Keir Choreographic Award: Finalists Announced

This image: Luke George and Collaborators Erotic Dance. Photo by Sarah Walker
Banner image: Amrita Hepi. Photo by Marielle Sales

The finalists for the  Keir Choreographic Award are Amrita Hepi, Luke George, Melanie Lane and Nana Biluš Abaffy .

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.

Melanie Lane: Gregory Lorenzutti For Dancehouse

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.

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.

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.

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 Bilus Abaffy: Gregory Lorenzutti For Dancehouse

You can view a trailer for the Keir Choreographic Award on YouTube.  The four finalists will perform in the final series at Carriageworks  [Facebook15–17 March 2018, to compete for the accolade of the $30,000 Award and the $10,000 Audience Choice Award announced on the 17 March 2018.