‘In this digital age we are so connected to our phones, our computers and social media that it can create a physical disconnection. The digital age is a fabulous thing, but in some ways it is not. In being so connected through our devices we are losing the human-to-human connection and also the connection to ourselves.’ – Ruth Osbourne, Artistic Director QL2 Centre for Youth Dance
We at Leiden have recently been talking about the benefits of creating and maintaining connections within our community in our Building a Healthy Lifestyle series so when we found out the theme behind the latest contemporary dance work by QL2 Centre for Youth Dance was exploring connections, we were excited to find out more.
The 32 young dancers in QL2 Dance’s Connected are used to connecting online, however, for this new original performance they have worked with renowned dance artists Sara Black, Kristina Chan and Lingua Franca to create three works about connection using just bodies, movement and some very loud voices. Connected is presented as a triple bill of diverse pieces performed by QL2’s Quantum Leap ensemble made up of young contemporary dancers from Canberra and the surrounding region alongside visitors from Thailand, Perth and regional NSW.
Connected explores the concept of what it means to connect and all the different ways we can connect. Artistic Director QL2 Centre for Youth Dance, Ruth Osbourne explains: ‘The three works all explore different types of connection; Sara Black’s work, Act of Contact, explores the concept of touch and reactions to touch, Kristina Chan’s work, Infinite, is about the environment and nature and not being in the environment but being the environment and Lingua Franca’s work, All Our Might, explores the concept of strength, physical and personal scrutiny of what it means to be strong.’
Whether we are connecting with others, connecting with our environment, or exploring a connection to ourselves, connection is part of what we do everyday. ‘We try to look for a different concept every year and make it different from the last,’ says Ruth. ‘The most important part of choosing a theme is that it’s important to the dancers and hopefully a message that is important to the audience as well. We are looking for a concept that is as intellectual as it is physical.’
‘I want the dancers to come away from each QL2 project with an understanding of what the concept is about. We want the dancers to have an experience that encourages them to be open minded and looking at the world from different perspectives so that the whole QL2 experience is of value to their lives. We are developing artists as well as dancers that are physically able. It’s about creating the thinking artist. Engaging in QL2 projects definitely challenges the way dancers think about dance and think about life. I am always looking for that when choosing a theme and this why we chose to explore connection.’
The theme of connection has certainly made an impact on the dancers. ‘Through this creative process it’s really opened my eyes; I see more of what is going on around me,’ says QL2 dancer Ruby. ‘I’ve come to realise we have many connections. We have connections to photos, memories, the environment and animals. It’s not just about the connections we have with other humans.’
Another dancer, Natsuko, also sees the performance as broadening her understanding of the scope of connection. ‘I thought connection was just about communication and language, but now since creating this show, I’ve learnt so much about the different types of connection. My understanding of connection has expanded.’
Will, aged 24, is a visiting dancer from the Blue Mountains. Connected is his first show with QL2. ‘In the context of this show, I’ve joined QL2 as a visiting dancer. I am navigating a new environment and this means new people and new experiences. I don’t have any connection to them, so this has been a part of this idea of what connection is and how I relate to people in a new environment.’
Through the creative process, QL2 aims to bring together community and professional practice so that young people can develop as artists while producing thought provoking, high quality dance work for a wide audience. Connected is a powerful, engaging performance and one that is certainly not to be missed.
Wednesday 27 July – Saturday 30 July at 7pm
+ 30 July at 2pm
02 62752700 CANBERRATHEATRECENTRE.COM.AU