Engine Room - Choreographic Program 2015

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Darwin Airport Aviation Institute, Marrara

This year's choreographic development course is titled Engine Room, and it explores the mechanics of creativity - the making of new dance. Tracks' Choreographic Program has been running since 2010, and fills a much needed gap in the performing arts sector where our top talent often find they have to go down south to continue their training.

Kelly Beneforti is the director and facilitator of this year's course. Kelly began dancing with Tracks in the production Fast, 2004, on the rooftop car park of the then unfinished Mitchell Centre. Having gone through our youth dance leaders program (and topping the state in her Year 12 exams), Kelly went to Melbourne to study dance at the Victorian College of the Arts. During a break in 2010, Kelly returned to Darwin to partake in the choreographic course. Finishing her degree in 2011, Kelly worked with dance companies and independent artists around Australia. She came back to Darwin to work with Tracks in 2014 and took on her permanent role this year.

Kelly Beneforti shares her thoughts about her first year leading Tracks choreographic program.

Kelly says about the course: “This is a unique environment that develops an artist in many ways. It is about valuing the practice, and committing to the time. The course creates a sense of routine for these artists. They must fully commit to it, to allow themselves to be creative, to explore and to experiment. This is set up to slowly unfold, rather than the pressure of creating product in a short timeframe. The course also offered a diverse group of people to work and learn together, developing a shared experience, as well as individual and unique ideas, styles and processes. The program has many outward ripples, it is exciting to think that what happens during this course has far reaching effects."

New to Kelly as well, Engine Room has been great to allow her to develop the content of the course. “I get to learn as much as the other choreographers, it has opened up my own thoughts about where to begin when making dance. It has been exciting to challenge myself to try and enter their process of making without interfering. I support, and provide provocations in order to open up more possibilities.”

Of this year's intake Kelly says "The group take a very considered approach to problem solving. You really have to learn to take risks in this field, allowing new information into your world view can be difficult. The course allows them to really develop new vocabulary around how to explore both your own ideas, as well as helping others to explore theirs. Real dialogue takes place in the studio.”

This year's aspiring choreographers are: Will Nery, Heidi West, Darren Edwards, Chloe Lauverjon, Risa Watanabe, Kiara Musco and Leanne Eltagonde. They will be performing with guest dancers.

Creative Team

Program Director: Kelly Beneforti
Choreographers: Will Nery, Heidi West, Darren Edwards, Chloe Lauverjon, Risa Watanabe, Kiara Musco and Leanne Eltagonde

Chloe Lauverjon

What is one significant moment in your dance or creative development so far?
Finding one moment is difficult for me. I feel like there have been several key moments that have shaped me into the performer I now am today. My decision to move to Paris was definitely one of them. The acting and physical theatre courses I took and the people I met in Europe have had a strong impact on the way I work and the kind of work I am now producing today.

What is one thing that you imagine for yourself in 5 years?
Having my own workshop space to work on and develop creative projects. That would be awesome!    

What is your favourite dance move?
Fouette turns.

Who is dance inspiration to you?
Sergei Polunin.

Where do you dance out your feelings?
In my room, on the dance floor, on stage, wherever really!

Which song makes you dance no matter what?
'Do your thing' by Basement Jaxx.

Kiara Musco

What is one significant moment in your dance or creative development so far?
A significant moment in my dance/creative development is immersing myself in the creative process. Discovering and uncovering themes, variations, structure, meaning in the visual world. I love interrupting themes and projecting them through both the body and voice.

What is one thing that you imagine for yourself in 5 years?
One thing, in which I imagine for myself in 5 years’ time, is to be happy, simple, but an honest necessity in this world where we are driven by technology, the likes of other people, materialistic items and the media.

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote 'happy’. They told me I
didn't understand the assignment, I told them they didn't understand life." - John Lennon

What is your favourite dance move?
Anything involving the arms and hands, I really enjoy contractions that have a variety of outstretched arms, like Flamenco movements.

Who is dance inspiration for you?
Tanja Liedtke. I fell in love with the way she lived through dance. Through exploring ways in which baggage controls you by wearing the baggage (paper bag) on her head, I just thought this was an incredibly clever and literal way of thinking and could really relate to her creation process.

Where do you dance out your feelings?
In my lounge room late at night with headphones, usually to Ed Sheeran’s song Photograph. I find the night is a nice intimate and honest time to dance.

Which song makes you dance no matter what?
Fred Astaire by San Cisco and Gonna Get Over You by Sara Bareilles.

Will Nery

What is one significant moment in your dance or creative development so far?
Finding movement from visual images.

