Jianna Georgiou is a South Australian-based dancer who, as an Associate Artist of Dance Integrated Australia, is on the rise in her career. During the past six months her work has seen her traveling to Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Nowra and Brisbane doing what she loves most.
Through gaining support from the Australia Council and Next Wave, she is a current recipient of the JUMP national mentoring program. JUMP enables her to work alongside her mentor Lisa Heaven (Adelaide College of the Arts) and Philip Channells (Dance Integrated Australia) who is her personal assistant and support person during this year-long program.
Her mentorship with Lisa includes developing her dance technique skills, new movement vocabulary and devising her own work with and amongst the first, second and third year dancers at the College. Jianna is the second person with Down syndrome who has been awarded a mentorship to attend classes at AC Arts. In 2012, Lorcan Hopper worked with Peter Sheedy (mentor), Emma Stokes, Jo Naumann and Philip Channells (PA’s).
Jianna was recently an Artist in Residence at the Bundanon Trust where she and fellow Adelaidian, Jesse Rochow participated as Workshop Assistants for the Movement in the Landscapes project and as solo artists in the Beyond Technique Residency. Both projects were held at the Boyd Education Centre (BEC) at the Riversdale property which is situated along the Shoalhaven River on the NSW south coast inland from Nowra.
As one of only five dancers selected from a group of 24 emerging and professional artists with and without a disability, Jianna worked closely over a three-day period with Sydney-based artist, Elizabeth Ryan. Whilst the remaining 19 dancers were mainly in doors busily devising group work , Jianna dedicated her days working in the grounds of the property where native wildlife (including kangaroos and wombats) can easily be spotted.
On the final afternoon of the residency, an audience was treated to a aural and sensory retreat during Jianna’s showing. Performing close to the creek’s edge, underneath the trees and on a grassy patch where autumn leaves were perfectly placed, she invited the viewer to close their eyes, listen to the water, the wind in the trees and the birds flying above. Jianna’s work, short and so very sweet, was inspired by a dream where she lay on the grass, bathed in the sunlight and listening to the sounds of nature.
When asked what it was like to work solo, Jianna replied
It was good but it was hard… I wish I could work more with the others next time.
Since returning to Adelaide, she has continued to take class at AC Arts and develop this work. Jianna hopes to be able to present a second stage draft of this ‘untitled solo’ at the Ausdance SA Choreolab season in October.
Photo: Chris Jallard / Red Berry Photography