Forest folklore enchants

Annelies Gartner, The West Australian

Myths and legends inspire choreographer, finds Annelies Gartner. A love of Nordic culture was the inspiration for choreographer Chrissie Parrott’s latest dance work In-Lore Act II.

“All the folklore and the danger of that frozen world and what lurks in those forests,” Parrott says during a break in rehearsals at the State Theatre Centre.

“There is a lot of mystery and magic in that place, so it sort of informed my ideas when I first started writing the work.”

Parrott developed the work for WA Dance Makers Project, which launches the MoveMe Festival; a showcase of contemporary dance. Co3 Australia’s artistic director Raewyn Hill curated the double bill, which features Parrott’s work and a piece by Unkempt Dance trio Amy Wiseman, Carly Armstrong and Jessica Lewis.

“The idea originally came from an independent project that I put together at PICA with three writers, two actors and two dancers,” she explains. “We made three plays and a dance work and Raewyn Hill saw the dance component and she said ‘I love that, I just want you to work through the dance component’.

“So lurking in the ether, I still have three plays that are directly linked to this work that were written by playwrights.” The Act II in the title of the work, featuring six Co3 dancers, comes from this initial concept. “The Act II is my tongue-in-check prod that it will be a bigger work one day – it will have Act I and Act III,’ she says.

For Parrott, the In-Lore in the title refers to the myths and legends she finds so interesting. “The In-Lore thing is about the folkloric aspect of an idea right through history,” she says. ‘Outside of society, there is always this other thing outside of the walls of the castle. There was a dragon but was that real or was it a political ploy to keep people inside the gates?” “It’s always that outside energy that has informed a lot of the folkloric stories right through history, so that’s where the lore part of it comes from, from folklore.”

In Parrott’s work, an outsider is introduced to a group of people and creates a disturbance. “She infiltrates this other unit – this unit of relatives – and she changes things around, she messes things up and by the end of it, things have really changed,” she says.

Although there is a theatrical aspect to Parrott’s work, she is always fascinated with other people’s interpretations. “I’m always interested myself when I watch work that has some hidden secrets,” she says. “I can sit there and find those as well as enjoying the movement that goes on.”

MoveMe Festival will offer Parrott the opportunity as an observer to discover and relish in the human form through dance.

“We’ve got The Farm coming – I’m really looking forward to that,” she enthuses. “Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood, I’ve got to say without question, are my favourite choreographers in Australia, or directors, my most favourite – so I’ll be there will bells on.”

As well as the chance to see a work by the Queensland-based collective of dance and theatre artists, Parrott thinks the festival is also valuable for local choreographers. “I think it is very important as an adjunct to the bigger festivals that happen,” she says.

“It gives local choreographers an opportunity to show their work in a focused way… they don’t have those kind of budgets or publicity to put it together, so this is an opportunity for people to be part of a festival which means we are attracting more people, more people see the work and ultimately