What is one thing that you imagine for yourself in 5 years?
I imagine being very independent and self-reliant.

What is your favourite dance move?
Head spins.

Who is dance inspiration to you?
Hong 10.

Where do you dance out your feelings?
In my room usually.

Which song makes you dance no matter what?
Single ladies by Beyoncé.

Leanne Eltagonde

What is one significant moment in your dance or creative development so far?
A significant moment in creating my dance work for the Choreographic Program was when I choreographed tutting for the very first time. When the dancers and I did it as a group, I was very pleased with how it turned out.

What is one thing that you imagine for yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I would like to see myself still dancing, performing and hopefully studying to be a choreographer.

What is your favourite dance move?
Anything to do with crumping.

Who is dance inspiration to you?
My father, he was into music and dance- not saying I get my dance moves from him! But the love of dance and music.

Where do you dance out your feelings?
Usually in my room or out in the clubs.

What song makes you dance no matter what?
Usher's song 'Yeah'.

Darren Edwards

What is one significant moment in your dance or creative development so far?
Branching out of dance into performance theatre.

What is one thing that you imagine for yourself in 5 years?
I hope to make a full length film or at least make a few short films.

What is your favourite dance move?
Hard decision but for me SpongeBob Shuffle because it’s fun!!

Who is dance inspiration to you?
Gary Lang because he’s my main inspiration for making a dancer out of me, and his focus on getting a non-dancer into dancing.

Where do you dance out your feelings?
At the rehearsal space mainly because I’m in the zone and I find I can’t dance outside it!

Which song makes you dance no matter what? 
‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams always gets me dancing- not a big fan of the song, it’s just so damn catchy!!

Risa Watanabe

What is one significant moment in your dance or creative development so far?
To show the strongest part of the dancers in their solos in the piece that I have made for the Choreographic Program.

What is one thing that you imagine for yourself in 5 years?
Still happily dancing and choreographing.

What is your favourite dance move?
I don’t have a favourite because I love everything from stillness to jumps.

Who is dance inspiration to you?
That would definitely be Joanna Noonan, because she is the lady who taught me the amazing power of dance.

Where do you dance out your feelings?
Normally dance studios, but anywhere I feel like I need to express my emotions.

Which song makes you dance no matter what?
Any music that I can put emotions to, like ‘Dreaming Alone’ by Against The Current ft. Taka from ONE OK ROCK.

Heidi West

What is one significant moment in your dance or creative development so far?
Part of my creative development was to put thought into the stage positioning. I wanted to apply more unusual/interesting stage dynamics.

What is one thing that you imagine for yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to be in the middle of a university course, hopefully doing part time dance work, as I would also like to have completed a 1-2 year dance course.

What is your favourite dance move?
It’s hard to choose a specific dance move because there are so many, but I like body rolls.

Who is dance inspiration to you?
The Society Hip Hop Crew. Their story to success is so amazing and inspirational and they have a bit of a different style about them in comparison to other hip hop crews.

Where do you dance out your feelings?
In my house by myself.

Which song makes you dance no matter what?
I can’t decide on a single song because I start dancing whenever music comes on, anytime, anywhere. But one choice would be ‘Real Love’ by Clean Bandit.

Running Order

A Dance Revolution by Chloe Lauverjon, performed by Heidi, Kiara, Leanne & Darren
Music: O Superman by Big Science, Listen Now by The Knife & Mad World Instrumental by Gary Jules
“I began with the idea of exploring Industrialisation V Nature. Through improvisation and research this has evolved to the point it has now reached today.”

Alice in Wonderland by Risa Watanabe, performed by Risa, Will & guests Yasna Delo, Roman Delo, Jane Humphreys, and Stephanie Packwood.
Music: Alice’s Theme by Danny Elfman (Alice in Wonderland; Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
“This is a contemporary piece, which focuses on the idea of Alice in Wonderland. I hope to entertain the audience with the theatrical movement and gestures.”

TwoFold by Kiara Musco, performed by Kiara & Kelly
Music: Ambient soundscape featuring L’abandon by Alexandre Desplat and voice over taken from Tia Lopez
“I am exploring themes of hopelessness. This work was inspired by a YouTube talk given by Tia Lopez, an American Entrepreneur and Investor.”
‘No matter how you feel, get up, get dressed, show up and never give up.’

Vulnerable Dimensions by Leanne Eltagonde, performed by Leanne, Risa & Heidi
Music: Unconditional Love by Katy Perry & Illmerica by Wolfgang Gartner
“For this piece, I used images around themes of machinery, lights and technology to come up with movement, and then rearranged them to find different phrases. The images unfolded a story of a vulnerable person being ripped through a mechanical dimension, where they are turned into part robot to become stronger.”

