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Now Pieces #4

Kevin Jeynes and David Prakash

David Prakash (2021). Photo by Nam Nguyen.
29 May 2022

Upstairs Studio, Dancehouse

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Now Pieces is a monthly platform for improvised performance that builds on the lineage of Cecil St Studio, a dance and performance studio located in Fitzroy for 21 years. Now Pieces was initiated at Dancehouse and programmed by dancer and improvisor Kevin Jeynes in 2019 and since 2021 has been co-curated with Amaara Raheem.

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. The priorities of Now Pieces are to expand improvisation into an increasingly interdisciplinary, intercultural, intergeneration context whilst still firmly positioning improvisation at the heart of the event.

Now Pieces curates curators as well as performers, opening up improvisation as a relevant, urgent, poetic transdisciplinary practice that reflects back existing patterns and generates new possibilities.

This Now Pieces features a vibrant, diverse group of 9 Improvisational Performers.

Curator:Kevin Jeynes and David Prakash
Janette Hoe and Sunny Kim (duet), Jennifer Ma and Jareen Wee (duet), David Prakash and Nak Assavatheptavee (duet), Kevin Jeynes, Lynne Santos and Gretel Taylor
Creative Correspondent:
Carolyn Conners

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Janette Hoe is a Melbourne-based choreographer, dancer, improviser, and designer. Born in Malaysia to Chinese-Indonesian heritage, her works are shaped by her history of migration. Her current projects reflect on the psychophysical effects of the ageing female body, exploring the liminal space of shifting identities and multiple belongings. Her works are usually presented in non-theatre spaces, often connecting to a place and invite audiences into visually evocative performance worlds where fragments of memory, lived experiences and imagination meet. Passionate about celebrating cultural diversity and shared knowledge through collaborative exchanges, Janette has created solo performances and collaborative works with artists from various artforms, across cultures throughout Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Sunny Kim is a Korean-born vocalist, improviser, composer, and educator based in Australia. Drawing from her life journey as a global nomad – Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Denver, Boston, New York and now Melbourne – Sunny’s artistic practice seeks to find meaningful connections to people, culture, and place through a dedication to self-discovery, deep listening, and collaboration. As a frequent collaborator of the Australian Art Orchestra (AAO), Sunny has been working with two Yolngu manikay songmen, Daniel and David Wilfred, since 2017 in Hand to Earth project. Sunny delivered the 2020 Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address upon invitation by the Australian Music Centre. For more info, visit www.sunnykimmusic.com.

Kevin Jeynes’ approach to improvised performance has, over the past 20 years, traversed the pleasing plains of cohesion and the slippery slopes of disintegration in movement, sound, song and text. He has performed extensively throughout Australia at venues in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and at Improxchange, Berlin. He was a member of ‘Making Space’, an improvisational research group in Brisbane, from 2003 to 2007, and co-founder of the ‘Froth’ Performance Venue in Brisbane in 2008. After moving to Melbourne in 2012 Kevin curated and regularly performed in the ongoing series ‘un-attache d’, and ‘Up the Ante’ at the Cecil Street Studio and since 2019 ‘Now Pieces’ at Dancehouse. He has appeared in the shows, Squinting, 241 Years, Hare and Dog, Straw-men, Words Flail, Tooth and Claww, Margins, Finely Tuned-Roughly Grated, Tall Storeys, Flight and Tryptych.

Jennifer Ma is a Taiwanese-Australian dancer and choreographer. Jennifer studied at Transit Dance under the mentorship of Adam Wheeler and Israel Aloni. She was a member of youth dance company – Yellow Wheel, street dance crew – Mute Crew, Dancehouse’s Emerging Choreographers Program and a recipient of the City of Melbourne Arts Residency at the Boyd Studio in 2022. Jennifer’s cross-genre dance works have been seen at Melbourne Fringe, Dancehouse and Bunjil Place, alongside multiple short dance films with her collaborators. With a keen interest for dance on film, she choreographed and performed in Accumulating which was commissioned by Bunjil Place and the project had a site-specific iteration presented by Hyphenated Biennial. Jennifer was also a mentor for street dancers of Sister Sessions and ran multiple cross-genre dance workshops in efforts to build bridges between the street and contemporary dance communities in Naarm.

