SERMON explores the choreographic codes of religion. Using Catholicism as its frame of reference, the work unlocks the performativity of divine ceremonies and the opportunities they present for physical expressions of the self.
For the baptised, the jurisdiction of the Church is far reaching; an authority that goes beyond the doctrinal to encompass the whole of the human condition. Through liturgical rites, we arrange our bodies in perpetual service to the ghostly and the mythic. ‘SERMON’ rewrites these ancient choreographies. Sacred rituals are isolated and fractured; repurposed for a new kind of communion. As movement becomes scripture and tradition collapses, a new altar rises on which we may dance.
Choreographer: Rhys Ryan
Performers: Jazmyn Carter, Anika De Ruyter and Momoko Nanri
Sound Design: Robert Downie
Costume Design: Jessamine Moffett
Lighting Design: John Collopy
Rhys Ryan is a dance artist working across performance, choreography and critical writing. He trained at VCA and has worked as a dancer with Stephanie Lake, Russell Dumas, Anouk van Dijk, Kate Denborough, Linda Sastradipradja, Simona Deaconescu (Romania), repetiteur Davide Di Pretoro (Italy) and Chunky Move. His choreographic credits include Bodylex (nominated for Best Choreography at the Green Room Awards 2022; Dancehouse 2021, Adelaide Fringe 2022), Condition (Dancehouse 2020), Synthetic Upper (VCA 2017) and, with collaborator Piaera Lauritz, Colour Correction (Melbourne Fringe 2018) and Self Repair (Melbourne Fringe 2017). Rhys has held choreographic residencies at Lucy Guerin Inc and Darebin Arts Centre, and was the Russell Beedles Performing Arts Fellow at the State Library of Victoria for 2022. He is a lawyer and legal academic, and writes on dance for Limelight and Dance Australia. Visit www.rhysjryan.com for more.
Jazmyn Carter is a dance artist based in Naarm / Melbourne. She was a member of FLING Physical Theatre for seven years before studying a BFA (Dance) at VCA. Jazmyn has performed in Stephanie Lake’s Colossus, Dr Carol Brown’s re-creation of Gertrud Bodenwieser’s Demon Machine, Lee Pemberton’s Heritage, Lineage & Future, Alisdair Macindoe’s A.I.D. and Aimee Schollum’s Skin Affinity for the Telstra Emerging Choreographer Award. She has created a short dance film OBSERVER, and choreographed Whose Thoughts Are They for FLING Physical Theatre. Most recently Jazmyn collaborated and performed with Jason Pearce in his work ALL BLANK WASTELAND at The BOLD Festival in Canberra and Melbourne Fringe 2022.
Anika De Ruyter is a dance artist based in Naarm / Melbourne. Their practice seeks methods of articulating corporeal history and the stories that have been embedded and stored in the body through experience. Upon completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) at VCA in 2019, they were awarded the Orloff Family Charitable Trust Scholarship in Dance for excellence. In 2018 De Ruyter performed in the National Gallery of Victoria’s Leap into the Modern exhibition, in a rework of Gertrude Bodenwieser’s Demon Machine by Dr Carol Brown. For FRAME 2023, they performed in Banshee Cried Silver (film) by Harrison Ritchie Jones and Sandra Parker’s showing of Hold Home at The Australian Ballet. Across 2022/23 de Ruyter participated in two iterations of Gabriella Imrichova’s Methods for Collapse for their exhibitions/residencies at Blindside Gallery and Gertrude Glasshouse.
Momoko Nanri graduated from VCA in 2017 and has performed as a dancer at Melbourne Fringe in Is it Working? (2023, Piaera Lauritz), Below Awareness (2017, Piaera Lauritz), Unconscious Volcanoes (2018, Rachel Huf & Tahlia Klugman) and Seeing Red (2019, Ashley Dougan). Momoko created a duet in collaboration with choreographer Kate Denborough in 2018, and has performed in Her Lover’s Shadow (2018, Tahlia Klugman & Joseph Lallo) and Of Space and Time (2019, Angela Rae Valdez).
Robert Downie (Sound Design) is an award-winning composer, producer and sound designer seeking to combine the memories of days past with visions of the future. He has written scores for numerous contemporary dance works, theatre shows, and short films, and has had music featured on TV shows. He is also an active member in the Melbourne music scene, with song-writing, mixing, mastering and production credits on over 40 records. Visit www.robertdownie.com for more.
Jessamine Moffett (Costume Design) is a Naarm-based, disabled costume designer with a passion for live performance, film and television. She obtained an Advanced Diploma in Professional Screenwriting from RMIT (receiving the award for Outstanding Student Performance) and undertook the Film & TV Foundations course at VCA where she worked on several short films that ignited her love for production design, costume and the art department. Jessamine went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Production at VCA with a focus on set and costume design and costume construction. Since graduating, Jessamine has been working as an emerging costume designer in both independent theatre and at her old secondary school. Visit www.jessaminemoffett.com for more.
John Collopy (Lighting Design) is an award-winning lighting and visual designer, whose work for the stage has been seen in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. His recent lighting design credits include Otello (Melbourne Opera, directed by Bruce Beresford), Paradise Lost (Bloomshed/Darebin Arts Speakeasy 2022); The Nose (Bloomshed, Green Room Awards 2019 nominee for Best Production & Best Direction), The Market is a Wind Up Toy (Bloomshed, Critics’ Pick of Sydney Fringe 2018), Sensory Decadence and Kilter (One Fell Swoop Circus), Slaughterhouse Five (Theatre Works/Monash Uni Student Theatre), Helping Hands (A_tistic/La Mama), Too Ready Mirror (Darebin Arts Speakeasy) and Ironbound, Hurlyburly and Shining City (Q44 Theatre). John is an associate artist with A_tistic.
Presented as part of Melbourne Fringe 2023.
This project is supported by Yarra City Arts.