Responding to the polar regions of our planet – the Arctic Circle and Antarctica – North/South is an extraordinary double bill from two acclaimed choreographers, Ina Christel Johannessen and Garry Stewart.
When humans seek refuge in an enclosed space how is their behaviour shaped when lethal weather forces rage all around them? Ina Christel Johannessen’s North sees a collection of odd characters trapped in a shelter amidst an Arctic blizzard. As an artist living and working in the Arctic Circle, Johannessen has witnessed first-hand the rapid changes wrought by global warming and it’s emotional and psychological impacts on the people that live there. North explores the intimate and powerful exchange that plays out between humans and their environment.
Garry Stewart’s South depicts Sir Douglas Mawson’s fateful and dramatic journey to Antarctica as an allegory for our current predicament in the era of rapid global warming. Travelling from Adelaide to the Southern Continent in 1913, Mawson’s story is one of loss and vulnerability in an alien and forbidding landscape.
Premiering in 2019, this is a unique collaboration that sees two legendary contemporary choreographers united to create a powerful new work of tragedy, loss and emotion.
WORLD PREMIERE SEASON
11-14 September 2019, Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre
The Beginning of Nature is a compelling and ritualistic work based upon the idea of rhythms in nature. Humans – and all living forms – exist within a phenomenally complex symphony of overlapping rhythms that constitute the very fabric of nature and life itself. These rhythms are manifested in day and night, the seasons, tidal patterns, migration, hibernation, sleep and waking, weather patterns, the binary of growth and decay and the various systems of the body.
Combining live music and the dancers of ADT, the work explores the forces that nature asserts over humankind despite our continued efforts to see ourselves as separate from nature, and the notion that our bodies are inscribed with the same rhythms that underpin nature itself.
Acclaimed composer, Brendan Woithe, has collaborated with Kaurna consultant, Jack Buckskin, to develop the original score fusing electronica with a string quartet. With live accompaniment by two vocalists, the spell-binding score includes a libretto sung in Kaurna language, the first language of the Adelaide Plains, home to ADT.
To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the passing of prodigious talent, Tanja Liedtke, Australian Dance Theatre presents the return season of construct, an extraordinarily complex and detailed piece, performed with great wit, clarity and emotion.
Performed by the dancers of ADT, construct takes a look at the sharp, rigorous and sometimes curious concept of ‘building’. It inhabits an empty theatre full of possibility – a space in which to construct an existence – a future, a life, a relationship and a dream.
From the first dwellings ever built to contemporary towers, to the shelter assembled from the need to simply survive, the physical act of building a structure, a connection or a dream is rich in metaphor and emotional bonds. Building – collapsing – re-buliding – assembling – disintergrating – always building – slow decay. construct uses inventive movement and simple design to evoke the familiar, the domestic and the unexpected.
construct was conceived and directed by Tanja, and choreographed in collaboration with former ADT dancers Kristina Chan and Paul White. Kristina Chan, Paul White and Craig Bary (who was previously a Rehearsal Director on construct) return as re-mount directors for this latest iteration of the celebrated work.
construct – Heidelberg Premiere Season
1 March 2018 – Tanzbienalle Heidelberg
Presented by Australian Dance Theatre and the Adelaide Festival Centre.
This return season of construct has been made possible by the generous support of the Tanja Liedtke Foundation.
Doppelganger is a new work by Garry Stewart and Australian Dance Theatre, originally created for inclusion in the Versus Rodin: bodies across space and time exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2017.
In Doppelganger, Garry Stewart sets out to parody and reframe the notion of the doppelganger, by annulling the suggestions of horror and foreboding and instead playfully representing this mythical character as delightfully camp, impish and ironically uncanny.
“Doppelganger” is a German word that is most generally associated with 19th century Gothic and Romantic literature, where a protagonist is haunted by a mysterious character who eerily appears as their identical twin. This doppelganger twin is traditionally the harbinger of ill fate or doom, and signals a sense of foreboding, danger, misfortune and the possibility of impending death. There exists a quasi-horror at the idea of the doppelganger, as the protagonist contemplates with great anxiety the appearance of another ‘self’ lurking in the shadows.
The doppelganger fragments identity and dismantles the unified sense of self – one of the central themes of the Versus Rodin exhibition – and gives rise to the connotations of multiple personalities and fluid gender. Traditionally, the doppelganger character was usually male and, at times, hinted of an underlying homoeroticism and latent sexuality.
In ADT’s Doppelganger, 5 dancers wear custom-made masks that are printed with the face of ADT dancer Matte Roffe, whom they shadow and interact with in an evocation of this historical mythical figure.
Garry Stewart’s Be Your Self reveals the precarious stability of the concept of self as the work steps through the conventions we use to construct a singular and consistent notion of ‘I’. In an analysis of selfhood, Stewart situates the body at the centre of his inquiry. In Be Your Self the Australian Dance Theatre dancers are transformed into erupting, powerful, creative entities projecting a plethora of physical images and impressions set to an unpredictable, cartoonish, electronic score.
The staging for the Be Your Self was designed by the New York architectural firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro (MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Award’ recipients). For more of their work visit their website: http://www.dsrny.com
Be Your Self has been co-produced by Grand Theatre de la Ville de Luxembourg, La Rose des Vents Villeneuve d’Ascq, Le Rive Gauche Centre Culturel de Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Centro Cultural Vila Flor and Arts SA’s Major Commission Fund.