Jareen Wee is a Naarm based contemporary dancer whose art draws from diverse lived experience and touches on what it means to be human and to welcome the natural rhythms of life. She is drawn to the healing powers of movement and its ability to deepen our understanding of ourselves, each other and the world around us. Her interests also lie in collaborating with musicians, filmmakers, poets, designers and other specialists to create meaningful connections and multisensorial experiences. Jareen graduated with a diploma from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2018. She has performed in the New Zealand Fringe Festival (winner of the 2019 ‘Parkin Development Award’), the Melbourne Fringe Festival (2020 ‘ShowSupport’ recipient & nominee for ‘Best Dance & Physical Theatre), Tempo Dance Festival (NZ), the World of Wearable Art (NZ) and the International Youth Dance Festival (Macau, China). Jareen has previously enjoyed working with James O’Hara, Jennifer Ma & Collaborators, Liz Lea Dance Company, House of Sand Arts and InPlay Dance Collective.

David Prakash is an Indian/Samoan artist who began his journey into the realm of street dance in 2012. During this time, he has explored multiple genres such as Popping, Hip Hop freestyle, House, and Krump. David has judged at various street dance battles in Melbourne and competed nationally/internationally. Since 2018, David has been co-facilitating ‘Jam On Toast’, a weekly dance jam for the Melbourne dance community to dance, hang out and connect with new people. David’s recent venture into the contemporary dance space has seen him in development for ‘Strange Distributions’ with Chunky Move and in multiple creative projects with Jennifer Ma & Collaborators including Home(s), Submerge at Dancehouse, Art Echoes commissioned by Bunjil Place, ACCUMULATING commissioned by Hyphenated Projects, and We Are Here.

Nak Assavatheptavee has over 10 years experience in choreography and freestyling and is director of a Melbourne based dance crew, Mute. He has trained in various foundation styles and has travelled to Singapore, Japan, Vietnam and the United States to attend dance camps, competitions and private training sessions to further refine his craft. This training along with his “uplifting, feel-good personality” has lead him to be an award winning dancer/choreographer (Pass The Buck 2016 HIT’M; Step Off 2015, 2016, 2017 Mute). Venturing into contemporary dance work lead by Jenn Ma (Jennifer Ma & Collaborators) in 2019, Nak was casted in a dance work called Home(s) which was featured in the Melbourne Fringe Festival and also in Jennifer Ma & Collaborators latest work this year called We Are Here. Nak is a strong collaborator who has enjoyed giving back to the dance community here in Melbourne, initiating events such as Operation Burncity (2013). He teaches locally and internationally offering his own Bespoke Training Program as a platform for dancers and choreographers to explore a new perspective, both physically and mentally.

Lynne Santos has continued her improvisation practice for over 30 years and has studied it in various contexts including butoh, body weather and trance. She has utilised it to generate material for set works for theatre and dance, as well as a performance mode in its own right. Improvisation has been invaluable in developing Lynne’s style of movement and is an inexhaustible resource for further discovery and evolution.

Gretel Taylor is based in the Dandenong Ranges (Corhanwarrabul), and has performed site-responsive works internationally and curates place-based experiences through her platform BodyPlaceProject. Her focus on place has illumined her practice particularly through lenses of ecology, history and decolonisation. Her recent performance Restless won best site-specific work for Immerse public art program 2021. Screendance work Co-habit, made with Laki Sideris has just been selected for the 2nd International Ecoperformance Festival (São Paulo). Curatorial projects include Dancing Place: Corhanwarrabul, Mount Dandenong, 2020-21; Poetics of Home screendance series (City of Melbourne, and Dance (Lens), Dancehouse, 2020); and Force of Nature (Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, 2018). Gretel is currently curator at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, freelance artist and occasional researcher/writer on dance, performance, art and place.

Carolyn Connors works across the fields of contemporary music, improvisation, and theatre. Carolyn composes and performs extreme, virtuosic vocal works, often with objects, in live performance contexts. The works are variously improvised, composed, amplified or acoustic. Carolyn also creates new work with other artists and companies, and her roles variously include musical director, performer, deviser, improviser, and/or composer. Appearances include Siren Song (Rising Festival); Pitcher (vocal solo, Melbourne Recital Centre); and Dispersion (online development during lockdown with the Federation Bells). https://www.carolynconnors.com/

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