Keir Choreographic Awards Announce Finalists

Keir Choreographic Awards Announce Finalists

The Keir Choreographic Award is Australia's first major choreographic award presented by the Keir Foundation, Carriageworks and Dancehouse with the Australia Council. The Keir Choreographic Award is a national biennial award dedicated to commissioning short works and promoting innovative, experimental and cross-artform practices in contemporary dance. The award invites Australian professional artists with an established practice to propose a choreographic idea for an original live performance of no more than 20 minutes.

The four finalists will perform in the final series at Carriageworks 15-17 March 2018:


Concept/choreography: Amrita Hepi
Performers: Jahra Rager, Tyrone Robinson, Sarah Vai
Set Design: Alice Joel
Music: Daniel Von Jenatsch, Sarah Scott

Is it possible to transcend class through movement, or do society's inscriptions remain firmly imprinted on the body?

Three performers conduct an embodied exploration of cultural corporeality, navigating a complex entanglement of the theatre's social function, a motorbike and it's ensuing somatic assumptions. They have you surrounded. Dualities intersect, as codes switch 'n cruise the oily spectres of colonialism: the civil versus the savage, loneliness, joy, survival and the fantasia that surrounds colour and the body. Through sound, monologue, and all-consuming physical presence, performers blaze through dances of social mobility over time. A Caltex Spectrum unravels your material multiplicities.

AMRITA HEPI is an artist working in dance, choreography, performance, video and installation. A Bundjulung (AUS) and Ngapuhi (NZ) woman, her practice ensues probing intersecting ideas of authenticity, the perpetuation of culture, tradition, and a 'decolonial imagination' - and questioning where this now resides within a contemporary framework. Her work has taken many forms but always begins from working with the body as a point of archive, memory and resistance. She is a member of the Western Australian Dance Company OCHRES and has worked collaboratively with Victoria Chiu, Marrugeku, Melanie Lane & AmosGerbrahnt, Bhenji Ra and Force Majeure. Amrita trained at the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) dance college, and Alvin Ailey American Dance School, New York. She has been an artist in residence at BANFF centre for the arts Canada and ACE OPEN South Australia. She has exhibited and performed at Sydney Opera House, Next Wave Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Carriageworks, TEDX, Banff Centre Canada, Art Central Hong Kong, DARK MOFO Tasmania and Impulstanz Vienna.


Concept/choreography: Luke George
Collaborating Performers: Luke George, Latai Taumoepeau, Timothy Harvey, Brooke Powers, Leah Landau
Collaborator (Media & Technology): Nick Roux

A social choreography
A collective negotiation between bodies, objects, artist and audience

Using conflict resolution principles (an alternative and highly effective method used to bring disagreeing parties to a non-violent understanding) the group is set the physical task of moving a difficult object from one place to another. This is the starting point for a choreographic investigation into groups and group processes. From socially engaged artistic practice through to creating experimental performance pieces, the trajectory of Luke George's work grapples with ways we experience presence and the present, in order to look for alternative ways of being that are to do with interactivity and intimacy in the context of performance. Through PUBLIC ACTION, Luke delves into the relational politics within spectatorship and audienceship, investigating how such politics intersect with embodiment and empathy.

Luke George creates new performance work through experimental creative processes with collaborating artists. Luke takes daring and at times unorthodox approaches to exploring new intimacies and connections between audience and performers. His works have been presented extensively throughout Australia, Europe, Asia and North America. Since receiving his B.A. from the Victorian College of the Arts, Luke has collaborated and performed in the works of many acclaimed dance and theatre companies, music, visual art, live art, socially engaged projects, and queer clubs in Australia and internationally. Luke was recipient of Melbourne Fringe Awards (1999, 2013), Asialink Residency (2005), Russell Page Fellowship (2007), Greenroom Award for Best Male Dancer (2011), and commissions: Sydney Opera House (2006), Keir Foundation (2008), Lucy Guerin Inc (2010), Phantom Limbs (2013), Chocolate Factory Theater (2014), Phillip Adams Balletlab (2015), Campbelltown Arts Centre (2016). Luke is a 2018 recipient of an Abbotsford Convent Foundation artist residency.


Concept/choreography: Melanie Lane
Performers: Melanie Lane, Chris Clark
Music: Chris Clark
Costume Design: Paula Levis

Personal Effigies is a synthesis of constructed bodies for a singular body, drawing from avatars, puppets, dolls and effigies. Lived experiential histories and fantasies of a future body come to form a series of imaginary archetypes that examine the boundaries of the animate and inanimate. Dressing and undressing the body speaks to how we seek out echoes, replicas and transformations of ourselves as we attempt to navigate the increasingly slippery ecologies that we inhabit. How do we design our shells, conjure our ghosts or distill our souls? In collaboration with musician Chris Clark and costume designer Paula Levis, a storytelling of romance and morbidity unfolds. The artificial and the natural, intimacy and its melancholic impossibility, are negotiated in this solo dance.

MELANIE LANE is a Javanese/Australian choreographer and performer. Her choreographic practice examines the body in negotiation with materiality, physical histories and training methods. Based in Europe from 2000-2014, Melanie worked with artists such as Arco Renz, Club Guy and Roni, and Tino Seghal performing internationally. In 2015, Melanie was appointed resident director at Lucy Guerin Inc. and has created new works for Chunky Move and Sydney Dance Company. Melanie has established a repertory of works presenting in international festivals and venues such as Tanz im August, Uzes Danse Festival, Arts House Melbourne, O Espaco do Tempo, Festival Antigel, Dance Massive and HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin. She has been artist in residence at Dock 11 Berlin, Tanzwerkstatt Berlin and Schauspielhaus Leipzig. As a teacher, she has taught for companies such as Carte Blanche Norway, Sasha Waltz and Guests, Chunky Move, Danish Dance Theatre and Skanes Dansteater among others.


Concept/choreography: Nana Biluš Abaffy
Performers: Milo Love, Geoffrey Watson

This piece is about the brutal dance marathons of the great depression, where contestants danced continuously for up to 7 months and audiences could come and go 24 hours a day to watch - an early form of reality TV. Unemployed people entered the competition because they were given food but had to keep dancing while they ate it. They were only allowed to sleep for 10 minutes at a time, so many went crazy, committed suicide or died of exhaustion. This piece is also about the strange discovery that Michelangelo's only known self portrait is in the form of St Bartholomew's skin - a saint who was crucified upside down, skinned alive and beheaded. It's about VR feeling more real than R. About VR empathy, public beheadings and the toppling of one image of power with another. But still getting lost in the plenitude of the human body.

NANA BILUŠ ABAFFY is an artist with a background in philosophy and a foreground in experimental performance and dance. Nana takes a maximalist approach to the artistic endeavour and works through dance, text, play, moving image and social intervention. She is interested in the pursuit of knowledge through embodiment and wants to know what her body is looking for. Nana believes that there is irreducible variation in the human experience and works towards establishing a space for that difference in search of landscapes where alterities can be envisioned. She is the founding member of a secretive collective that performs in explicitly illicit spaces and enjoys engaging in mixed up reality, ChoreoGraphic acts of extreme tree hugging, and site specific protest dancing.

Photo Credit: Sarah Walker

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