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What Now?

Conversation Series for Dance Massive 2019

Photo by Gregory Lorenzutti for Dancehouse
18—22 March 2019

Victorian College of the Arts — Studio 221



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In partnership with Victorian College of the Arts

A series of timely and incisive facilitated conversations aimed at contextualising the deep and subtle connections that the choreographed body fosters, in its multiplicity of forms and meanings, with the social, ethical and political.

18 March

What’s your discourse? – Practising the practice

Nana Biluš Abaffy, Anouk Van DijkMyriam Gourfink and Jo lloyd in conversation with Philipa Rothfield

What kinaesthetic, discursive and conceptual frames do artists use to define and shape their practice? How do these become daily rituals or distinctive techniques? What does it actually mean to have a practice?

In conversation with some of Australia’s most established dance figures who have each clearly articulated their practices in different ways and forms, this panel examines the interconnected and sometimes problematically productive relationship between what we say and what we actually do when working in the studio.

This conversation will look at different theoretical and process-based methodologies of working in the studio or of creating work. It also aims to identify how (self) criticality, authorship, research and performativity define or are defined through artistic practice.

19 March

Who’s got the power? — Artists for/against the Institution, the System and the Money

Jacob BoehmeDavid PledgerJon PerringMiriam Ginestier and Isabella Whāwhai Waru in conversation with Jana Perkovic

In recent times, the act of critiquing an institution (institutional critique) has become an artistic practice in itself. This conversation will look at how Australian artists position themselves in relation to, or in opposition to, institutional modes of power. These range from activism to tacit complacency. What mechanisms and strategies do artists devise in order to resist, interrogate, challenge, accept or reshape the institutional status quo?

20 March

Who gets to dance? — Gender and privilege in dance

Mariaa RandallPriya SrinivasanFreddie Opoku-Addaie and Jacinda Richards in conversation with Rachel Fensham

This conversation analyses how Australian dance deals with aspects of gender representation, class, race and privilege. It looks to the privileged position dance assumes as a form of high art, but also acknowledges its oppositional, critical and political possibilities. Dance can thus be seen as affirming, contesting or undoing dominant norms.

This critical conversation analyses some of the successes, failures and systemic challenges the Australian dance ecology faces with regards to gender representation, class, race and privilege.

Is professional dance in Australia truly inclusive, or are we deluding ourselves?

 21 March

Can you learn to dance? — Dance education: Reality Check and Dream machine

Carol BrownKaren MalekAntony Hamilton and Kristy Ayre in conversation with Katrina Rank

What are the contexts and goals, the ideals and realities of tertiary dance training? How can dance, choreography, and performance be learned and taught today and by whom? How do individual interests and institutional guidelines as well as theory and practice relate to each other and align with tertiary agendas? What are the responsibilities of universities towards their teachers, students, and local cultural and artistic landscapes?

22 March

Are we safe? — What is a safe space for makers and audiences?

Ashley DyerLuke GeorgeKate Sulan and Jamie Lewis in conversation with Nicole Beyer

Audience and Community participation now has a long established history in both the creation and presentation of dance, visual art and performance works, but should we truly trust the artists with our emotional and physical safety? Is risk management always a necessary mitigating force or does it lead to a form of censorship?  Is community participation abusive unpaid labour or should we give priority to the participants’ agency even when they might not completely be informed?

In the light of the recent sexual harassment claims in Australian Theatre, this conversation seeks to unpack best and worst practices and question the responsibilities that the artist has to both their collaborators and their audiences.



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What’s your discourse? – Practising the practice

Anouk van Dijk is a choreographer, director, dancer and the creator behind the movement system Countertechnique. She has been the Artistic Director of Chunky Move from 2012 – 2018. Her work is staged for a wide range of settings, varying from black box theatre, to large proscenium stages, to site-specific works. Before relocating to Australia, Van Dijk had an extensive career in Europe, touring worldwide with her Dutch company anoukvandijk dc, performing at the world’s leading festivals and venues including Festival d’Avignon, Adelaide Festival, Sydney Opera House, MASS MoCA, Perth International Arts Festival, Dance Triennale Tokyo, American Dance Festival and Festival TransAmériques. Van Dijk’s long collaborative partnership with German writer and director Falk Richter has resulted in the creation of six critically: acclaimed productions that have toured in Europe and internationally.  Central to the foundation of Anouk van Dijk’s artistic work and the training of her dancers has been Countertechnique, the movement system Van Dijk developed to provide dancers with applied tools for versatile dance practice in the 21st century.

