Dancehouse stands on what always was and always will be Aboriginal land. We pay our respects to the traditional owners of this land, the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation, to their Elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.

Shortcuts to Familiar Places

James Batchelor

James Batchelor. Photo by Morgan Hickinbotham
19—22 April 2023

Full: $30
Concession: $25
Members / Locals: $20
MobTix: $15


Public Programs

Friday 21 April
The Bodenweiser legacy in Australia
Post performance In Conversation:
James Batchelor, Carol Brown & Ruth Osborne

Saturday 22 April
Echoes of Bodenwieser
Pre-performance workshop led by James Batchelor

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Generations on, Batchelor discovers the choreographic and historical inscriptions lingering from modern dance pioneer Gertrud Bodenwieser (1890-1959).

In Shortcuts to Familiar Places, James Batchelor creates a personal performance about the body as a site of historical and choreographic inscription. Like a map that is constantly being redrawn and rewritten, the body here goes through endless cycles of transmission and reception. What are the gestures, forms and patterns that persist over time?

James Batchelor’s dance teacher Ruth Osborne was trained in the methods of modern dance pioneer Gertrud Bodenwieser, who developed visionary approaches to dance education and choreography in the early-mid-20th century. Bodenwieser’s repertory and training were rarely documented in video and hence now mostly survive in the body memories of her students. James Batchelor explores the fragments of movement that still linger from this time in body memory, existing in tension with a seemingly oppositional pull towards the obsessively detailed anatomical deconstruction. In two duets and a solo, he finds new artistic ways to embrace the complexity of self-expression in contemporary times – while echoing the free spirit of the expressive dance (Ausdruckstanz) era.

Choreography, Performance: James Batchelor
Dramaturgy: Bek Berger
Composition: Morgan Hickinbotham
Performance: Chloe Chignell
Light Design: Vinny Jones
Costume Design: Juliane König
Video Montage: Margie Medlin
Videography: James Batchelor
Choreographic Consultation: Ruth Osborne, Eileen Kramer, Carol Brown
Research Consultation: Michelle Potter

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James Batchelor is a choreographer and performer from Canberra. His artistic practice includes movement research and performance creation, international touring and teaching. Among his recent work includes “An Evening-length Performance” which premiered at Tanz im August (Sophiensaele) and toured to Tanzhaus nrw (Düsseldorf), Theatre de Vanves (Paris) and December Dance (Brugge) in 2021. His solo work Hyperspace was selected to be part of the Aerowaves platform in 2019 and has since been presented over 50 times in Europe and Australia.

Chloe Chignell is an artist working across text, choreography and publishing. Chloe takes the body as the central problem, question and location of her research. She invests in writing as a body building practice, examining the ways in which language makes us up. She graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2013, completed a research cycle at P.A.R.T.S (BE, 2018) and went on to the post-master research program at A.pass (BE, 2020).

Vinny Jones describes herself as a scenographer who uses light as her primary material to shape the experience of space. Her practise based in Amsterdam, brings together work as a researcher, light designer, teacher and maker of immersive sensory installations. With a background as a performer in Australia, Vinny came to light design via het Veem Theater, a production house for contemporary Dutch mime. She later undertook a MFA Scenography at the Frank Mohr Institute in 2011.

Morgan Hickinbotham is a composer, producer and image maker who works within the mediums of sound, image and motion picture. His compositions are experimental, influenced by drone, noise, classical minimalism and developed in close relationship to the choreography. Morgan graduated the Victoria College of the Arts with a Batchelor of Fine Arts, Photography in 2012 and has worked closely with James Batchelor for the past decade.

Bek Berger is an artist, producer, dramaturg and is the Artistic Director of the New Theatre Institute of Latvia (NTIL), curator of the International Festival of Contemporary Performance, Homo Novus. Originally from Melbourne, Australia she has worked in festivals across the globe such as American Realness (NYC), Dance Massive (AU), Darwin Festival (AU), Fierce Festival (UK) and Forest Fringe (UK). She has worked with James Batchelor extensively since 2017.

A production by James Batchelor and Collaborators in coproduction with SOPHIENSÆLE. Funded by the Capital Cultural Fund and the Australia Council for the Arts, Tanja Liedtke Foundation, Michael Adena and Joanne Daly. With support of Tanzhaus nrw, QL2 Dance, Belconnen Arts Centre, Cocoon Dance, Trauma Bar und Kino, and Theaterhaus Mitte. This tour was additionally supported by Michael Adena and Joanne Daly, James Ostroburski and the Canberra Theatre Centre.

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