Our RESORT 2019 creative collaboration explores self expression and unique voices. A coming together to celebrate the individual and create a sense of belonging and community, through empowerment, acceptance and inclusivity – with the aim to expand the urban consciousness with new perspectives, ideas, new thinking and new ideas
James Street has collaborated with three of Queensland Ballet’s rising young stars to create a campaign that encapsulates a fearless individuality and that sees an amplification of self-expression through movement and dance. The creative captures a strong sense of movement and emotion – set within James Street’s urban environs, celebrating our place and urbanity whilst exploring a sense of empowerment, vulnerability and connection.
We sit down with our choreographers and performers, Pol Andrés Thió, Sophie Zoričić and Mali Comlekci to discuss the collaborative process.
The objective for this performance was to explore themes of inclusivity, connectedness and self-expression. How did you work together to interpret the concepts through movement?
Our first step was a lengthy conversation about how the themes of art, dance and inclusivity interplayed, finding they often thread together naturally. We created a list of symbolisms such as supporting each other through lifts and challenging gender roles with Sophie lifting Mali or Pol and Mali having intimate movements together. We also introduced a blindfold which created a beautiful need for connection without sight and added vulnerability by questioning how we would move if unafraid of being seen.
In dance, the act of improvising movement is incredibly inclusive, it requires vulnerability and open mindedness. Filming improvisation in James Street locations that were pedestrian and available to everyone was a meaningful way for us to connect with this theme.
How important is the collaborative process?
Collaboration develops art and its impact on people. Working with artists from different disciplines with the same brief showed this and was fascinating. Experiencing everyone’s unique approach and understanding how it was influenced by their artistic background was enriching, encouraged discussion, and created inclusivity through encouragement of each other’s ideas. Working with a group of creatives was truly fantastic, we never seemed to run short of inspiration!
The setting for your performance was James Street – how much did this urban environment impact your performance? Did the locations influence the planned choreography and result in a continued creative process and spontaneity?
The urban architecture was a very exciting aspect, so we choreographed our material in a way that could involve the space. For example, in Mali and Sophie’s duo we finished with a lift that could easily translate into running up a wall, or as it happened on the day, a palm tree. We also adapted a chair dance to a sidewalk on Ada Lane, and Jack (videographer) got beautiful footage placing us up on ladders and filming from below to have the contrast of our bodies and the sky.
Do you enjoy the challenge of working on projects such as this that explore creative expression? How does this type of project vary from your demanding roles as Queensland Ballet Company Artists?
This project allowed us to explore our individuality and think outside of the ballet box. Film choreography focuses on the cohesiveness of our bodies, the set, the costumes and the lens, it creates a distinctively unique feeling and intimacy in our dancing. Most of our repertoire in Queensland Ballet is classical and often quite precisely prescribed, so having a blank canvas feels refreshing and exhilarating.
Your performance is at once sensitive, joyful and exuberant – do you feel that empathy is necessary for you to interpret a theme and then communicate that shared emotion with an audience?
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, experiencing life, communicating, connecting and understanding other human beings is the most genuine source of inspiration to portray emotions through dance. The wonderful thing about art is that it transcends and sheds a light on existing barriers along the way (such as societal, racial, gender, physical and further breaking stereotypes). The empathy of the team involved was a definite contributor to the final product’s harmonious feeling.
What is coming up for you in the coming months/year? Your Queensland Ballet schedules must no doubt be busy – do you also have any creative projects that you are working on?
Interestingly, the next season for Mali, Sophie and I will be ‘Bespoke’ at the Brisbane Powerhouse (opening on the 8 November 2019), which is all about breaking boundaries and moving dance forward. There are three new works being created and new exciting collaborations taking place (Amy Hollingsworth’s ‘From Within’ will combine dance and Virtual Reality), so it’s a really exciting time for us.
Dancing whilst being engaged creatively feels holistic and hypersensitive. Collaboration is an eye-opener in how to further our skills, surpass boundaries, learn about ourselves and inspire others to do the same. This project was no less a – transformative journey.
October 31, 2019