The Beyond Technique Residency was the first international disability-inclusive dance residency at the Boyd Education Centre (BEC) at Bundanon Trust’s Riversdale property for Dance Integrated Australia. Twenty-four dancers were selected from across Australia and New Zealand and congregated at the BEC for this 3-day event which focused on developing solo and ensemble practice. Dancers without a disability were the minority – a rare occasion in dance in Australia.
Sydney-based independent dancer, Elizabeth Ryan (The Fondue Set) was a guest artist for this event and predominantly engaged in the outdoors of the Riversdale surrounds with the solo artists: Wendy Erickson, Georgia Cranko (NSW), Jesse Rochow, Jianna Gerogiou (SA) and Joshua Pether (WA). Elizabeth individually guided the five dancers to make the first sketching of new solo work and was assisted by costume designer Sean Campbell (17eightynine) who worked closely with Jianna throughout her practice.
An audience was invited to attend a showing on the final afternoon of the residency. In promenade style, they were firstly treated to a creek walk on the property to witness Erickson’s 10-minute butoh-esque work which ended in the audience placing a rock on her semi-naked, lifeless body. A grassy hill usually occupied by wombats and kangaroos in the early evening was the backdrop for both Rochow and Cranko’s first treatment work. Georgiou, who choose to work close to the water and under a tree near the property’s entrance, invited the audience to witness her basking in the grass and autumn leaves at close range. Pether, who had been on the entire journey without the audience realising, suddenly broke away walking slowly out into the woods and into an amphitheatre in the final solo. His 10-minute work which left the audience gasping when he suddenly disappeared was performed close to the river’s edge in front of the Boyd Education Centre.
Since I mainly worked with Elizabeth Ryan, I was initially hesitant to share some of my ideas because I didn’t know her previously. I found it incredibly challenging to trust my own creative judgment and way of moving, which are the pitfalls of working solo, but it was a growing experience for me. Georgia Cranko
The dancers working in the ensemble group consisted of Lyn Cotton, Alys Webster, Duncan Armstrong (NZ), Ali Phillips, Alexandra Cerullo, Sam Leahy (Qld), Zachary Mifsud, Maxamillian McCauley, Sara Tinning, Alexandra Fincher, Ashley Kuhle, Christopher Bunton, Digby Webster, Zahra Smith, Chanel Leaudais, Tanya Voges (NSW), Bhenjamin Radburn, Shuling Wong (WA). The audience met them firstly on the outside of the BEC building where they entered one by one to rest in separate bays. Here they then showcased their solos and ensemble work which was inspired by a barefoot silent creek walk experience. After the dancers disappeared back into the building one by one, the audience then entered the BEC to witness other smaller group work before they learnt more about the process during the past few days.
The silent stuff was new for me, it changes things [in a good way] and the walking in bare feet in the forest – engaging with landscape and nature – I’ve never done that in a dance context in NZ, and we’ve got heaps of nature. Duncan Armstrong
Click here for the artery magazine article.
The next Beyond Technique Residency 2014 is already in the planning stages. If you would like to learn more about this opportunity to work with Philip at Riversdale, please telephone +61 (0)432 073 304.
Photo: Chris Jallard / Red Berry Photography