1. Your practice is extensive as a dancer and choreographer, presenting work across New York, Japan, Hong Kong and within Australian festivals such as Dance Massive, Next Wave, the Biennale of Sydney, Liveworks and Dark MOFO. How did you arrive here? What were your influential experiences as an emerging artist?
After graduating from the VCA I spent a couple of years working with a mixture of artists and we made works for alternative venues; bars, warehouses and outdoor, this was a time when I made work almost out of need, because I wasn’t keen to let the dancing die down, and at the time it was the way I could sustain my dancing. At this time I also did workshops with NY dance artist Jennifer Monson and her practices and investigations into energy states had a long-lasting impact on me. I then worked with choreographers Shelley Lasica, Sandra Parker (Dance Works) and Gideon Obarzanek (Chunky Move), and I learnt a lot from each of them and I still do.
2. You talk about dance as a social encounter, how does this manifest in your practice?
The way I have been working involves the personal contribution of other artists, the dancers are very much a part of the decision making and this occurs in the studio process and in live performance. There is this negotiation (both verbal and non-verbal) and then there is the negotiation with the context of the performance and a substantial part of the context is the audience. The performance is public and this social opportunity interested me more and more in terms of what is permitted or showable and what the exchange can be.
3. You mentioned that Confusion for Three was making a work that you didn’t know how to make. How did you embrace the unknown in this work?
I abandoned some of the methods I had been relying on and took an ‘act as if’ approach, I was driven to make the work I wanted to perform in/ engage with and the work I would like to see. I was interested in shifting how we prepare for performance. We literally ran the work on the first day of rehearsal and kept on running it and this process and the ‘attempt’ to perform the work is still the agenda for the work.
4. Collaboration is a key part of your process. How does this begin and evolve when making? Tell us about working with your collaborators in Confusion for Three.
I am always keen for my collaborators to be engaging with my interests but it’s important that they are bringing their own current preoccupations and concerns, what they are currently consumed by in terms of processes. With Confusion for Three, I was quite clear about the approach. For Composer Duane Morrison it was about working with piano, he and I have worked together for 15 years and we were both keen to shift away from more electronic sounds. He pulled the music apart and put it back together a lot and he plays a vital role in my works. Lighting and set was a simple request; light the room, strip the space and allow for straightforward actions that shift the design and perspective. But simple is not always easy, Jenny Hector really pulled back to make it about the bodies primarily.
5. You are also facilitating a workshop with dramaturg Anny Mokotow over the next 2 weeks, in which you will share the Confusion methodology with a group of Perth dancers. The public showing will be on 22 November but can you give us a sneak peek of what this may involve?
Anny and I are passing on information to the participants so they are able to understand and attempt to do parts of Confusion for Three. This is an inroad or an anchor for the workshop; passing on methodologies and then allowing the participants to find their own ways of building choreography. Confusion for 10!
6. What advice can you share with new dance-makers?
Go to the studio, see what your body has to say/ tell you. Be stimulated in the studio and outside of the studio, find what draws you in, go where the love is, engage in conversations, be consumed. The body as the stimulant.
7. What do you love most about dance?
It is of its own nature, similar but unlike other physical acts. It’s moreish and unresolved.