Co3 Australia: Unkempt Dance at WA Dance Makers Project
Co3 Australia’s 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 2018 at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia.
Under Raewyn’s direction, the new season celebrates a powerhouse of WA female choreographic talent, and a unique opportunity for the innovative trio of Unkempt Dance (Amy Wiseman, Carly Armstrong, and Jessica Lewis) to present their first main-stage work for Co3 Australia.
Here, Amy answers some questions about Unkempt Dance’s work ‘You Do Ewe’.
You guys are presenting ‘You Do Ewe’ as part of WA Dance Makers Project. Firstly, great name. Secondly… What’s the show all about?
Sheep. We thought contemporary dance was due some ovine flavour… But really this work arose out of a conversation about the often repeated advice to ‘just be yourself’. We found this maxim very limiting – why only be yourself when there are so many other options? We think that by trying on different versions, you can discover other aspects that you might not have realised were also ‘you’, or which may not be as familiar, but that you’d still be curious to explore. The advice also implies that we are the best judges of who we are – that we know all the possibilities of how to be ourselves. But if you’re the usual bundle of insecurities, maybe pretending to be someone else or trying on another version of the person you’re seen as can lead to something better, more interesting or more fulfilling.
What are your thoughts on being involved with WA Dance Makers Project?
It was a thrill to be asked to create a new work in this season and we are incredibly honoured to be programmed alongside Chrissie Parrott. Our works will be very different and we’re excited to see what she’s been dreaming up. The opportunity to work not only with the wonderful Co3 dancers, but also with the artistic team, a composer, lighting designer… It’s the whole package!
This is Co3’s first major commission for Unkempt Dance. How are you all feeling about how it’s coming along?
Although we had worked with a couple of the dancers before, we came into this process armed with a variety of tasks designed to get to know the other sides of each of them. Early days were composed of interviews, talent shows and abstract movement tasks designed to gain insight into their idiosyncrasies. We think they have enjoyed a chance to contribute so much of themselves in the work and we have loved the joy, commitment and ridiculousness that has been unfolding.
Where and how was Unkempt Dance born?
We all stayed on in Perth after studying at WAAPA, all working on different projects. We were good friends and regularly saw shows together, chatting about them afterwards over a coffee or wine. We first decided to make something together in 2010 and rather ambitiously decided to give ourselves a name as a collective. We’ve stuck together making work ever since! We still work on other things individually, but love coming together to bounce off each other. It always feels like a treat when we have a chance to create some nonsense together.
What do you have planned for the future as a trio?
Eating cheese together forever and ever.
For a bit of fun, describe ‘You Do Ewe’ to us, each using one song lyric… Any song lyric you like.
“I am Woman.”
“I am the Walrus.”
“I am Nicki Minaj.”