Chrissie Parrott returns to the stage with Co3
Co3 Contemporary Dance Artistic Director Raewyn Hill was tapping into the pulse of social sentiment when she curated WA Dance Makers Project, a new season for the state contemporary dance company that launches the MoveMe Festival in September at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia.
Under Hill’s direction, the new season celebrates a powerhouse of WA female choreographic talent, headlined by Australian dance legend and WA State Living Treasure Chrissie Parrott, who has created over 90 dance works. It’ll also present a unique opportunity for the innovative trio of Unkempt Dance (Amy Wiseman, Carly Armstrong and Jessica Lewis) to present their first mainstage work for Perth-based Co3 Contemporary Dance.
“The idea of bringing these dynamic women together in a new season has been bubbling away for a while – and I guess in terms of timing, this programming decision sits within the wider context of issues around gender recognition, and the recent findings in Andrews Westle’s Turning Pointe: Gender Equality in Australian Dance report, commissioned by Creative Victoria and published online through Delving Into Dance, which points toward gender inequality within Australian performing arts,” comments Hill, who has recently become a mother to baby Harvey.
“Australia has so many incredible women making outstanding contributions to contemporary dance, alongside our male counterparts. And look at the young talent coming through, like Isabella Mason (a third-year student at VCA) and the provocative Where We Stand she courageously presented in June – that’s brave work,” Hill added.
For Parrott, the creative journey toward her new work (In-Lore Act II) began during an invitation from Hill to be a part of Co3’s two-year project Reason for Being, with support from Wesfarmers Arts and the Australia Council for the Arts, at the Art Gallery of WA. Beginning development in early 2017, Parrott’s work was prescient in relation to themes explored.
“A stranger – a myth – perhaps a ghost from their ancestral past. Coaxing this curious little family to question their place in the world on the planet, she leads them astray, fracturing their daily routine out of their (dis)comfort zone. It is about the universal spirit, with an undercurrent of nature’s vulnerability personified by a female performer. It’s her story, the story of our universe, our planet,” Parrott explains.
Supporting the next generation of WA talent, ECU’s LINK Dance Company will also showcase a new work by Richard Cilli as curtain-raiser to Co3 Contemporary Dance within the WA Dance Makers Project season. This relationship with LINK has been one of the cornerstones of Hill’s directorship at Co3.
“It’s vital that companies engage with the tertiary sector directly. The staff and training at WAAPA, and Michael Whaites [artistic director of LINK Dance Company] and the leaders of LINK before Michael, have been instrumental in developing strong, articulate dance artists here in WA, many of whom are Co3 artists,” Hill said. “Cementing a partnership with LINK was vital for me once I was appointed at Co3 Contemporary Dance and now we have an annual residency program which exposes the next generation of artists to the company and a pathway to employment.”