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Delving into Dance Podcast by Andrew Westle, Delving Into Dance - 1M ago

Photo Pia Johnson

photo Pia Johnson

Joel Bray has established himself as a contemporary dancer and choreographer both nationally and internationally. The Melbourne-based artist and proud Wiradjuri man began dancing at age 20, leaving a Law Degree to start training in traditional Aboriginal and Contemporary dance forms at NAISDA Dance College. Explaining:

“It wasn’t so much dance I was interested in, it was being in a community of Black people, for the first time, being surrounded by other Aboriginal people for the first time and learning about my roots.”

Joel then went to Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) graduating in 2005.  

In creating and choreographing, Joel is inspired by his Wiradjuri cultural heritage allowing this to inform a new method of creation, rather than recreate a supposed Indigenous ‘form’. Alongside explorations of the experience for fair-skinned Aboriginal people and the  racism they can face, Joel navigates the experience for gay men in a world of digital isolation. Often his works are intimate encounters, an experience between the performer and audience member where each party have a role to play in the storytelling and performance. For example, his recent work Biladurang, set in a hotel room, which was programmed as part of Brisbane Festival 2018 and will next appear as part of Sydney Festival 2019.

Joel is an performer with Chunky Move (AUS), appearing in Complexity of Belonging and An Act of Now, and with Anouk van Dijk and Falk Richter in their production Safe Places at the Frankfurt Schauspielhaus. Joel has been commission as part of Next Move 11 with Dharawungara. This work is a collision of rituals where the audience is invited to reimagine the theatre as a ceremonial ground of light and sound, as Joel explores how to breath life into this Wiradjuri rite he has only ever read about.

In conversation Joel talked about his twelve year career, spanning France, Portugal, Israel and Australia with Chunky Move, Jean-Claude Gallotta, Company CeDeCe , Kolben Dance, Machol Shalem Dance House, Yoram Karmi’s FRESCO Dance Company, Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor and Roy Assaf. Joel has been co-commissioned by the Performance Space and Yirramboi Festival to make a new work entitled Candy from Strangers for 2019. Joel was nominated for Best Performer in 2017 at the Australian Dance Awards and is a member of the Melbourne Greenroom Awards Dance Jury.

“Dance has the ability to take the moment and to expand that out, so you can almost, you can take one or a few things, and really pull them apart and really understand them. […] Dance allows the possibility for authentic human to human encounters; that I think are becoming  more and more precious in this digital world.”

Joel is currently performing Dharawungara as part of Chunky Move’s Next Move Season, alongside Lauren Langlois. Find out more and to buy tickets here. More about Joel can be found at https://www.joelbraydance.com/

Delving into Dance is currently seeking to raise $3500 for access costs. Podcasts are not friendly to deaf people, who are missing out on the vibrancy and diversity of experiences captured in this podcast. Each Episode will cost about $80 to transcribe. Will you be able to help support this initiative? For more information as well as a list of individuals who have already contributed, click here. Your support is appreciated to keep this project going.

photo Pia Johnson

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Delving into Dance Podcast by Andrew Westle, Delving Into Dance - 1M ago
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Delving into Dance Podcast by Andrew Westle, Delving Into Dance - 1M ago

"Being Indigenous now means you are influenced by not only your traditional heritage but by pop culture, western education, sexuality … there are so many things that influence us now as Indigenous peoples. So from my point of view, that’s where my work comes from, that point of diversity"

Thomas Fonua is a proud man of Samoan/Tongan descent. Born in New Zealand, Thomas started to dance at the age of seven. His mum saw that he loved to move but showed no interest in sport, so she enrolled him in dance instead.

“My work is influenced by my heritage”

At the young age of 16, Thomas was offered a two-year apprenticeship with Black Grace, based in Auckland. There are few professional dance opportunities in New Zealand, so gaining full-time employment was a true honour and was the start of a solid, successful career for the young dancer.

Thomas was the youngest dancer in the company, with a 10-year age gap between him and the next youngest dancers. This was a significant period of growth and cemented his passion for dance. During this time Thomas toured numerous works through Europe, Asia, North America and Canada as one of the company’s leading dancers.

In 2010, Thomas was invited to participate in The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Dance Residency. Thomas participated in the program for many years before being invited to take up a position as a faculty member. As a faculty member, he helps by working with and mentoring Indigenous dancers from all over the world.

