Year of the Dragon - Choreographic Program 2012

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Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts, Darwin

In its fourth year,Tracks Choreographic Development Program 2012 provided workshops, skills development and leadership opportunities for dance artists to find their own choreographic voice. Tracks offered six up-and-coming choreographers the chance to participate in the program, stirring up artistic ambition in the Northern Territory dance community. The artists involved were Bilha Smith, Deni Ranasinghe, Ashley Dougan, Kristi Renfrey, Teddy Suphannabutt and Jacqui Wilcocks. These creative individuals, selected by audition and invitation with a positive bias towards diversity of culture and practice, ranged  in age from 17 - 70 years!

The Choreographic Program was led by Tracks’ Dance Animateur Jess Devereux, a VCA Dance graduate. Jess is passionate about choreographic practice, and draws on a wealth of dance experience in both community and professional contexts. Jess works to generate and inspire lively dance exploration, discussion and artistic discipline in the bi-weekly workshops at Tracks. Jess ran the pilot Youth Choreographic Program in 2009, and has led the subsequent programs ‘10 – ‘12.

Tracks' 2012 Choreographic Program culminated in “Year of the Dragon,” an exciting weekend of public showings on the lawns at Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts in Darwin, Saturday 12th - Sunday 13th May, presenting dance works by the participants. There were live performances, lively Q&A panel discussions and screenings of experimental dance films created by video artist Zoe Scoglio.
The Choreographic Program works towards the ongoing health and vibrancy of the community, fostering more articulate artists and for a greater understanding by the wider community of Northern Territory culture. The program melds Tracks’ skills and expertise with the skills and aspirations of Northern Territory youth and seniors, resulting in a mutually respectful engagement and exchange of dance practice, ideas and knowledge.

Creative Personnel

Program Director: Jess Devereux
Tracks Artisitic Directors: Tim Newth and David McMicken

Choreographers

Deni Ranasinghe, Jacqui Wilcocks, Ashley Dougan, Kristi Renfrey, Theeradet (Teddy) Suphannabutt, Bilha Smith

Deni Ranasinghe - When I was little I took classes in Darwin: Ballet (didn’t like it much), Ballroom and Salsa. Later in life, I took classes in Hip-hop and Sri Lankan cultural dance. I am inspired by Sri Lankan cultural moves and like to pull them apart and put them back together in my own way. My performance experience includes Darwin Show, The Beat, Eisteddfods, New Year’s functions, Cultural dance at the Buddhist Temple, Harmony day, Nutcracker, Ballroom Competition, Salsa functions and school fundraisers. 

Jacqui Wilcocks - I have been dancing for 3 years, since year 10. I love Hip-hop, Contemporary and Lyrical dance styles. I have performed at school events and Darwin Entertainment Centre for The Beat. Year of the Dragon is my first big performance experience. 

Ashley Dougan - I started dancing in 2011, my first experience being at the Arafura Games.  Since then I have enrolled in dance at high school and have performed at the Ausdance NT Dance Expo, Essington School dance events, fundraising concerts and the Australian Youth Dance Festival 2012. I love contemporary dance. 

Kristi Renfrey - My dance experience and training happened at school with Julia Quinn and Sarah Calver from year 9-12. Then with Tracks in Unravel 2010 Choreographic Showing and Crocodile Man Pineapple Woman in the Darwin Festival 2011. I love contemporary dance and have performed at the Filipino club, Harmony day and in theatre plays such as Generation B by Gail Evans. 

Teddy Suphannabutt - I moved here from Thailand when I was 16. I never had any dance experience, never in Thailand. I got inspired from assembly at Darwin High School. I took ESL. Watching all the mainstream dance performances, it came into my thoughts “I want to be like that one day, I want to perform for people.” I dunno if I can dance yet… but I have the idea of what I want to do. My first dance teacher was Julia Quinn in the school system. Then dance technique from Year 11-12 with Sarah Calver. I stopped dancing for 2 years after high school and did a Graphic Design course. I was missing dance. I came back to the dance industry through Tracks. I missed dance like crazy. Tracks gave me a chance to meet people and share my experience. I met Ricky Borg and everything started from there. I dance at Throb, for 4-5 months now as a drag queen. It’s a really new experience. I’ve never lived two lives like this… two lives that are totally different. Being a drag queen is not an easy thing; you have to have that spirit. I have that spirit in me, but sometimes, to be another person, I don’t like it. I am still Teddy. 

