All posts by Eric Shumsky

Eric did interdisciplinary studies at Sydney and Murdoch Universities, spanning the gamut of the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences – a pursuit that used to be called “a liberal education”. His central locus of perception – measure of all things – is Shakespeare. His chief literary project is writing a book on radical moral philosophy, challenging the core assumptions of secular and religious taboos, in order to protect the right of all people to share in prosperity and to freely determine the choices they make, unthreatened by violence and unburdened by poverty.


When Marcel Duchamp entered his masterpiece “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” in 1912 in the progressive, innovative Salon des Indépendants exhibition organised by his fellow avant-garde artists, his liberal-minded, cutting-edge colleagues rejected his painting.

Just a few years ago, a prestigious director of a leading, world-renowned art gallery was asked whether Duchamp’s infamous “ready-mades” (mass-produced, common, found objects) were art; the answer was an unequivocal no.

Duchamp had helped to originate conceptual art (gestures, performances, happenings, instalments, video, words, literary texts and ideas, themselves deemed the work of art,): expression that opens our eyes to see children, women, men, people of diverse sexual identities, and the whole world anew. Continue reading A RESPONSE TO DUCHAMP : THE INDISPENSABLE REVOLUTIONARY


Yes, the first person walked on the moon and came safely back home.

And yes, the Sydney Dance Company burst onto the scene and brought contemporary dance to a city that was in the throes of psychedelia, flower-power and the draft to send our boys to Vietnam to clean-up what we now call terrorists.

Appropriately, for its 50th birthday, the Sydney Dance Company commissioned choreographer Gabrielle Nankivell to take us to outer-space on a rocket-ship journey to that ethereal sphere where ether, the mythical element that lets earth, water, fire and air form the world, primes senses to set them free. Continue reading SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY SEASON 1 @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE


To break the chains that turn flesh rancid and to breach the fetters that bind the heart, takes the gall and grit that only a freak of Shakespearean audacity can ignite without being consumed in the brazen fire of Art.

Very few have what it takes to throw off the well tried practice of well worn kudos and established norms and come out triumphant. Among the rare, happy few is choreographer Shaun Parker.

If you want to be blown away by a choreographic language as gutsy and heart wrenching as Shakespeare’s poetry, don’t miss KING by Shaun Parker and Company.                   Continue reading KING : DARE TO DANCE THROUGH FEAR


Amrita Hepi’s video installation “The Pace” at the Paddington gallery Cement Fondu showcases the human body in its inspirational gift to move, play and dance. This video installation cheekily, metaphorically says “break out of any customary ruts into insouciant and authentic embodiment of skipping through your life.” Pick up the skipping rope of your creativity and have some fun at the expense of staid and stuck-up conformity. Continue reading MOVE BABY MOVE @ CEMENT FONDU



When an irresistible force converges with its irrepressible match, heaven and earth meet.

Cross classical ballet with figure skating on ice and you get a tantalizing blend. Add some of the most accomplished performers in this seductive genre, and the result is shameless delight.

Swan Lake on Ice, performed on Wednesday 25th July by the Imperial Ice Stars at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, showcased the innovative choreography of Tony Mercer. In the course of developing the company, the Imperial Ice Stars, Mercer had assembled a first class creative team for each production, from such eminent athletes as dual Olympic figure skating gold medallist and four-time World Champion Evgeny Platov, quadruple Olympic gymnastics gold medallist Alexei Nemov, and former ice dancing pairs World Champions Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski. Continue reading SWAN LAKE ON ICE @ THE CAPITOL THEATRE


Swift as wind. Supple as water. Grounded as surely as the summit of a mountain nimbly flits through fleeting clouds, and stays irrefutably present.

The spry air is charged, set alight by the fiery lightning that strikes from dancer to dancer and shoots through the audience.

The space between dancers is at once brimming with intercourse and fully, delectably pregnant: opening a boundless wellspring of infinite flow and limitless directions in which to move.          Continue reading SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY’S ‘ORB’ @ THE ROS PACKER THEATRE


Featured image – Olivia Kingston, Raegan Williams and Alex Warren in Limitless Dance Company’s ‘Se7en’ at the NIDA Playhouse.

When does synchronised motion stop mimicking a machine and, instead, move like a flock of birds in flight?

When do the constituent parts of animate limbs stop being mere tendon, muscle and bone and, instead, soar like the wings of an eagle?

When do individual dancers stop moving in brilliant unison and, instead, let one another’s individuality brilliantly move each dancer into living intercourse with the whole, much like the wind can rouse the leaves of a tree to leap, each leafy blade shimmering the other? Continue reading LIMITLESS DANCE COMPANY IN ‘SE7EN’ @ THE NIDA PLAYHOUSE


From where does an accomplished dancer dance? From every pore of their body.

From where does a very accomplished dancer dance? From every pore of their body inspired by the heart.

From where does a supremely accomplished dancer dance? From every pore of their body inspired by the heart and reflected through their eyes.

Enduring is the joy, infectious, exquisite and soul melting, that is caught from dancers performing in full intercourse, not just with an apt freedom to effect poetry in motion, but to share the flight to naked bliss through their eyes. These are the inestimable moments which we, the audience, crave.

A superlative example of dancers who penetrate each other’s soul as well as the audience’s heart, was provided by Amy Harris and Brett Simon of the Australian Ballet who stood out with their performance in the title piece directed by David McAllister, at the Joan Sutherland  Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Brintley originally choreographed the work for the Royal Birmingham Ballet in 2012 in anticipation of the London Olympics.

Harris and Simon dance the roles of two wrestler-fighters competing in an Olympic games. Watching them perform is like  being privy to seeing elite athletes undress each other from the strictures of sublime sport to the subtle intimacy of tremulous love making.

For me, it rekindled the excitement that I experienced in the incomparable engagement and spine tingling connectedness of the two nude dancers from the Sydney Dance Company who achieved a mesmerising feat of delicious intimacy  as they performed in front of the painting The Wrestlers – a painting then on show in Sydney from the Tate Gallery.

With this production of David Bintley’s FASTER, the Australian Ballet boldly break the grammar of classical ballet and explore the gutsy beauty of contemporary dance.