Jo Lloyd is an influential Melbourne dance artist working with choreography as a social encounter, revealing behaviour over particular durations and circumstances. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Jo has presented her work in gallery spaces and theatres in Japan, New York, Hong Kong, as well as Dance Massive, the Melbourne Festival, the Biennale of Sydney, Liveworks, the Museum of Contemporary Art and PICA. In 2016 Jo was the Resident Director of Lucy Guerin Inc. She recently presented CUTOUT in the Melbourne Festival, at ACCA and premiered her new work OVERTURE at Arts House.

Nana Biluš Abaffy is an artist with a background in philosophy and a foreground in experimental performance and dance. She is interested in the pursuit of knowledge through embodiment and wants to know what her body is looking for. Nana believes that there is irreducible variation in the human experience and works towards establishing a space for that difference. She is the founding member of a secretive collective that performs in explicitly illicit spaces and enjoys engaging in ChoreoGraphic acts of extreme tree hugging and site-specific protest dancing. In 2019 Nana is making work for the triennial Tanzkongress in Dresden and is an Arts House CultureLAB artist in residence. Last year, she was a finalist in the Keir Choreographic Award, made work for Santarcangelo Festival in Italy, Melbourne Festival of Live Art, Runway Experimental Art Magazine, and was invited by Brussels Kunstenfestivaldesarts to undertake the res+ref artist residency.

Philipa Rothfield is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy program, La Trobe University. She is a dance reviewer for RealTime arts magazine and Momm magazine, Korea. She is co-convenor of the Choreography and Corporeality working group, International Federation of Theatre Research. She has been dancing on and off for some decades. As a philosopher, she writes on French philosophy, political philosophy, feminism and postmodernism, specialising in philosophy of the body. She is currently writing a book on dance and philosophy. She has published on dance in relation to Merleau-Ponty, Whitehead, Nietzsche, Klossowski and Ravaisson.

Myriam Gourfink is known for her extremely unusual writing, based on Kinetography Laban, as well as her close connection with contemporary music and new digital technologies. Her dance is essentially infused with yoga and her experience as a performer (particularly with Odile Duboc).

Who’s got the power? — Artists for/against the Institution, the System and the Money

Jana Perkovic is the contemporary dance critic for The Age. She is also a researcher at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, and editor of Assemble Papers, magazine exploring small footprint living across art, architecture, design and urban planning. She specialises in the intersections between the performing arts and the built environment.

David Pledger is an award-winning artist, curator, activist and consultant working within and between the performing, visual and media arts in Australia, Asia and Europe. His current projects include Ministry for Empathy, The Things We Did Next and Meaninglessness. David is published widely in books, magazines and journals including The Conversation, Artlink, Dancehouse Diary, The Daily Review and Platform Papers on matters of artistic practice, cultural policy, social commentary, arts activism and international cultural relations. Last year, he was awarded a PhD from RMIT University where he completed research at the Spatial Information Architecture Lab, on the effect of ‘noise’ on our social, cultural and political systems published in the form of a concept album, Wall of Noise, Web of Silence. He is the artistic director of seminal inter-disciplinary arts outfit, not yet it’s difficult (NYID).

Jacob Boehme is Melbourne born and raised artist of the Narangga and Kaurna Nations, South Australia. Jacob is the Founding Director of YIRRAMBOI Festival, recipient of the 2018 Green Room Award for Curatorial Contribution to Contemporary and Experimental Arts.Jacob is a multi-disciplinary theatre maker and choreographer, creating work for stage, screen, large-scale public events and festivals. Alumni of the Victorian College of the Arts, Jacob’s critically acclaimed solo work Blood on the Dance Floor is touring nationally and internationally from 2019. Jacob is a member of the International Advisory Panel for the Calouste Gulbenkian UK Enquiry into the Civic Role of Arts Organisations, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art Yalingwa Advisory Committee, the Ministry of Culture Taiwan Southeast Asia Advisory Committee and a 2018 Australia Council for the Arts Fellow.

