On Monday 24 May I began my residency in the Tanya Liedtke Studio at the Australian Dance Theatre as part of their International Centre for Choreography AiR program. Over these six weeks I am developing ideas that have come up from recent projects.
One is realising an online creative exchange with other screendance practitioners—a “Screendance Studio”—which came up in discussions as part of Emma Wilson’s recent residency “Exploring the use of video as a choreographic strategy.” I was involved in her project as a mentor/creative participant. Over several weeks I would offer a ‘creative response’ to Emma’s videos, sometimes I wrote text, often I created my own video. It became a way for me to offer feedback and pose strategies indirectly, through the poetics of artistic practice.
“Our exchange was an artwork in itself…about this conversation that was happening. Seeing the sketches as a whole work, including all the pieces and some of the video of the conversation…and screendance as a choreographic strategy for creating a performance work with live bodies responding…getting a sense of an evolution of these different voices and textures” (from discussion with Emma Wilson)
(Images: “Song of Songs” by Douglas Rosenberg; Zoom dance improv, Dianne with Kelly 26/5/21)
In week one I met online with Kelly Drummond Cawthon (Tasmania), Douglas Rosenberg (Wisconsin) and Cinzia Schincariol (from Adelaide but stuck in Berlin) and we had discussions around the ideas of the body as archive (what is held in the physical body) and the body today (what your practice is today and how it has transformed). I’m asking these artists to make a video response to our discussion which I will in turn respond to.
“The Gathering”—a live archive
I’m also inviting local mature dance artists in to talk a bit about their dance history (many of whom have an historical connection to Australian Dance Theatre), what keeps them dancing/moving and how has that shifted? I then invite them to dance for my camera so I can edit a number of bodies into a shared choreography. In week one Peter Sheedy and Lisa Heaven shared their insights and improvised dance in the “void” I created in the studio.
This part of the research relates to a couple of recent projects—my bio-pic “Yesterday’s Skeleton” and the screendance “Communal Bloom Strategy” (both of which were supported by residencies and commissions from Dance Hub SA and Tasdance) and “Cinematic Experiments” (a 2 week inter-disciplinary laboratory supported by The Mill and facilitated by Margie Medlin). It develops themes of sustainability by acknowledging the wisdom developed in the dancing body over time (accessing our community of dance elders), and implements strategies for survival as an independent practitioner. I am gathering a community, inviting others into my processes and at the same time acknowledging their dance legacies. The technical input I received from my “cinematic experiments” over the last fortnight have encouraged me to refine the settings of my camera and lights in ways that can enhance the filming of the body, to float it in a black space.
I am also acknowledging the importance of ongoing development opportunities that these residencies offer—enabling artists to build on their creative experiences, to gather the resources of people, space and time in order to deepen the quality and reach of their artistic practice/works.
This residency has been kindly supported by Australian Dance Theatre’s Artist in Residence/ICC Program.