Jack and James St go way back, 6 years to be exact. The journey started with a video artwork titled Castles Made of Sand lighting up RESORT 2015 with vivid colour and movement. The next year Jack was back, with a powerful choreographed performance Adam + Eve as prelude and show-stopper for the Gail Sorronda Cruise 16/17 for RESORT 2016.
After a hiatus to the UK to choreograph a performance for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Jack returned and grand jetéd straight into a choreographed campaign for The Calile in partnership with Queensland Ballet (2019), charmingly interacting with the space and architecture to enact A Day in the Life of a hotel guest.
Which brings us to today, where Jack is a company artist at the Australasian Dance Collective (ADC) – creative collaborators of James St (watch this space) – so, we spoke to the man behind the moves to find out what he’s been working on and more…
With each work, both James St and Brisbane audiences have been taken on a journey via your clever choreographic acumen – how has your approach and process evolved in this time?
To me, each work has more or less been a departure from my last. I have been fortunate enough to continually create alongside dancing full time – I feel with each new process I encounter as a dancer I am able to bring new information, ideas and processes into the studio with me as a creator.
With classical ballet origins at Australian Ballet and Queensland Ballet, you have changed the pace as a company artist and choreographer at ADC. How has the Collective altered your creative output?
It felt like a natural progression to shift gears at this point in my career. With my roots heavily grounded in classical ballet, whilst creating work which sat with a far more contemporary sensibility, I really felt a pull and a need as a dancer to dive deeper into my own physicality, and work with people who’s creative processes could really challenge and ignite new ways of generating work, myself.
A perfect example of this is Still Life, which was part of ADC’s highly praised, triple bill performance showcase in May. What is Still Life?
Still Life is a work which has long been circulating around my head. Its inspirations are drawn from the artworks of the 16th and 17th century Memento Mori movement.
ADC premiered Still Life in May as a fully realised stage work, and now we are gearing up to release a standalone, short film iteration of the work in collaboration with Ryan Renshaw & Kiosk Films, in October.
Throughout August 2021, three short digital trailers titled, Skeleton, Smoke and Tunnel have been released as part of Still Life – are video performances the new frontier for engaging with audiences in our current world and into the future?
Dance on film is by no means breaking new ground, but as live performance took on the brunt of 2020, our world quickly became very digitised. Adaptability through creativity is what we do as artists, and having a medium like film to push into meant that we could continue to create and connect.
What I think is exciting is the reach that film can have. Our art form can now exist beyond a traditional theatre setting, a time or a place. We are able to take our world to people who may never have seen something like this before or are limited by their geographical location.
We recently spoke with ADC Creative Director and your co-choreographer on many occasions, Amy Hollingsworth, about the importance of collaboration – why is this so important in a creative space but particularly so in performance?
In my experience, collaborations are much more than just that. They are an exchange of information, processes and ideas which have really helped broaden my approach to my work in many ways. If you are open to it, I think you can learn a lot on a personal level.
Finding the neutral space where taking on board someone’s vision and conversely, fully articulating your own is no mean feat in a creative collaboration, but through this exchange it forges you into a realm that you may not always creatively inhabit.
How can we see Still Life and what is next for ADC?
This October, ADC will unveil its ‘Digital Suite’ a new online portal where you are able to stream Still Life and other upcoming dance film commissions. Keep an eye out as we launch our Season 2022 program in October also, there are some very exciting works on their way…
Finally, why does everyone need more dance in their life?
Because it’s human! Why did anyone ever stop dancing? Dance more.
September 16, 2021