Tess Eckert is a NSW Northern Rivers based artist who returns for the latest development of the No Difference project held at The Arts Centre Gold Coast 4 – 10 February 2017.
Led by Philip Channells, this project has been a 2-year ongoing partnership between The Arts Centre Gold Coast and Dance Integrated Australia. No Difference engages local Gold Coast and visiting guest artists from Brisbane, Sydney and the NSW Northern Rivers region. At the heart of the project is that we embrace and respect our differences – including negative perceptions of ourselves – regardless of the things that set us apart.
No Difference demonstrates the progress that emerging and established artists working together have made on the Gold Coast – that while being inclusive and supportive, the project also challenges the notion that it is the difference that matters. In fact, the connection between people, regardless of background or ability, is what truly matters.
In No Difference we get to play with our concept of who we perceive ourselves and each other to be and therefore feel simultaneously less attached to a set self-concept and more connected to each other as creative beings. It is really exciting to subvert different identity stereotypes by over-exaggerating and challenging the ways that we all subconsciously perform identity on a daily basis. Tess Eckert
Dancers: Kayah Guenther & Tess Eckert / Photo: Sam James
Other creatives and performers to join this next stage of the process from 4 – 10 February 2017 include Gold Coast-based artists Marissa Burgess, Shenae Howe, Kerrie Scott, Lauren Watson & Gavin Webber (The Farm); Brisbane-based artist Sandi Woo; Sydney-based artists Tom Hogan & Sam James; NSW Northern Rivers-based artists Kayah Guenther, Maitreyah Guenther and Canadian guest artist Meredith Kalaman.
This Project is supported by The Arts Centre Gold Coast Benefactors.
Tess Eckert is an expressive arts activist, facilitator and educator–using dance and other embodied art processes for community building, rites of passage and social justice. Tess moved to the Northern Rivers three and a half years ago from San Francisco after completing her BA degree in Interdisciplinary and Global Studies, which enabled her to live among locals in Latin America, India and Australia where she engaged with cultural studies, contemporary indigenous issues, and the study of local dance forms.
As a teenager, Tess was closely mentored within two unique programs, Natural Highs: Healthy Alternatives to Drugs and Alcohol, developed by Avani Diliger and Surfing the Creative, developed by Melissa Michaels, the first contemporary youth leadership rites of passage rooted in dance. Tess is currently putting tools and training from these programs into practice as youth worker, running the Natural Highs Program for youth in the Northern Rivers. She currently teaches dance classes for adults and youth, and facilitates silent disco jams with residents at Feros Aged Care in Byron Bay. She has performed at Festivals such as The Falls, Mullum Music Fest and Bello Winter Fest with The Cassettes Dance Company. She will perform in Inherit The Wind, a community dance project about the climate, under the artistic direction of Meredith Elton at The Bleach Festival in April. Tess has collaborated with Philip Channells and Gavin Webber in a number or workshops, such as The Beyond Technique Residency, The Corner Dance Lab, The Farm’s GreenHouse Youth Ensemble and most recently No Difference at The Arts Centre Gold Coast. Tess has applied to TanzFabrik dance training program in Berlin, Germany and is hoping to commence the program later this year to extend her dance practice.
Main photo: Alex Clarke / courtesy of The Cassettes