Flora, Fauna and Challenging History – Bangarra’s Dark Emu


  Following up a critically acclaimed show that has enjoyed a sell-out season is always going to be tricky, but for Bangarra, Australia’s indigenous performing arts company, story telling is in the blood and artistic director Stephen Page has seemingly no shortage of inspiration. After exploring the story of Woollarawarre Bennelong, a senior man of the Eora, in Bennelong last year, Bangarra’s new work Dark Emu moves away from narrative and instead delves deep into the academic. Inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s book of the same name, Dark Emu challenges the hunter-gatherer tag that has been applied to Australia’s first peoples… Continue Reading

In Conversation with Eloise Harpas: Dance, Body Image and Making it in the U.S


  Eloise Harpas is a twenty-one-year-old professional dancer who has just returned home from the U.S. after a three-month scholarship at the Broadway Dance Centre in New York where she was awarded the ‘Outstanding Student Award’: the only Australian on a three-month scholarship to win it. After jumping on a plane with the intention of completing the three-month course in New York and the goal of being noticed within the U.S industry she successfully made connections in the Big Apple. Eager to push herself further, she extended her trip to Los Angeles to see what she could achieve in the… Continue Reading

Seeing Red with ACT Artist of the Year Liz Lea


Photo: Lorna Sim Photography   After taking out the 2017 ACT Artist of the Year at the end of last year you might think choreographer and performer Liz Lea may be content to rest on her laurels, at least for a couple of months. Instead, on International Women’s Day she unleashed RED, a fearless one-woman show exploring intensely personal experiences through the mediums of dance, film and word. Through captivating moments that vary from brash and bawdy to show-stoppingly minimal, Liz bravely shares her story of living with endometriosis and the difficulty of coping with the associated pain of this… Continue Reading

6th Position is Back for 2018


  When I think about ballet an expression my old dance teacher used to describe it always springs to mind. The Pink Dream. Contemporary dance has never enjoyed the mass appeal of its ballet cousin so the term, however apt, may have been intended as derisive. What draws little girls and boys to ballet as children is indeed that elusive pink dream: pink tights, pink shoes, pink tutu, all wrapped up in a pink bow of grace and beauty. Although I have danced since the age of four I somehow escaped the pink dream and instead chased what my brother and I now… Continue Reading

Talking with Daniel Riley from Bangarra


  The latest creative work from Bangarra, one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies, has been receiving its fair share of critical acclaim after its debut in Sydney. Bennelong tells the story of Woollarawarre Bennelong, a senior man of the Eora, and how he and his people first made contact with white settlers. Ahead of the show coming to Canberra, we caught up with dancer and choreographer Daniel Riley who has been with the company for eleven years and plays the role of Governor Phillip in Bennelong. Like many of the professional dancers to come out of Canberra, Daniel grew… Continue Reading

Contact with Jack Riley


  We are lovers of dance here at Leiden and are always on the look out for interesting new artists and engaging new performance works to go and see. Contact is a new contemporary dance work made by Jack Riley in collaboration with a number of other artists working across multiple disciplines. Jack grew up here in Canberra before moving to Melbourne to study dance further at the Victorian College of the Arts. He recently returned to showcase his new work at the Gorman House Arts Centre before it goes on to be performed in the Melbourne Fringe Festival. We… Continue Reading

A Chat with Sam Young-Wright of Sydney Dance Company


  Having grown up dancing in Canberra as part of the city’s own youth dance company Quantum Leap, I eagerly anticipate the arrival of each contemporary dance performance that comes to town. I find these performances even more enjoyable when they feature a familiar face. Such is the case for Sydney Dance Company’s latest offering Orb, a double bill comprising Ocho (meaning eight in Spanish) to mark artistic director Raphael Bonachela’s eighth year with the Company, and Full Moon, a piece choreographed by Taiwanese choreographer Cheng Tsung-lung. Amongst the beautiful dancers who will perform in Orb is Canberran Sam Young-Wright.… Continue Reading

BOLD – A New Dance Festival


While Enlighten festival sets Canberra alight, activating the city in innovative and engaging ways,  another festival is unfolding; this one focusing on the intersection between movement, history, multiculturalism, and art. BOLD, a new dance festival curated by a committee of celebrated dance artists, will examine the legacy of dance across both professional and community practice spanning different cultures, age groups and backgrounds. Over four days, the festival will bring together speakers, performers and facilitators from a range of backgrounds to deliver workshops, talks, forums, film showings and performances. Legends of dance including Meryl Tankard, Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, Dr Garry Lester, Dr Stephanie Burridge, Vicki can Hout, Annie… Continue Reading