Thomas has since worked for Red Sky Performance in Canada, where he is an associate artist. He has worked on productions including Migration (2011) and inSIGNia (2013). Thomas has also worked with artists including Sandra Laronde, Neil Ieremia, Rafael Bonachela, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jock Soto, Douglas Wright, Raewyn Hill, Ross McCormack and Garry Stewart.

Thomas joined Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) in 2015. Subsequently, he has performed in works including Proximity, Be Your Self, Doppelganger and Habitus. He has also had his work MALAGA  programmed as part of ADT’s Ignition program, which seeks to foster the next generation of choreographers.

His work MALAGA explored the dark past of human zoos or ‘Volkershau’, in which individuals were brought in from colonial frontiers, for European audiences.  This work drew upon ideas of exhibition, captivity and exoticism.

I spoke to Thomas, in the lead up for a performance of Be Your Self, soon to open in Melbourne, the first time it will be performed in the Victorian capital.

Be Your Self is a significant work for Thomas, being the first work he danced in for ADT as a guest artist during the work’s 2014 tour of Indonesia. Be Your Self is also one of his favourite pieces to perform: “Because it is so much fun”

Be Your Self was created by Garry Stewart, and examines how the body is central to our identity and that our notion of the ‘self’ is indeed located in our bodies.

Thomas is a fascinating and passionate dancer who will continue to bring more to the world of contemporary dance. This interview is a wide ranging discussion, which includes everything from RuPaul – “the unsung hero” – to studying business, performing in drag and what it means to be an Indigenous dancer, to preparing for performances and how Thomas aims for the future.

You can find out more about Thomas Fonua on the ADT website.

 Check out the fabulous archive of dance makers and leaders including: Meryl Tankard, Daniel Jaber & Gideon Obarzanek

And stay tuned for future episodes in this season, focussing on the experience of those currently who are dancing. This season will capture a true diversity of experiences, including Samantha Hines (ex ADT dancer, subsequently working with Dancenorth and Stephanie Lake), Melanie Lane (choreographer and performer based between Berlin and Melbourne) and Gareth Chambers (Cardiff-based Visual Dance artist recently in Australia for YIRRAMBOI festival)

If you have enjoyed this episode please consider leaving a donation. Contributions keep this little project going strong, and are the only source of funding for this project. A big thank you to Stephanie Lake whose donation helped fund this episode! You can listen to the wonderful Stephanie Lake’s interview from Season One.

 
 

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Delving into Dance Podcast by Andrew Westle, Delving Into Dance - 1M ago

Poster image New York late 1970’s, image supplied Jane Desmond.

Professor Jane Desmond is one of those people who you would want on a trivia team. Starting as a dancer and choreographer, Jane’s work has moved into academia and has covered a range of fascinating areas. This interview reveals just how much dance, as a practice, has informed Jane’s work in other fields and on other topics. Jane is now a professor in Anthropology and Gender and Women's Studies, and Co-founder, and current Director, of the International Forum for U.S. Studies, a center in International Programs.

Her research covers topics including embodiment, display, and social identity, as well as the transnational dimensions of U.S. Studies.  Her work includes research on human and animal relations and gender and sexuality, which feature in this interview.

I was interested in talking to Jane as a result of her work looking at the role of dance in society and the ways in which dance can be used to question the status quo. Before the interview, we exchanged a number of emails about the topic of our conversation and the below text comes from one of our exchanges. It is included as an extension of our conversation.

 30 Aug 2018, 13:47

Hi Jane,

Thanks for agreeing to participate. I have sketched out some proposed questions. The proposed questions are somewhat thematic and not all solid questions, I am pretty informal in approach, but this will give you a bit of an idea of areas I think would be interesting to talk about. I am not married to any of them so if there are other things you would like to talk about that is also fine as well.

Starting with Memory lane questions: Where did dance start?

Pathway to dance- dancing and choreography. What were you interested in? Are there things you miss about dancing?

Moving in to academia what was the process from dance in to academic study? What had to shift?

What where some of the things coming from dance that supported the new journey?

How useful is dance as a lens for viewing and understanding society? - I am thinking here particular around Waikiki to Seaworld.

Interested in dance gender and sexuality- you have written that dance history ought to also consider the history of sexuality, why is it important to considered the role of sexuality in dance?

- What can we learn from making sexuality visible?

- shifts in time (this season has looked at those who have used dance to question the status quo, or have often explored non-normative ideas around gender, sex and sexuality through their work. As well as dancers working in mainstream companies (Chase Johnsey and Harper Watters whose gender and sexual identities are warmly embraced). Dance has not always been such a progressive space, particularly in larger mainstream companies, what has been shifting?

