INTERVIEW: Chrissie Parrott for Reason for Being

This week we have guest artist and renowned choreographer Chrissie Parrott working with Co3 Artistic Director Raewyn Hill and Co3 artists to continue the development of Elk at the Art Gallery of WA. As our last Reason for Being for 2017, Chrissie is working with Andrew Searle and Talitha Maslin.

We spoke to Chrissie about the continuation of Elk, creating new material and working in the vastness of the Art Gallery of WA’s concourse.


Is this development going to stick to the same themes of Elk earlier this year?

It is still Elk, but Elk was always multi layered. There was always this understanding that when we get to stage it, there will be different psychological spaces on stage. This is another world, maybe we’ve walked out the doorway from the interior world, to the exterior and we are exploring that – the feeling of the predator and the victor, against the fodder. And there’s always this swapping of roles, which happens in relationships anyway, where one is the wolf and the other is the lamb.

It’s about the swapping of power play in relationships, and the animal kingdom with us being a part of that. There are still very animalistic, sensory feelings in it, with some of it looking quite mean and unsafe. But it’s also about tenderness.


How is it working with two dancers this time?

It’s great working with two dancers, as it gives it a focus to the relationship, rather than a pack of animals. But then when these two go back into the pack, they will have their own stories within that.

I’m working with Talitha and Andrew for this development, and I haven’t worked with Andrew before so it’s great to have him. They also admitted they haven’t done any duet work together before, so it’s a really great, new experience for them as well.


Describe the music you will be using this week.

Musically, I’m playing around with some more a mix of light-hearted sounds, because I think when it’s juxtaposed against some heavy, physical material it sends a different messages to the audience and I think playing around with those mixed messages and mixed metaphors.


How is it working in the open space of Art Gallery of WA?

It’s very vast, and very open so you don’t have the protection of the studio walls. I think it varies throughout the day, there are opportunities to be vulnerable and let it happen and see how people respond. I find it impossible to not be aware people are there, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s good to see how people respond.

Because I’m not always on the floor with the dancers, I’ve often take more of a directorial role, I can sit within the audience frame to watch. It’s just a very different experience to being in the studio, and I’m looking forward to it.


Join us at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from Wednesday 1 Nov – Saturday 4 Nov, 10am – 4.30pm, with the showing on Saturday 4 Nov from 3 – 4pm.

Image by Emma Fishwick.