2017-2018 RESIDENT ARTISTS
Watching Amanda’s work develop throughout the years, one gets a sense of the growth within small structures that occurs. A consistent interest in looped movement patterns informed by deep anatomical knowledge (it’s as though Anatomy Trains was turned into a flip book) sits at the seed of the works, but she also deals constantly with environment, aesthetics, and rhythm so dynamically that it’s easy to pass over the deep compositional work happening. Watching dancers investigate small body tremors and circles that turn into large spatial shifts and fluid group choreography is a gift in Amanda’s work, a joy to see individuals navigating movement structures and figuring out tasks as they go. This is Amanda’s final year of her two-year Emerging Artist in Residence position at Dancemakers, and her 6th working intimately here since starting as a company member in 2011. We are excited to close this time with a co-production of her beautiful work “multiform[s]” with The Music Gallery, giving an opportunity to celebrate her long engagement with Dancemakers and burgeoning choreographic career.
Su-Feh’s work deals with care on macro and micro levels of choreography and life. For the land it takes place on and the first peoples of that land; for the participants she works with, the audience members who enter - clear rules and boundaries set up an environment where a public can feel free to explore and engage with a work, knowing that the space is safe for doing so. With Dance Machine, the clear directives to the audience given with the program - a common favourite being “Don’t Be A Jerk” - lay immediately on the table how and how not to engage with the work and other participants in the space. Entering the machine you are aware that there were people here before you, and that more people will come in as you stay. The rules of the machine create the possibility for different arrival times not to conflict, and for real space-sharing to occur. Su-Feh’s work at large always acts as a criticism of and engagement with the structure of the colonial state, and with Dance Machine and its specific suggestions for care-based engagement, she creates a choreographic suggestion of how we could engage with the structure we live in through respect and consent. That Su-Feh’s work is informed by kink and BDSM practices is no coincidence: it points out the ways that moving constantly from the place of seeking consent in sexual practices can offer a structure of responsible comportment in the world and encounters with others at large.
Antony’s work exists so explicitly in the visual field. My colleague Niomi Cherney, academic and dance person, gave me this definition of the word “techne”: “to bring the immaterial into determinate presence or experience through expression in some kind of language, both art and artifice.” Antony’s work rides a particular expression of this, bringing the immateriality of movement into precision and repeatability, crafted so carefully that one can only assume the decisions have significance. Watching choreography is so difficult - Yvonne Rainer’s aphorism that “dance is hard to see” will never not be a reference point of mine - and when choreographers work specifically on making things exact and repeatable I think so much about meaning. How do decisions get made? What is the reason, the language, for this sequence, this gesture, this detail? The nuance of Antony’s craftsmanship feels grammatical, but at once offering a viewer the reality that any understanding we take away from watching dance can only be partial. It can never really mean anything but our search for definition is sort of the meaning itself. Working in his last year in residence at Dancemakers, Antony will spend time researching a work created for an installation setting in collaboration with a local designer.
Andrea’s works seems to point in all directions in order to highlight one. She works extensively with text, in research and in practice/production. Her work is feminist and critical of the aestheticized female body, and moves across poles like personal/political, vulnerable/powerful, didactic/impenetrable. In practice, in visual terms, her work often is slow in pace with interjections of speed, involves sustained and sequenced stillnesses, and works at a performance quality that I can best describe as absent emotionality: it is like she is having some feelings somewhere but we’re maybe not invited. With her new group work Silver Venus, Andrea is working at, in her words, “interrogating the archetype of Venus and resisting representation” - a mouthful for a dance work, but is in the structure and the invitation of this work that these ideas become visible. The process itself is generative of the material of the work, lending a procreative nature to the work; how do you deal with feminist representations of the body if you are resisting representation? You create a work that is instead enactive of them. This work shows its ideas by enacting them, and asks you to guess how performers are working for a sense of what they’re working on rather than trying to look for it in the visible.