Thursday, 09 April 2020
Two dance works performed at the State Theatre Centre of WA for the 2020 Perth Festival offered exceptional performance opportunities for WAAPA-trained dancers.
Stephanie Lake Company’s Colossus, presented in collaboration with WAAPA and STRUT Dance at the Studio Underground, was a dance work of epic proportions that used a 50-strong cast of local dancers, many of whom were either WAAPA students or graduates.
“Working with Stephanie Lake in Colossus was an amazing experience and opportunity,” said 3rd Year Bachelor of Arts (Dance) student Dior Maddalena. “It was a privilege as a WAAPA student to work with a cast of professionals.”
Fellow student Emily Mulholland also appreciated the benefits of working alongside professional dancers.
“We got to make all these connections with people who are actually out there in the industry, something we usually don’t have time for when studying,” she explained.
LINK Dance Company member Nathan Turtur described how working with a cast of all WAAPA and Perth-based dancers showed the artistic strength of the local community: “It was a rare and wonderful experience to have generations of local artists come and work together.”
In the State Theatre Centre’s Courtyard, a dozen Australian dancers performed Hofesh in the Yard, a double bill of contemporary dance presented bySTRUT Dance in association with the Hofesh Shechter Company.
Hofesh Shechter is considered one of the most exciting artists working in contemporary dance today, renowned for creating dance works that are part dance, part gig and part theatre.
Ten of the 12 dancers were WAAPA alumni: Alex Abbot, Mitchell Aldridge, Scott Galbraith, Celina Hage, Mitch Harvey, Rhiana Katz, Dean-Ryan Lincoln, Nikki Tarling, Russell Thorpe and Robert Tinning.
Mitch Harvey, a 2013 graduate, described how Hofesh Shechter’s very specific and recognizable style of movement taught him about ‘honesty’ in dance.
“The Hofesh movement language is incredibly groovy, it’s raw and animalistic which is so much fun to perform,” he said. “It’s been really good to learn different ways of performing movement and really trying to engross myself in different qualities, textures and ideas to give the movement more depth and meaning.”
“I think the biggest download I took from the project is making sure as performer you’re coming from a very honest place.”
Mitch believes that the way Hofesh in the Yard was set up ‘almost as half concert, half theatre show’ allowed audiences to feel a connection to the works, even if they didn’t have much experience with contemporary dance.
In addition to enjoying working with Sam Corrin, the Hofesh Shechter Company member who restaged the work in Perth, Mitch also loved performing with his fellow WAAPA alumni.
“The fact that we’ve all known each other for quite a few years, we already had relationships and friendships coming into it so I think that helped make the whole project a really fun one to do.”