Bilha Smith -My dance and performance experience is quite varied. I’ve always performed, ever since I was very young. I did folklore dancing and became an Israeli Folk Dance instructor. I danced in many festivals in Israel. Then I moved to Papua New Guinea and would sing and dance with the women, with the natives of New Guinea. I then studied fine art/performance art and would perform my ritualistic movement. I went on to dance at the Temalpa Institute in San Francisco and worked on dancing my “family of origins”… dancing my “past.” Psychological dancing. Then I aged a bit and did quite a few performances with Tracks! The first one was Olive Pink, where I danced the mosquito. And then last year Pineapple Woman Crocodile Man. I have also worked in theatre a lot, with Darwin Theatre Company, Superstar Production, Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre and Multicultural Women’s Theatre, in many facets of performance.

Production and Promotions Personnel

Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Assistant Stage Manager: Katie Ciesiolka
General Manager: Susan Congreve
Administrator: Gail Evans

Front of house: Susan Congreve, Gail Evans, Stephanie Cvirn and Charlie Marengo

Scenario

  • TO SAND a new dance film by Zoe Scoglio & Tracks choreographers. Conference Room Cinema.
  • The Aging Body  by Bilha Smith
    The persistent struggle and tension between the physical ageing body breaking down and the ‘young mind’ which resides in the body… free to roam and jump… movement extending beyond any limitation. How to reconcile the two? Acceptance. The sound of voice. The voice will go forever, it is a pure flow, an energy wave. Freedom.
    Cast: Bilha Smith and Ashley Dougan
    Music: The Cinematic Orchestra, Celia Bartoli and Fatboy Slim
  • L.Y.L.T  by Deni Ranasinghe
    My piece is about moments in life. The moment when something is weighing you down. The moment you accept it and move on. The moment you realise everything is going to be ok.
    Cast: Deni Ranasinghe, Jacqui Willcocks, Annaleigh Joia Isaacs Greenwood
    Music: Best Coast, Collagé Party and Daft Punk
  • Avoir Peur de L’obscurité (be afraid of the darKness) by Ashley Dougan
    My piece is designed to be emotive. Expressed through high-energy dance phrases and floor-work, I choreographed closely with the lyrical music. The movement style of my piece is influenced by Contemporary and Classical ballet.
    Cast: Ashley Dougan and Hoana Smit
    Music: Missy Higgins and Florence and the Machine
  • Contact Improvisation – Kristi Renfrey and Deni Ranasinghe.
  • Marionettes by Jacqui Willcocks
    I am a puppet being puppeteered, emerging and moving creepily though the space. I develop dark characters through my movement. I am interested in mapping space and blending Street dance, Tut and Contemporary dance styles. I feel at home on the ground and have developed floorwork throughout the choreographic program.
    Cast: Jacqui Willcocks
    Music: Parkway Drive and Skrillex
  • A Flock of Dragons, with audience invited to join the cast for a lead-and-follow dance.
  • Of Angles and Chance by Kristi Renfrey
    I am fascinated with dancing angles, cutting through space and messing with known rhythmic patterns. I seek strangeness in my choreography and experiment with a movement style that is particular to my own body. I have fun testing it and asking others to adopt it.
    Cast: Kristi Renfrey, Deni Ranasinghe and Jess Devereux
    Music: Skrillex
  • One Life, Two Spirits by Teddy Suphannabutt
    Innocent, my story starts shy and sensitive. Learning, starting to know movement and discovering a love for dance. Confused about who I am and scared to come out to the world. Two different lives, two personalities: dealing with two spirits. Accept who you are. Be proud of yourself.
    Cast: Teddy Suphannabutt and Ricky Borg
    Music: MÙM and Fatboy Slim
  • Q & A Panel Discussion, Led By Jenelle Saunders (Saturday) and Sarah Pirrie (Sunday)
  • TO CLAY a new dance film by Zoe Scoglio, Tracks & Dusty Feet Dance Collective from Alice Springs. Conference Room Cinema.

