Newcastle's leading contemporary dance establishment was jam-packed on Friday night, September 6, with Catapult Dance Professional Company exhibiting their first open studio event.
The project based contemporary dance company, based on Hunter Street, held a development showing of a new piece. This piece will be one of four to be show on the mainstage next year in a diverse bill of contemporary dance.
All four of the pieces commissioned are to be choreographed by leading Australian contemporary dance choreographers who have had previous collaborations with Catapult Dance.
The bill hopes to provide Newcastle audiences with a variety of styles and practices within contemporary dance by engaging dance makers from a multiplicity of backgrounds.
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These open studio events provide a unique opportunity for contemporary dance lovers to see the creative process behind a finished work. It is rare for audiences to have access to the backstage creative process of a dance performance - and this informative evening delivered just that.
The event showed snippets of choreography that had been created during rehearsals the previous two weeks.
However, rather than focus solely on isolated movement sequences, the evening featured informative question and answer discussions between the audience, dancers and choreographer.
The work was choreographed by esteemed Australian contemporary dancer and choreographer Kristina Chan.
Chan is a 2011 recipient of a Helpmann Award for her strong dance performance, and earlier this year collaborated with the Newcastle Art Gallery in a conceptual piece. She is highly regarded for her recent choreographies that intertwine high quality sound, lighting and visual design.
Chan's work often explores the impermanence of human life and mirrors facets of nature and the natural world.
Thus far, the piece engages seven outstanding contemporary dancers. Skip Willcox, Nicholas Jachno, Mikayla Nangle, Georgia Van Gils, Ella Drian, Alexandra Ford and Eliza Cooper take the stage at Chan's direction.
They glide effortlessly around each other like otherworldly beings, their fingertips and toes quivering with concentration. As they slide along the floor and form shapes with their limbs, one can see the influence of Chan's environmental focuses on their organic quality.
The dancers also took turns speaking to the audience, discussing the cerebral journey that the work took them on. They touch on intellectual processes they utilised to capture elements of the natural phenomena within their movement. Their dedication to the integrity of the movement was clear.
Various combinations of solos, duo and group works present a perfect marriage between physical movement and emotional freedom.
It is a shame that Newcastle's artistic community has to hold out until next year to view the completed work.
Nonetheless, this glimpse into Chan's creation process has revealed an exciting choreographic vision.
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