Running time 75 minutes (no interval)
Touring party of 20 10 dancers, 1 actor & 9 staff (Technical Director & Tour Manager, Company Manager, Stage Manager, Head Sound & Vision, Head Electrician, Head Staging, Rehearsal Director, Artistic Director, Technical Translator* (*Europe & Asia only)
Freight 1x 20ft sea container
Bump-in Two days (opening second night)
Stage space Sprung wooden dance floor, minimum stage area 12m wide x 12.5m deep, plus 3m wing space each side
Warnings Partial female nudity, strobe lighting and theatrical haze effects.
Other Actor’s spoken text is delivered in English. Technical specifications and stage plans available on request.
In his first work on a German ensemble, Garry Stewart undertook residency in Europe to create his latest work Objekt.
The work was created in collaboration with Germany’s tanzmainz – the contemporary dance company of Staatstheater Mainz, lead by its Director Honne Dohrmann.
Exploring the objectification of humans and how this allows one group to measure, corral, and subjugate another, Objekt is symbolic of today’s socio-political reality.
The work is an amplification of the fundamental condition of humans, who are oriented toward touch, and the manipulation of objects in space and time. We do not exist in a vacuum, but in a universe where we negotiate other physical entities that we relate to through our physiology, perceptions and emotions.
Like objects, human bodies possess qualities such as mass, geometry, space, volume, inertness, and receptivity to forces (such as gravity and propulsion). Unlike objects, humans are constituted out of consciousness, will, desires, cognition, emotions and subjectivity.
Through viewing someone else as ‘the other’ we cease to recognize their humanity and instead our behaviour toward them is similar to our treatment of objects.
In Garry Stewart’s Habitus he explores the relationship between humans, our domestic world and the topographies of nature.
In this fascinating work dancers from Australian Dance Theatre reframe the logic of our engagement with domestic objects – books, ironing boards, sofas and other household paraphernalia – iconic emblems of domestic living that we rarely consider outside of their conventional function. Stewart uses dance as a system with which to situate bodies in a surrealistic, counter-logical and counter-utilitarian relationship to these objects. Through placing them within ‘dance’ he playfully liberates the audience’s understanding of these objects and of ourselves.
What is the final destination for all of this ‘stuff’, this manufactured detritus that we have heaped onto the world? Will nature inevitably reclaim it unto itself?
In the final part of the work the dancers depict our return to our instinctive, animal selves inevitably superseding the fading structures of postmodern humanity.
In his role as Thinker in Residence at Deakin University Motion.Lab in 2012/2013, Garry Stewart has created Multiverse, a new type of audience experience where visually stunning 3D graphics share the stage with three dancers.
Based on ideas from theoretical physics, Multiverse creates extraordinary images that delve into notions such as string theory, parallel dimensions, multiple universes and black holes: ideas that are at the centre of current thinking into how we understand the universe.
Multiverse is one of the first 3D performances to be created by an Australian dance company. Viewed through 3D glasses, Multiverse is an extraordinary new work that combines the power of live dance with the wonder of 3D graphics from one of the great innovators of Australian dance.
Multiverse is co-commissioned by La Rose des Vents, Villeneuve d’Ascq (France), Theater im Pfalzbau, Ludwigshafen (Germany) and Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris (France) and has been made possible through the support of Deakin University’s Thinker in Residency programme, Deakin University’s Motion.Lab and the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects funding scheme (project number DP120101695). Australian Dance Theatre is supported by the Government of South Australia through Arts SA and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its art funding and advisory body.
In Proximity Garry Stewart and Paris-based video engineer Thomas Pachoud (with the support of didascalie.net) worked in collaboration to create a dialogue for dance and real-time video manipulation. The work is primarily an investigation into the body’s interactive participation in the act seeing the world with reference to neurological body maps and the French philosopher Merleau Ponty’s phenomenology of perception.
2014 Green Room Awards:
Best Visual Design – Proximity (Thomas Pauchard (Video & Video Engineering), Mark Pennington (Lighting Design) & Geoff Cobham (Design Consultant))
Best Performance by a Dance Ensemble – Proximity
2013 Australian Dance Awards:
Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer – Kimball Wong for Proximity
Proximity has been co-produced by Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, Le Rive Gauche Centre Culturel de Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, and Arts SA’s Major Commission fund.
Running time 70 minutes (no interval)
Touring party of 18 9 dancers & 9 staff (Technical Director & Tour Manager, Company Manager, Stage Manager, Head Sound & Vision, Head Electrician, Head Staging, Rehearsal Director, Artistic Director, Technical Translator* (*Europe and Asia only)
Freight 1 x 20ft sea container
Bump-in Two days (opening performance second night)
Stage space Sprung wooden dance floor, minimum stage area 12m wide x 12.5m deep, plus 3m wing space each side
Warnings Strobe lighting effects
Other Embroidered text on costumes is written in English. Technical specifications & stage plans available on request.
Mood Machine is 10 – 12 minute animated film directed by Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre Garry Stewart.
If we took the total emotional range over a human lifespan and compacted it into a few minutes what might this look like? In Mood Machine this is represented as a dazzlingly baroque explosion of imagery.
The film explores the choreographic possibilities of the habituated gestures and facial expressions that constitute human emotions. The physicality of human emotions are universal and can be read from one cultural group to another. The way in which emotions are expressed by the body is a type of dance if we think of ‘dance’ as being underpinned by kinetics and rhythmic patterns of the body.
Mood Machine was created in collaboration with cinematographer and post-production editor Brenton Kempster (Zulumu) who has also worked with Australian Dance Theatre on past productions Be Your Self and Held.
The soundscore, which will be realized by a long term Sydney based collaborator Brendan Woithe (KLANG) is an atmospheric electronic score which will also employs digitally altered samples of the sounds associated with human emotions such as sobbing, laughter, sighing, breathing, the heartbeat etc.
Mood Machine premiered at the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival as part of the Made in SA Program.