A BOLD Presentation

March 8 – 12 2017 saw the inaugural BOLD Festival in Canberra, Australia. The BOLD Festival, celebrating the legacy of Dance in Australia, is the brain-child of Liz Lea, dancer, choreographer and event organiser.

As a new comer to the dance theatre scene, a ‘mature mover’ (over 50), and facilitator of dance and performance, I was honoured to present and perform at the BOLD Festival.

The invitation came about through the successful project, “The Forging of Men”, designed and performed with 6 rural men, under the directorship of career theatre-maker, Sue Hayes.

The presentation to The Bold Festival was in the form of a short Pecha Kucha (powerpoint slides presented within 5 minutes). Below is the text to go with the slides. To enjoy the presentation, please open the slides and arrange them beside the text below

Slide 1 Cover slide: This presentation is about my recent journey into dance.
Slide 2 From my years of health work I recognised that a healthy community requires robust empathetic leaders who are the enzymes for bringing that community into integrity and discourse.
Slide 3 ACTUALLY being fully alive, being fully human, is a function of wonder, inquiry, creativity, and performance / action.

Novelty, the surprised recognition of a distinction, is the source of wonder and a vital ingredient for brain development and learning.

Slide 4 Performance is that we are in action in the world and there are witnesses.

Performance is where we get to become adults, leaders, and dancers.

Performance is the wonderful, human thing about life.

Slide 5 The performing arts can be a fantastic access for ethics and leadership training by:

·      supporting the empathetic imagination of the live of others and;

·      the possibilities of self as leader

through the conditions for wonder, inquiry, creativity, and performance.

Slide 6 Over the past 7 years I have designed human sized board games, as a fun approach to movement training, and a way of seeing the world through the body.
Slide 7 2011 – My first dance project with Jess Jones on the Atherton Tablelands.

The project was an awakening for me to the possibilities for facilitating dance theatre work with untrained people.

DANscienCE 2013 was an inspiration – a motivation to develop my own skills as a mature aged dancer, and find that breakthrough into establishing a community dance group.

Slide 8 Mastery – the ability to recognise and perform as by the finest distinctions as a function of performance before increasingly discriminatory witnesses.

Taking any age you were and any skill (technical or creative), plotting novel and masterful experience over time might give some indication of your actual neural and physical ageing robustness.

Slide 9 I have been creating small dance programs for the middle to older aged person for a few years. From that came a vision and a model for an inclusive dance training program that I call rEvolve with connotations for dance as transformative in life.
Slide 10 In my rEvolve program I work with several characteristics of training and design to allow the most embodied expression of an idea. The team works by building through exercises by collaborative feedback until eventually, there’s the performance.
Slide 11 I recently began to feel it is time for me to take a stand for a male culture that is authentic and embodied. At stake is the flourishing of our communities and nations.
Slide 12 In 2015, I found three men who were interested in attending work in dance / physical theatre . We called ourselves ‘Men in Motion’

We won a grant to bring theatre-maker Sue Hayes weekly from Cairns to Atherton to building a performance about our male identity

After we had commenced the development of the work, a further two men turned up, and so a performance was developed, “The Forging of Men”.

Slide 13 The men were, mostly, inexperienced in theatre, dance or any type of performance which gave us a perfect conditions to trial a ‘proof of method’ of the rEvolve model.
Slide 14 There was a moment in the project when Sue Hayes turned to the men and said, “Okay men, tonight you are going to touch each other.”

The contact exercises essential to physical theatre is another potential boon to a transformed male culture.

Slide 15 As the project progressed, one of the men told me, “You’ve been a bit bossy lately. I’m not enjoying myself.” The group conversation that resolved that tension showed up in the performance in what the audience saw about the team work.
Slide 16 I’m now facilitating two groups of about 12 dancers in total:

·      the all-men group for the contribution to male culture that could continue to make; and

·      there’s now an all-in group.



Weipa Festival

A week past the Weipa Festival, I have been through the photos and the video clips and just getting time to sit down and write.

I joined my friend, Farvadin Daliri, the organiser of the Weipa Festival, auspiced by Malaruch Algnith Corporation, as he came through Atherton with a load of equipment, including the kitchen sink. The load was necessary because Weipa is not one of those town you can just pop into party hire for a stack of tables and chairs.It was a 13 hour trip on the Cape York Development road, 10 hours on dirt. We were thankful the graders had been over the road already since the wet season came to an end, so the surface was reasonable for the most part.

It was a five days of hard work in the humid sun, a far cry from the overcast and rainy weather of the Tablelands since February. I was glad I wore my big hat. 

While quite a bit of equipment was hired, I was impressed by the number of businesses who brought equipment in support of this infant Festival, including the stage, garbage skip and bins, and the sound gear from WhunTree Sound.

And the work and the support was worth it with over 500 people in the audience during the main festival performances, many Aboriginal people coming in from surrounding communities, a number of tourists and local Weipa townsfolk.

Performers came from Torres Strait, Djarragun College, and various others. [Youtube= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B1LaQpkwHk%5D  It is expected that there will be a larger local content next year. Although the Festival was mostly indigenous content, the Festival is open to all performer types and hopefully we will see a growth of performers wanting to come to Weipa Festival as it will surely become part of the tourist pathway. I was surprised to meet a couple of people who came in on a yacht, who had been on the sea for 14 years and had seen a notice for the Festival at the tip of Cape York (Seisia) and came down the west coast for it on their way to the Indonesia Rally.

Well, what took a week to put up, took a day to take down, then Farvadin and I hit the road back to Atherton. He went on to Townsville.