From the Rehearsal Room

And so, another year begins, Happy New Year to you all!

It really is such a gift for us to begin this year in the studio, in the current climate of our world. The light-filled studio at His Majesty’s Theatre at the moment is filled with our dancers and their renewed enthusiasm for the final 4-week rehearsal period for ARCHIVES OF HUMANITY. We feel grateful to be able to be back together, given so many of our colleagues nationally and internationally are still faced with vastly restricted working conditions. To be able to offer new work in the midst of a pandemic is truly a gift and testament to our work as individuals and as a mindful community.

With ARCHIVES OF HUMANITY I have continued to delve deeper into my passion in the concept of gathering community; its challenges, beauties and everything danced in between. Initially, I found Bill Viola’s ‘The Raft’ mesmerising as a visceral moving portrait of human calamity. Alongside this, I have been inspired by the works of the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, with their incredibly detailed violent scenes, silent voices and tones that bring the figures off the page. Musically, the ethereal nature and sheer beauty of a collection of voices together within Vivaldi’s Gloria has been a driving force behind the sound of the work for composer Eden and myself.

There are always artistic career pathways that intersect over time and I am experiencing this now with members of the cast. I performed with the artist, Claudia Alessi 21 years ago on Plastic Space, designed by our set designer Bruce McKinven and choreographed by Garry Stewart for his company, Thwack! Currently, we have the Graduating WAAPA third year dancers with us, and 33 years ago Claudia Alessi and Matthew Morris were in that same position graduating WAAPA. Claudia has dedicated her life and work to WA and we celebrate and cherish her contribution to the community. Matthew Morris has had a prolific career in dance in London, Switzerland and Berlin and we are so thankful that he has returned to his hometown of Perth.

Company dancer Katherine Gurr recently announced she was pregnant and we are thrilled to support her as she embarks upon motherhood. Zoe Wozniak commenced with Australian Dance Theatre last week and we wish her all the best in her professional career beyond Co3. On more of a youth focus, we also have five Co: Youth alumni involved in ARCHIVES OF HUMANITY; the charming Arianwen Painter-Jones as an intern; and dancers Otto Pye, Luci Young, Campbell Gateley and Alex Kay. Luci Young has also secured a coveted pre-professional year placement with Sydney Dance Company following her mainstage debut with us.

There is such a richness in working with an inter-generational cast of 21 dancers, one of the largest contemporary dance ensembles in Western Australia, each performer bringing their own memory, presence and voice to the work.

Light and its design are also critical, adding essential depth and drama. Mark Haslam’s design will dance with the dancers, as images appear and dissipate – capturing and framing the baroque aesthetic of Caravaggio’s paintings that are entwined throughout this work. I would like to acknowledge our Artistic Associate and former dancer Alice Kell, for her above and beyond nature, and essential support for all the team in the rehearsal room.

We are so grateful to be able to make a work in this time, and with this privilege has come challenges and treasures. We are also thrilled, that with the support of Lotterywest, we can Live Broadcast the 7 pm performance on Tuesday 9 February.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in our work. We create with you and for you.

Raewyn Hill