Group Piece directed by Kelly Beneforti, in collaboration with the Choreographic Program participants
Music: Siren Song (feat. Angel Deradoorian), Turtles & Ready err Not by Flying Lotus & Satisfaction by Benny Benassi & The Biz

The Struggle Within by Darren Edwards, performed by Chloe, Will & Kelly
Music: Lacrimosa by Jason Graves
“This piece is about making choices and the stress and anxiety that goes with it, and dealing with it in your own way.”

Empowerment by Will Nery, performed by Darren, Risa & Leanne
Music: Deteriorate by Demon Hunter
“My goal in life is to become a stronger version of my self. Part of that journey to strength and power comes from the aid of friends and companions. I worked with my dancers to mould movements based from their strengths and also moulded movements interpreted from visual images.”

Evolution by Heidi West, performed by Heidi, Chloe, Kiara & Kelly
Music: Faith in Strangers by Andy Stott
“Usually when choreographing, my first step is to pick the music I am going to use. However, when choreographing this piece I created all of the movement and then found a song suitable for it. This allowed me to focus more on movement instead of the beat/lyrics of a song.”

Open Forum: Facilitated by Liz Trevaskis (Saturday), David McMicken and Tim Newth (Sunday)

Production and Promotional team

Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Stage Manager: Kailey Coble 
Photographic Documentation: Paz Tassone
Video Documentation: Amy Hetherington
Stage Construction: Correctional Services Work Parties
Promotions/Publicity: Clancy Breasley and Susan Congreve
Catering: Knock About Chefs
Graphic Design: Mark Marcelis and Narelle Sullivan

Thank you

Darwin International Airport, Liz Trevaskis (Forum host)

Front Of House volunteers: Thevi Chelliah, Noya Chong Wah and Stephanie Cvirn

Sponsors

Dreamedia, Southern Cross TV, Darwin International Airport

Funding Bodies

Tracks Inc is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.

Tracks 2015

Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Susan Congreve
Administrator: Clancy Breasley
Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Dance Animateur: Kelly Beneforti
Bookkeeper: Heather Van Anholt
Geek in Residence: Jeffrey Withaya Campbell

Committee Members: Michael Grant (Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin, (Treasurer) David Taylor, Ken Conway, Stephanie Cvirn, Mary Durack. David McMicken, Tim Newth, and Susan Congreve (Ex-Officio Members)

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Ippei Okazaki

 

Photos: 

Videos 

Audience Responses

“It is such an amazing opportunity for our local dancers to experience and be able to attain valuable knowledge from our experienced choreographers…”  - Tina McCourt

“I was so inspired by the diversity... The energy each performance had was so enduring and provoked me to seeing this art form in a new way… I left this year’s showing feeling so inspired by the ways you can create movement.” - Tahnee Cvirn

“... showed both craftsmanship and creativity demonstrating skilful organisation and intelligent direction by its Facilitator.” - Marita Smith

"One of my favourite sections of the showing was the physical exploration by the choreographers, led by Dance Animateur Kelly Beneforti, that gave a visual demonstration of the concepts explored during their choreographic development time together. It was a beautiful moment onstage." - Julia Quinn

Participants Responses

“Towards the end of the tasks and exercises [I realised] I’m not thinking the same way that I did before, I’m thinking more like an artist than a dancer… my thinking process was different. I felt something’s changed in me, and I’ve learnt something from this program.” - Leanne

“A lot of us, we’ve always been the dancer… always been told what to do. So, to get out of that mindset and realise actually I’m at the steering wheel now, I can decide what’s in it and what’s not, can be really hard, really daunting.” - Kiara

"For me it was nice to start working with other dancers… seeing how people respond to ideas and how I’m able to project ideas in my mind in a way that the dancers can understand and enjoy.” - Chloe

“[Being] open to creating, and trying, and experimenting. I think that’s what originally captivated my curiosity for the course.” - Kiara

“This is the first program of dance that I’ve done outside of school. And also I wanted to meet different dancers that I didn’t know in Darwin.” - Will

“The choreographic program has advanced and extended my skills and abilities through teaching me new tools to create movement and new ways to think about the creation process. As well as confirming the need for discipline, persistence, patience and faith.” - Kiara

“We were all from different backgrounds and similarly all our dance styles were very unique to one another. The program allows us and the audiences to observe these different styles of dance, especially as our pieces are so raw when performed.” - Heidi

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