Ko Tainui te Waka
Ko Tararua nga pai Maunga
Ko Ohau te Awa
Ko Ngāti Tukorehe te Marae
Ko Ngāti Tukorehe te iwi
Ko tenei pepeha o Ihapera Mason tōku kuia

Ko Aotea te Waka
Ko Taranaki te Maunga
Ko Waitotoroa te Awa
Ko Parihaka te Marae
Ko Niho te Wharenui
Ko Ngati Ruanui, Ngai Rauru, Taranaki, Ruahine, Titahi, Te Atiawa nga iwi
Ko tenei pepeha o Puohooho Mason tōku koro

Ko Te Haumoariki tōku matua
Ko Katia tōku whaea
Ko Ihapera Whāwhai Waru tōku ingoa

Isabella Whāwhai Waru is of Maori and Celtic descent. They follow traditions of storytelling, navigation, nurture and resistance which precede them thousands of years by their own ancestors and the Indigenous ancestors of the lands they walk, live and create upon. A Birrarunga based artist, creating primarily through movement and voice, Waru performs, makes, writes, speaks and facilitates ritual spaces as mediums for ignition//resurgence//connection//activation//clearing//healing.

Jon Perring is the operator of iconic Melbourne Live Music Venues including The Tote Hotel, Bar Open, Pony The Melbourne Spanish Club, Yah Yah’s and more. He was a central figure in rolling back the ill-conceived liquor licensing regulations that threatened live music in Victoria in 2010 and is a member of the Victorian State Government’s Live Music Roundtable. He has written papers on liquor licensing regulation and live music, cultural land-use policy, a review of The Agent of Change planning policy and is also a musician.

Miriam Ginestier is the Artistic and General Director of Studio 303, a busy Montréal centre for dance and interdisciplinary art, and an award-winning creator of cultural events for Montréal’s lesbian and queer communities (Meow Mix, Le Boudoir). At Studio 303, Miriam supports experimental artists and practices through an interconnected program of residencies, professional development, unconventional performance opportunities (REMIX) and via artist-led networking events (SPARK). A former performer, Miriam is currently deeply invested in artist empowerment and in mobilizing exciting ideas.

Who gets to dance? — Gender and privilege in dance

Rachel Fensham is Assistant Dean of the Digital Studio and a Professor of Dance and Theatre at the University of Melbourne. Her current research includes development of the Theatre and Dance Portal in association with AusStage and the Lucy Guerin Company, and participation in a team project, Reclaiming Indigenous Performance. She is co-editor of the award-winning book series, New World Choreographies for publisher Palgrave Macmillan, and is preparing her own monograph on “Movement: Theory for Theatre” (Bloomsbury). Other recent publications include chapters in Transmission in Motion (Routledge 2016); Unfolding Spectatorship (Academia: 2016); and Digital Movement (Palgrave 2015), with articles in Scene (2015), the Journal of Design History (2014), and Performance Research (2016).

Jacinda Richards is a professional dancer, choreographer, and community arts practitioner. Her professional dance practice spans many genres including jazz, ballet, Hip-hop, contemporary, Latin, and West African. Jacinda has worked as a dancer and choreographer in Australia and internationally, including performing, choreographing, and running workshops in remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley’s, and in Ghana and Korea.Jacinda founded L2R Dance in 2009 as a grassroots not-for-profit community organisation, which over the last 9 years has grown into the registered charity and recognised cultural organisation it is today.

Mariaa Randall belongs to the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of the Far North Coast of NSW. She currently resides on the lands of the Djadjawurung in Bendigo. And works extensively on Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung country in Melbourne. Mariaa, a 1997 NAISDA Dance College graduate, recently became a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, obtaining a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Arts Management, Graduate Diploma in Performance Creation and a Master in Animateuring (by Research) in Melbourne. Her latest works include the premier of Divercity at Dance Massive 2017, HA LF, Poetry in Motion, Painting the Dance and choreographing Jacob Boheme’s solo work Blood on the Dance Floor.