Thank you

Tracks volunteers, Zoe Scoglio, Correctional Services, Corrugated Iron Youth Arts, Wormald, Gavin Perry, Stuart Smith, Barbara and Ann Pitman, Lisa Svara, Michael Halcrow, Jenelle Saunders and Sarah Pirrie

Funding Bodies

Tracks is assisted by: the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and the Northern Territory Government

Tracks 2012

Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory

Artistic Co Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Susan Congreve
Administrator: Gail Evans
Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Dance Animateur: Jessica Devereux
Bookkeeper: Heather Van Anholt
Committee Members: (Chair) David Taylor, (Vice-Chair) Jill MacAndrew, (Treasurer) Glenn Bernardin, (Secretary/Public Officer) Michael Grant, (Ordinary Committee Members) Ken Conway, Nick Papandonakis, Stephanie Cvirn, (Ex-Officio Members) David McMicken and Tim Newth

Trustees: Paul Wan, Anita Toth and Rev Steve Orme

Photos: 

Videos 

Participants Response

"The Choreographic Program has been so much fun. I used to feel nervous in dance classes and stay at the back, but now I feel confident. Developing my dance movement ideas is easier. I stand at the front now and I know how I like to move. I love all the different personalities in our our group and have enjoyed the opportunity to make new friends. My favourite creative task was the one based on narratives. I also loved the workshop when I choreographed on Jess and got to work as the director." Deni Ranasinghe

"I love the Choreographic Program, it’s the best! You get positive and constructive feedback and it motivates you to do something else. My favourite creative task was the Spatial Mapping task. I also enjoyed working with lyrics, listening to music with my earphones and choosing the track. When I listen to my own music to dance with I feel at home with a sense of direction. I love the diversity of the people in the program and their different reactions." Jacqui Wilcocks

"I’ve enjoyed the diversity in the Choreographic Program; the points of difference are nice. The different backgrounds and ideas brought to the studio, the individuality and unique styles. It’s been so much fun! It has helped me a lot to fit into the movement of everything in my life. My favourite task was the Narrative one – we shouted out words, did creative writing and explored characterization. I enjoyed the free flow writing and taking inspiration from the written word to make the scores." Ashley Dougan

"The Choreographic Program has been really good. I‘ve learnt a lot. I like everyone here. And Bilha… I love Bilha. I’ve loved learning so many methods and techniques, and discovering more about my particular way of dancing. My favourite choreographic task was the Miniature Dances. Also the costume workshop." Kristi Renfrey

"I have enjoyed the Choreo Program, the creative process. In general, every task has really challenged me, I feel like in every task we were set, I created new dance moves and ideas, which really is my favourite thing to do." Theeradet (Teddy) Suphannabutt

"I enrolled in Tracks Choreographic Program because I am always putting myself out there to learn, to open my mind and get whatever it is that is coming to me. It was wonderful and always new! Jess was very giving.  Everything she taught me was new to me. Like “scores.” I’d never worked with scores. The other thing that was a gift, was that I was dealing with something very painful and sad… so suddenly the whole program and the tasks (for me) took on a whole new frame… to work through my sadness. The movement I explored came from that place. I really liked the time we worked in the trees and at the beach. Once we got out of the studio into nature, I loved it. I was in my element. Site specific is good for me."Bilha Smith

Audience Response 

"I felt an overwhelming sense of privilege to be in the audience…. The performances were deeply personal, of a professional quality and contained a freshness that is rarely seen. The atmosphere was beautiful under the trees and the integration of ages and personal styles was truly inspiring… Dance Animateur Jess Devereux should be incredibly proud of the bravery and strength that she instilled in every performer to express and share their personal style and story with the audience and each other. The film work was a wonderful inclusion and the collaboration of dance and film given to us was quintessentially Territorian and specifically Darwin" Brian Robertson, producer at Darwin Festival

“As a former participant and regular viewer of the work of the Tracks Choreographic program, this year I was moved to tears by the maturity, finesse, and heartfelt expression displayed in the works of the young and old choreologists.  It was incredible to see such raw expression of personal experience, manifest successfully, skillfully and creatively in dance. It is particularly rare to see such young men dancing from their heart and soul, and through dance speaking of heart and soul.” Alex Jordan

"I thought that each participant showed a level of confidence within their showcased work. The setting and overall feeling for audience upon entering the venue and space was very welcoming and informal, with kids being welcomed to participate in the ‘audience participation’ sections which is always gorgie! I loved watching Jess performing as well as being the co-ordinator of the event. " Julia Quinn

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