Last Light 2015

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Myilly Point Park, Myilly Terrace, Larrakeyah

There is a tradition in Darwin that ends our day: find a spot by the ocean and watch the sun set. The red orb sinking quickly into the Arafura Sea, the boats heading home, the day birds roosting as the night birds come to life, the heat of the day is over, the sea-breeze leads us into the star filled big sky darkness – this creates a particular Darwin narrative.

Last Light takes this unassuming story and expands it into the times immediately before and after this phenomenon. Danced upon the dry, stony land within a forgotten park land, looking to the Arafura Sea, Last Light was set amongst old gnarly Milk-wood trees and remnants of concrete paving from long gone housing, demolished when the new suburb of Cullen Bay was being formed.

Twenty-five local dancers aged from 16 to 76 accompanied the setting sun. They, along with the audience, have a personal experience of the evocative and original sound track. This sound, received via headsets, gives a count down to the sunset as well as audience instructions gently leading them through various performance spaces.

Audiences were drawn into this landscape wrapped in sound, whilst taking in images and actions, allowing their sunlit thoughts to melt away. Last Light moves you out of the day, past the blood red sun hitting the horizon, and through twilight into the night.

Beginning with the transition between daytime, work and school, we get a sense of landing from the day. Then imagine a runway stretching to the horizon – towards the setting sun – as the dancers rush to finish the day in preparation for the big moment of sunset. And then? We stop. We allow ourselves the ritual of watching the sun drop below the horizon as we enter the last light. Stars appear individually at first, and then in a rush. Our Darwin night life begins.

Creative Team

Concept and Direction: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Choreographers: Anna Smith (guest), Kelly Beneforti, Shaan Novak,
Darren Edwards, Venaska Cheliah, with input from the cast
Soundtrack: Matthew Cunliffe
Soundtrack vocals: Merrilee Mills

Tracks’ work is created through rich collaborative processes. We are excited in drawing together this year’s creative team. We have engaged four local choreographers from past Tracks’ Choreographic Programs; a guest interstate choreographer and a local composer.

From the 2010 program, Kelly Beneforti, who is our Dance Animateur,is now leading our participation program. Kelly started with Tracks as a youth dancer in Fast, and you may remember her as the red haired City Girl in Mr Big. She went on to study dance at the Victorian College for the Arts. Since kelly decided to return to Darwin, we are thrilled to be able to draw on her local and national skills.

Shaan Novak (Myall), from the 2010 program, can be remembered as a very young performer in the iconic Tracks work 4WD Sweat Dust and Romance. She continued to sweat it out over the years, taking on a lead role in Endurance which was set within the Darwin Velodrome. Shaan is currently a director for the Department of Transport.

Venaska Cheliah completed the 2014 program. Within that same year she completed her Arangatram, (a classical Indian solo dance exam) and took on a solo role in Zombies in the Banyan Tree, choreographed by Desak Putu Wati and Jess Devereux. She did all this while concurrently studying to be a doctor.

Darren Edwards would be best known to most people as a lead dancer with Gary Lang NT Dancers, seen in Goose Lagoon, Mukoy, and Inspired. He finished the 2015 course. Darren has also branched out into several theatre shows in Darwin.  Having danced in many Tracks shows, notably in Crocodile Man Pineapple Woman, Eight to Eighty - The Architecture of Age, and Future Age with Darryl Butler of the Grey Panthers. Darren has just return from performing at the Sydney Festival, and Dance Massive in Vicki Van Hout’s work, Long Grass.

Anna Smith is our guest interstate choreographer. She is based in Melbourne and works as a choreographer, educator and community artist. She has been awarded two of Melbourne’s performing arts Green Room Awards. She is best known in Darwin for her work with Casuarina Senior College dance students which has often been performed at local events such as Seabreeze Festival. Tim and Anna first worked together in 1989/90 in Tasdance, (a company of which David McMicken was a founding member,) on the works Orville’s Outing, and The Seed is On The Ground.

Matt Cunliffe has created the original soundtrack for Last Light. He is the owner of Subsonic Music & Sound. Mastering. Mixing, engineering, composing, playing for bands, Matthew’s life is music. He has worked with groups and artists such as Yothu Yindi, Gurramul, Salt Water Band, Annie Gastin, Jillaine Jones, and Gary Lang NT Dancers. Matthew has excelled at getting the sound right in our often challenging outdoor venues like the Darwin velodrome for Endurance  and the Tanami Desert for Milpirri. We have used his talents on over 20 Tracks Dance productions.

We love Mark Marcellis’s sunny poster image that he has created for this show. Mark is a photographer and graphic artist and currently the editor and art director (along with Tim Palmer) of Resident Magazine. He has been the creator of the iconic images of our posters since 2001 with the first being Rivers of the Underground. In 2014, we had a Poster exhibition Our Community Is Our Company at the Darwin City Council Community Gallery space to celebrate the entire history of our work with Mark.