Priya Srinivasan has a dual career as an artist and scholar committed to questions of migration, female labour, and art. After obtaining a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, she was hired as the first Indian professor of dance at the University of California, Riverside where she presented her hybrid talking dance lecture/performance based on her award winning book, Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labor, across the US in leading universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Chicago, Northwestern, and in the UK at Oxford and Royal Holloway. Her book examines Indian dance and dancers not just as aesthetic but as gendered, racialized and migrant forms of labor. She has a long career as a performer of post modern Indian artistic practices in Australia, USA, India, China, and Europe. She worked as an Associate Professor at the University of California, Riverside and at the International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden University, and is currently an independent artist and Honorary Fellow at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne.

Freddie Opoku-Addaie is a British-born choreographer, performer and educator of Ghanaian heritage.  He juxtaposes instinctive movement, ritualistic folk practices, structured choreography, with rules and parameters of gaming. He is currently a Dance Artist/Guest Programmer at Dance Umbrella International Festival London.

Can you learn to dance? — Dance education: Reality Check and Dream machine

Dr Katrina Rank is a dance artist who has led dance programs in schools, training institutions and community settings for over 25 years. As the Director of Education and Lifelong Learning at Ausdance Victoria, she holds the following qualifications: Graduate (Australian Ballet School), B.Ed in Dance & Drama, B.Lit. Hons in Dance and PhD Contemporary Arts (Deakin University). Katrina was awarded the 2018 Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education, was the founder of Fine Lines, a contemporary dance community of mature dancers and leads ongoing Dance for Parkinson’s programs in Hampton and Preston.

Carol Brown is an internationally established creative research scholar and professional choreographer. Originally trained in Bodenwieser methods with Shona Dunlop-MacTavish in Dunedin she completed a history honours degree at the University of Otago before specialising in Dance Studies, completing an MA and one of the first practice-led doctorates in the UK at the University of Surrey. Carol was appointed Choreographer in Residence at the Place Theatre London after presenting her PhD solo The Mechanics of Fluids. There she founded Carol Brown Dances. Nourished by creative collaborations that explore diverse spaces, places and body memories, her choreographies take multiple forms, as installations, inter-media events, and site specific performances and have been presented internationally including at Roma Europa, Dance Umbrella and the Brighton Festival. She is currently working on a book on the politics and poetics of choreographic research.and the newly appointed Head of Dance Victorian College of the Arts.

Karen Malek is one of the cofounders of Transit Dance, and the President of Transit Dance Initiative. She is an experienced dance teacher and dance curriculum developer, and holds her Diploma of Dance Teaching & Management, Diploma of Management, Diploma of Musical Theatre, Certificate IV in Business (Governance), and Certificate IV in TAE. Karen is also a Graduate of The Australian Ballet School Teachers’ Course.From 2007 to 2017 Karen was the President of Australian Teachers Of Dancing where she was also Chair of Curriculum Development. During her time on the Board Karen was instrumental in creating the ATOD Emergency Relief Fund, and in the development of the Classical Ballet, National Character, Tap, Jazz, Street Beat, Contemporary and Hip Hop systems of training.

Kristy Ayre began her career as a dancer and educator working with some of Australia’s most esteemed choreographers and companies. She has since, played a leadership role in the dance sector as a Director on the Board of Next Wave, Co-Chair of the Green Room Awards Association Dance Panel and as Executive Producer of Phillip Adams BalletLab and interdisciplinary art space, Temperance Hall.  Kristy Co-Produced the 2015 National Dance Forum and was an Associate Producer for the 2012 and 2014 Next Wave Festivals.In February 2019, Kristy joined Chunky Move as Co-CEO/Executive Director.

