hall, The Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Tanja Liedtke Foundation, Performance Space, PACT and EIRA (Portugal). Luigi has performed and collaborated with Phillip Adams/BalletLab, Chunky Move/Anouk van Dijk, Rebecca Jensen, Stephanie Lake, Graeme Murphy AO, Tasdance, John Romão, Rafael Alvarez, Jimmy Nuttal, James Batchelor and Body Cartography Project. Luigi completed a Master of Contemporary Art with distinction at Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. He has work in the Nillumbik Art Collection. www.luigivescio.com

Shelley Lasica has pushed the confines of dance, choreography and performance for more than 30 years. Her practice is defined by an enduring interest in the context and situations of presenting choreography. www.shelleylasica.com

Michelle Heaven loves gardening, bush walking with her family and dogs as well as bird watching. Her 30-year movement practice continues amid studying therapeutic play and mental health for children. Dancing with others enriches her life.

William McBride is a performance maker and writer working across dance, theatre, contemporary performance and live-art. He works in regular collaboration with Alice Dixon and Caroline Meaden as ‘Alice Will Caroline,’ creating and performing new dance theatre. Over six years they have made and presented six original works: Doors Shut (Temperance Hall for Melbourne Fringe, 2019); Lady Example (Substation for Next Wave 2018, and Arts House for Dance Massive 2019); Trilogy of the Desert: Mirage by William McBride (NGV for MEL+NYC Festival for FLUX-KIT-MEL 2018); Let’s Go Up Here (Arts House for the Festival of Live Art 2018); Blowin’ Up (Substation for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016); Fallen’ O’er (Abbotsford Convent for Alchemy 2016); and This is What’s Happening (Darebin Arts Speakeasy for Melbourne Fringe 2015).

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