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.


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.

“Funk Lessons”, the now classic 1983 video by artist Adrian Piper, screening in parallel with the Amrita Hepi video at the same show, is all about dropping any notion of iconography and joyously diving into your own body’s lust to move. Forget about performing and just be your quirky freedom in motion, no matter what the doyens of dance may try to tell you. Pick-up some rudimentary tips from Piper’s suggestions about how to get going and join the happy community of blissful movers. Far from blissing out, here its all about the bliss of feeling present, grounded and free. Oh, and you can’t do it wrong because here no one cares to compare you to anyone else, so long as you are true to yourself and also stay connected in the field of shared awareness with your funky cohorts.

The feature I love about Piper’s work is that she gives you permission to put on some head phones, kindly provided in the gallery, and move to your heart’s content. What is more subversive than expressing your own dance? That’s the theme of Piper’s other two videos, “Adrian Moves to Berlin” (2007) and “Please God” (1991) that form part of this show. Step out of the social straitjacket of expectations and hierarchy, ditch the well-groomed structures of estrangement and desperation, and dance.

Also featured in this show are the exquisite artefacts of the Yirran Miigaydhu weavers. These beautiful works incarnate the artists’ circle as a meeting place to share culture and stories. Delicate, handsome and vibrant.

Amrita Hepi, Adrian Piper and the Yirran Miigaydhu weavers are at Cement Fondu, 39 Gosbell St Paddington, until 24 February 2019.



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.