I have just spent the weekend at Manchester Pride and I am always reminded that the body can be an act of protest- the body, dance and the party, taking on a counter narrative? What is it about the 'performing' body that becomes powerful? ......(this thought bubble will need some working as a questions)

I am interested in the shifts in desire and the ways that desire has informed dance practice and audience receptions..... (I am sure there will be a question that will form around this). Why has desire historically been downplayed in dance?

In regards to the body, I am interested in talking about the other arenas in which you have explored the body, including that of non-humans and taxidermy. What are there differences in display and presentation of what was moving object?  Does a dance background inform your thinking and curiosity here? 

Data collection, what are some of the weirder things you have witnessed and been apart of during data collection? (I was fascinated by the computer program for bulls sexual release, pet cemetery and many of the other things you listed).   - I am sure there will be other things that will pop up from our discussions here.

You have such a vast range of interests what is it that drives your curiosity? What are you exploring at the moment?

Arts, academia, journalism, science and other central pillars of society are currently being questioned and blatantly attacked and disregarded by certain political leaders, part of the media and sections of society. How do we protect and defend these aspects of society?

Greetings, Andrew,

and thank you for such a stimulating draft of topics and questions!  I am excited to talk about these issues....the linkages of sexuality/dance/and social and political changes over time, and your questions about my own work over time...especially how a concentration on the body and dance continues to inform my recent work in performance studies and in animal studies, are great.

There is a way in which being a dancer, and having been a dancer, has been and continues to be so formative for how I encounter the world. Sometimes I am still shocked when I realize the profound effect that continues to exert not only on my daily life (right now, rehabbing my annoyingly contracting right hip muscles and knowing where my periformis muscle is!) to my larger sense of what an ideal community might be--one in which embodied individuals are free to engage in public discourse with equal impact..  

I am sure i am not at all alone in this, and beyond the issues of sexuality in dance, and of embodiment more broadly, maybe this is a further arena for conversation...what does it mean for those of us who have spent part of our lives as professional dancers, have indeed spent decades learning and teaching in studios, in performing on the stage, (and, given the inevitable aging, and professional concert dance's limited realm for incorporating aging bodies---this is for most of us a part of our earlier professional lives...)--what does that experience as a way of being in the world, as a way of being part of the art world, and as a way of functioning as an adult in a world which largely de-authorizes the arts as a life-long career....have to do with the ways that our careers develop over time? And beyond that, can we talk about the ways in which such a deep involvement in dancing shapes our later concepts of (and hence endeavors in ) action in the world?

This brings us a bit beyond dance studies per se, but since dance studies as we know it now was, since the 1990s largely developed by folks who themselves were not trained in such an academic discipline, which did not exist but had to be invented, I wonder how the experience of being dancers shaped not only the emergent field but also continues to shape actions in the larger world of academia and beyond.  I'm thinking here of work by folks like Susan Foster, Ann Cooper Albright, Brenda Dixon Gottschild, and myself as well as so many others who took that leap from the stage to the page in the early '90s.  

Now it is possible to study for post-graduate degrees in "dance studies" or "performance studies" without having been a professional dancer or performer...this is a good thing of course.    We don't ask literary scholars to be published creative writers.  But this might be a good moment also to think about the origins of that new academic field of "dance studies" and how it relates to "dancing."   Beyond that we might begin to ask also how dancers perceive the world both individually and in terms of political infrastructures (the state support for the arts, for example) that make an ongoing political difference, referring to "politics" in the largest sense of course.  

Here we are in the terrain of trying to think through the current and possible relations between kinesthetic embodiment, public discourse based on embodied categories (race, gender, sexuality, ability, etc.), and the intersection with the power of the state to authorize or de-authorize some relations ( or public performances of some identities, including those of non normative sexuality) and not others, both in the US and in so many other countries abroad, with their own cultural and political specificities--including Australia! (and India which just yesterday de-criminalized same-sex relations.)

While I continue to write about dancing per se (and recently did an article on the politics of movement of forms and practices across multiple communities and countries to take us beyond a simplistic notion of "appropriation" --for the Oxford Handbook of Dance and Politics last year)--my larger concerns now are in theorizing how embodiment functions in both daily life and in the national discourses of belonging and un-belonging, with all of the ensuing impacts that might imply.  such a framing could take us from issues of the funding of ethnically-identified art forms by local governments to so called "ethnic cleansing" in Myanmar with the Rohinga communities.