Antony Hamilton’s multi-award winning performances involve a sophisticated melding of movement, sound and visual design. He has received numerous choreographic awards including the Helpmann Award for Best Ballet or Dance Work (Black Project 1&2), a New York Performing Arts Award ‘Bessie’ (MEETING) and five Green Room Awards (Keep Everything, MEETING and Black Project 1&2). Recent works include Forever & Ever (Sydney Dance Company 2018), Number of the Machine (2017) and Natural Orders (Dancemakers Toronto 2017 and has also been guest dance curator at The National Gallery of Victoria.In February 2019, Antony joined Chunky Move as Co-CEO/Artistic Director.

Are we safe? — What is a safe space for makers and audiences?

Nicole Beyer is the Executive Director of Theatre network Australia. She is a leading Australian advocate for the arts, and a cultural policy specialist. She leads and represents the arts industry through her many roles on boards, panels and in forums. As the former Co-Convenor of ArtsPeak, the confederation of 37 national arts peak bodies, she led the sector through the #freethearts campaign (2015 – 2017), which contributed to her receiving the 2017 Sidney Myer Facilitator’s Prize. Nicole advises the Victorian government on cultural policy through her role on the Minister’s inaugural Creative State Advisory Board. Through her advocacy, Nicole works to attain greater recognition of the social, cultural and economic contributions of independent artists and small-to-medium arts organisations. A champion for Indigenous artists, artists from diverse backgrounds and those with disabilities, Nicole advocates for a more inclusive arts sector. Nicole has worked in social policy in two local government municipalities, and has worked as a consulting facilitator, strategic planner and policy adviser since 2005. Previous arts CEO positions include Back To Back Theatre (1996-1999) and Arts Access Victoria (2000-2005). She currently sits on the Board of Deakin University’s Arts and Cultural Management Program. Nicole has been Executive Director of Theatre Network Australia (TNA) since 2009, a role that has grown with the organisation’s expansion from a Victorian program to a small but influential national peak body. Nicole has a Masters of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) from Monash University (2013).

Jamie Lewis creates and performs experimental and contemporary intercultural work, facilitating meditations on identity, place, and time, through autobiographical stories, conversation and food. Jamie also collaborates as facilitator, dramaturg, and co-creator; curiously exploring place and new vantage points with Dan Koop, she creates and curates site-responsive performances that engage audiences to become participants. She is currently working as a freelance artist and for Theatre Network Australia.

Luke George creates new choreographic work that takes daring and at times, unorthodox methods, to explore new intimacies and connections between artist and audience. Based in Naarm-Melbourne, Luke was born and raised in Tasmania and is of English, Irish, Scottish and Syrian descent. Luke’s ancestors arrived to the island in the first waves of colonisation, and have lived on the lands of the Palawa Peoples for seven generations.Luke creates and performs work locally and internationally/culturally, through experimental processes with collaborating artists and the public. Luke’s major works include the seminal NOW NOW NOW (2011) and critically acclaimed Bunny (co-creation with Daniel Kok, 2016). He has created numerous national and international commissions, including Not About Face for The Chocolate Factory Theater (New York City, 2014), Erotic Dance for Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (Paris, 2015) and Public Actions for the Keir Choreographic Awards (2018) and Arts House for Dance Massive (2019).

Kate Sulan is the founding Artistic Director of Rawcus, an award winning theatre company of performers with and without disability. Kate is a long-term collaborator with Back to Back Theatre. She was a co-devisor for GANESH VERSUS THE THIRD REICH, and has toured with the work as the show director to over 15 cities worldwide. She was the dramaturge for Back to Back’s LADY EATS APPLE (Melbourne International Arts Festival 2017) and SUPER DISCOUNT (STC, Malthouse). Kate is one of the artists working on the five year REFUGE project for Artshouse. Refuge explores the role of artists and cultural institutions in times of climate catastrophe, bringing together emergency management, artists, the community and local, regional and international partners. Between 2010-2013 Kate directed and facilitated Malthouse Theatre’s Suitcase Series working alongside writers Maryanne Lynch (HAPPINESS) and Declan Greene (TAME). She has worked as a director and dramaturge with companies such as Malthouse Theatre, Restless Dance Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Stuck Pigs Squealing, The Women’s Circus and Theatre of Speed.

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