Performers

Angelita Gargoyles, Chloé Lauverjon, Donna Grossule, Elle Chandler, Heidi West, Jemma Stanley, Kelly Beneforti, Leanne Eltagonde, Luxmy Chandran, Natalie Hafsteins, Penelope Paton, Tully Doole and Ruttiya McElroy

Grey Panthers Seniors Dance Group: Jenni Sanderson, Ellen Hankin, Marge Duminski, Darryl Butler, Patricia O’Neill, Maria Vlastuin, Antonietta Vanzella, Janine Sutter, Carmel Alderson, Judith Allen, MaryAnn Hinton, and Val Hristova

Production and Promotions Personnel 

Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Stage Manager: CJ Fraser Bell
Production Assistant / Audio Technician: Angus Robson
Production Crew: Mark Gray, Kadek Hobman, Finn Willliams and Jessie Davis
Promotions/Publicity: Agnès Michelet and Clancy Breasley
Front of House Manager: Sally Crawford
Head Steward: Charlie Marengo
Last Light Image and Design: Mark Marcelis
Graphic Design: Narelle Sullivan
Advertisement/Film Documentation: Dreamedia
Photographic Documentation: Peter Eve

Scenario 

• Landing Pad – transitioning from the working day
• Runway – towards the setting sun
• Sunset
• Civil Twilight – retiring the day (Original Choreography: Joanna Noonan)
• Nautical Twilight – drawing the star-light
• Astro Twilight – into the dark – last light

Thank You

Darwin Festival staff, Ian Kew, Deckchair Cinema, Vilaisan Campbell and David Turbayne, Roby Taylor, Ian Liang, Darwin City Council, The Department of Lands and Planning, Temporary Fencing Hire Darwin, Palm Springs, McMinn’s Pumping, Dreamedia, Royal Wolf, Darwin Party Hire, Eyesight Security, Silent Disco King, Coates Hire, Wormald Darwin, Darwin Correctional Services, Kailey Coble, Arthur Lariosa, Michael Carr - Production Manager Chunky Move, Lizzie Webb and all of our wonderful ushers and volunteers.

Sponsors

Darwin International Airport, Dreamedia, Southern Cross TV, Brian Tucker

Government Partners

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: Agnès Michelet
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, Agnès Michelet (Ex-Officio Members)

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

Patron: His Honour, The Honourable John Hardy OAM, Administrator of the Northern Territory

Photos: 

Videos 

Media Responses

“Tracks is known for work that speaks of people and place. Last Light is no exception. The dancers are young and old, of varying ability and from different backgrounds. Myilly Point, the harbour and the setting sun are all iconic of Darwin. As a result this contemplative work is less about artistic prowess and more about community and location… Tracks has created a work celebrating the theatre of nature, creating space for the audience to pause and reflect.” Fiona Carter - Real Time

"One of the things I love about a Tracks show is the location. Its obvious Tracks Dance love the city they live in... Not only are the locations unique - the whole experience is. A beautiful piece..." Courts White - Turn It Up (youth magazine)

Audience Response

“Last Light was absolutely stunning. What a special and truly peaceful production” Amy Hetherington

“poignant… beautiful performance”  Katrina Fong Lim 

“It was a very gentle, immersive, happy journey, experienced in a unique and spectacular territory location and if you had invited the audience to get up and dance I think we all would have. I was a bit mesmerised or even hypnotised by the music and the looping dance cycles.”

“I love your vision!! How you bring all those elements and people together is absolutely fantastic.” Marita Smith

“Clever, creative and wonderful.” Tessa Pauling

“It was a beautiful show, well realised and I really admired the significant planning as well as artistic development that went into pulling it together.” Roslyn Dundas CEO Ausdance National

"It's a good show, really interesting. Being there is like being spending time with my mate, the "sunset." Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick

“A lovely meditation to finish the day!“ Britt Guy

“What another brilliant Tracks show, so Darwin, so quality, such good production values, and a great performance.” Tony Shelley

Cast Response

“Working with multiple artists means there is more on offer for me to learn and grow. Working with both beginning choreographers and very experienced choreographers was a great combination of approaches to creating material and I found it to be refreshing to have more than one choreographer.”

“I enjoyed the collaborative nature of dance with varying strengths of each artist and made friendships through the process.”

“Last Light has allowed me to gain knowledge of people involved in the Arts in the wider Darwin community. It has also allowed me to interact with those artists more closely.”

“Being exposed to more choreographers and dancers has been enriching. Also performing 10 shows in a season was good for performing and dance experience.”

“Continuing development of a relationship with dance and dance performance, which is hugely important to my personal health at physical, psychological and social levels. An opportunity to observe and learn from my own responses to the demands that dance and performance make on my own abilities.”

“As always friendship, whether it be with new people that I have never met, or people that I have met before and but haven't seen in a while. And no matter who we are, where we came from, what we just did, we all stick together to support and assist each other when needed. A true dance company.”

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Listen Here

David and Tim chat to Georgia Moodie on ABC Radio National about Last Light 

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