What does dance have to do with all that??? As dancers and dance scholars we have the ability to articulate how embodied senses of self in the world and how specific embodied practices come to have social meaning, and how those presumed meanings circulate in public discourse, influencing public policy and political claims, with long term and complex results.

Well, now you've got me thinking!!!  I hope we can talk about some of these largest issues of how dancing makes a difference in the world and how dance scholars can step up to claim their broadest scope of expertise in how moving bodies come to matter.

Best,

Jane   

 8 Sep 2018, 15:37A range of Jane’s publications:

 Articles

Desmond, J. (2017). “Make ‘America’ Smart Again”: A Response to Trump’s First 100 Days. Comparative American Studies, 15(1-2), 4-6. DOI: 10.1080/14775700.2017.1406723

Domínguez, V. R., & Desmond, J. C. (2017). Global perspectives on the united states: Pro-americanism, anti-americanism, and the discourses between. University of Illinois Press.

Desmond, J. C. (2017). Reading “America” across and against the grain of public discourse. In Global Perspectives on the United States: Pro-Americanism, Anti-Americanism, and the Discourses Between (pp. 1-3). University of Illinois Press.

Desmond, J. C. (2016). The Sounds of Silence: Commissions, Omissions, and Particularity in the Global Anthropology of the United States. In America Observed: On an International Anthropology of the U.S. (pp. 164-171). Berghahn Books.

Desmond, J. C. (2015). "And never the Twain shall meet?": Considering the legacies of orientalism and occidentalism for the transnational study of the U.S. In The International Turn in American Studies (Vol. 7, pp. 89-102). Peter Lang AG. DOI: 10.3726/978-3-653-03657-2

Books

Displaying Death and Animating Life: Human-Animal Relations in Art, Science, and Everyday Life Chicago University of Chicago Press 2016.

Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World Chicago University of Chicago Press 1999.

Book Contributions

Can Animals Make Art?: Popular and Scientific Discourses About Expressivity and Cognition in Primates Experiencing Animals: Encounters Between Animals and Human Minds edited by J. Smith, edited by R. Mitchell. Columbia University Press 2012.

Animal Deaths and the Written Record of History: The Politics of Pet Obituaries Making Animal Meaning Michigan State University Press 2012, p. 99-111.

"The Sounds of Silence: commissions, Ommisions and Particularity in the Anthropology of the United States America Observed: On an International Anthropology of the United States Berghahn 2017.

Edited Books

Dancing Desires: Choreographing Sexuality on and off the Stage Madison University of Madison Wisconsin Press 2001.

Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance Duke University Press 1997.

Global Perspectives on the United States: Pro-Americanism, Anti-Americanism, and the Discourses Between University of Illinois Press 2017. Desmond, Jane, and Virginia Dominguez

Delving into Dance is currently seeking to raise $3500 for access costs. Podcasts are not friendly to deaf people, who are missing out on the vibrancy and diversity of experiences captured in this podcast. Each Episode will cost about $80 to transcribe. Will you be able to help support this initiative? For more information as well as a list of individuals who have already contributed, click here. Your support is appreciated to keep this project going.
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Delving into Dance Podcast by Andrew Westle, Delving Into Dance - 1M ago
“Complacency will kill the opportunity to make it in this industry.”

Daniel Jaber started ballet when he was aged four, when he attended dance classes with his sister. He recounts seeing In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated, a work by William Forsythe, as a child and it was in this moment that he knew he wanted to become a professional dancer. At 15, Daniel started studying at Queensland University of Technology, obsessed with movement and dance:

“Movement gave me a greater sense of freedom and expression.”

Daniel recounts Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) work Bird Brain and being blown away by the performance of Tanja Liedtke. He loved the work of ADT’s artistic director Garry Stewart due to his ballistic choreography and “savage use of classicism”. In 2003, Daniel started working full time for ADT. He ended up dancing Liedtke part:

 “I still consider that one of my life’s blessings.”

Daniel has danced throughout Australia, Asia, US, Europe and the UK. He has worked with Phillip Adams BalletLab, Joachim Schloemer, Frances d’Ath, Philip Fabre, Clint Lutes, Alison Currie, Gabrielle Nankivell and Ross Ganf.

In 2014, Daniel was appointed the Artistic Director of Leigh Warren and Dancers (LWD). A position he only held for a year, before leaving to pursuing more lucrative opportunities overseas. Since then, he has been working extensively in LA, working on the hit television show Dance Moms as Ballet Master and Choreographer. He also created a work called StarDancer for the largest water screen in the world, in Dubai.

Daniel is also devoted to teaching the next generation of dancers. He runs classes and workshops at different studios, including Transit Dance in Melbourne. His aim is to give young dancers the confidence and skills to pursue a careers in dance.  His advice to young dancers being:

“Complacency will kill the opportunity to make it in this industry.”

Find out more:

Star Dancer

Too Far, Not Far Enough

Nought for ADT

Push & Pull, Dance Moms

Follow on YouTubeInstagram, Twitter and check out www.danieljaber.com/

If you have enjoyed this discussion share it with a friend. Stay tuned for another stimulating episode, hitting the web in two weeks. Check out previous interviews from Deborah Jowett, Gideon Obarzanek, Rafael Bonachela, Stephanie Lake, Lucy Guerin & Anouk van Dijk. You can now find Delving into Dance on Facebook, as well as Twitter, Itunes and Stitcher

 Photo credit: Paul Malek

 

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Delving into Dance Podcast by Andrew Westle, Delving Into Dance - 1M ago

Mette Ingvartsen, photo by Danny Willems

Mette Ingvartsen is a Danish choreographer and dancer based in Brussels. Mette’s work also crosses over in to writing and research, holding a PhD in choreography from UNIARTS, Lunds University in Sweden. Mette established her company in 2003 and has since toured throughout Europe, US, Canada and Australia

Mette’s work often combines choreographic practices with theoretical backgrounds related to human interaction and perception. As a result her work is a combination of dance movement and other disciplines including visual art, technology and theoretical frameworks.  This interview particularly focuses on The Red Pieces; a body of work that explore the history of sexuality, ideas of nudity, pornography and privacy. In these works the body becomes a site of exploration and inquiry. The works that make up this series include 69 positions (2014), 7 Pleasures (2015), to come (extended) (2017) and 21 pornographies (2017).


to come (extended), photo by Jens Sethzman
to come (extended), photo by Jens Sethzman
to come (extended), photo by Jens Sethzman

69 positions questions the boundaries between private and public. Placing the naked body among the audience. 7 pleasures examines seven notions of pleasure. The third piece to come (extended) is based on to come (2005), an early work for five dancers. to come (extended) is revisited with 15 dancers, and explores the relationship between the private and public space. 21 pornographies looks at the ways in which pornography is thought about in society, including in structures of power beyond sex.

This interview covers a range of topics including the role of sexuality in society, #MeToo, relationship between dancer and audience, nudity and desire, power and ways in which dance can be used to question common narratives and systems (including heteronormativity and the patriarchy).

21 pornographies, photo by Jens Sethzman

Selection of productions:

·  Solo negatives (2002)

·  Manual Focus (2003)

·  Out Of Order (2004)

·  50/50 (2004)

·  To come (2005)

·  Why We Love Action (2007)

·  Speculations (2011)

·  The Artificial Nature Project (2012)

·  69 positions (2014)

·  7 pleasures (2015)

·  To come (extended) (2017)

·  21 pornographies (2017)

Upcoming touring schedule:

21 pornographies, deSingel, het Theater Festival, Antwerpen, Sep 6-7

21 pornographies, Festival La Bâtie, Geneva, Sep 12-13

21 pornographies, Festival Crossing the Line / Performance Space, New York, Oct 3-5

The Permeable Stage, Performance Space, New York, Oct 7

21 pornographies, MDT, Stockholm, Oct 16-17

to come (extended) Dansens Hus, Stockholm, Oct 19-20

21 pornographies Dampfzentrale, Festival: Tanz Bern, Oct 26-27

to come (extended) Kaaitheater, Brusssels, Nov 16-17

69 positions National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea, Seoul, Nov 22-23

 Delving into Dance is currently seeking to raise $3500 for access costs. Podcasts are not friendly to deaf people, who are missing out on the vibrancy and diversity of experiences captured in this podcast. Each Episode will cost about $80 to transcribe. Will you be able to help support this initiative? For more information as well as a list of individuals who have already contributed, click here. Your support is appreciated to keep this project going.
69 positions, credit Fernanda Tafner
21 pornographies, photo by Jens Sethzman
21 pornographies, photo by Jens Sethzman
21 pornographies, photo by Jens Sethzman
21 pornographies, photo by Jens Sethzman
69 positions, photo by Charles Roussel This episode is part of a season that explores the different ways people understand and use dance to challenge normative assumptions and ideas. Episodes have included Luke George, Chase Johnsey, Phillip Adams, Justin ShoulderBruno Isaković and remaining episodes of this season will include the voice of Houston Ballet dancer Harper Watters.
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