INTERVIEW: Unkempt Dance

Unkempt Dance comprises the dynamic trio Amy Wiseman, Carly Armstrong and Jessica Lewis and they have been in the studios creating a new work for WA Dance Makers Project. We spoke to them about how they formed as a collective, their personal style and what audiences can expect from WA Dance Makers Project.


How did Unkempt Dance first come together as a collective, and what keeps you motivated to work together?
We were all working on other projects but 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 as the Unkemptresses ever since! (It also means nobody ever expects us to have done our hair. Which we haven’t.) 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.


The three of you met while studying at LINK; how has it been having the current generation of LINK dancers in the studios?
It’s been great to have their energy in the studio and to get to know them as individuals. It’s been a decade since we were in LINK, but we feel like we remember exactly where they are at. We’re excited to be able to give them a slightly different experience and way of working to what they may have experienced up until now.


Often you create work that is performed in and responds to non-conventional performance spaces. Do you approach your making differently when you’re creating work for a more traditional theatre space like Studio Underground?
We are always thinking about the audience’s experience as we are making the work and how we use the space is part of that. We enjoy exploring different ways of staging the performers, even in a traditional theatre setting. If only the Underground had a trapdoor…



Raewyn chose to curate an all-female choreographic team for WA Dance Makers Project. Has this influenced what you’re making, or how you’re approaching the creative process?
It hasn’t really influenced the way we’re making the work, but we are incredibly honoured to be programmed alongside Chrissie. Our works will be very different and we’re excited to see what she’s been dreaming up.


What can audiences expect from coming to see your new work in WA Dance Makers Project?
The Co3 dancers have amazing physicality, but in this work we’ve been exploring the many other sides of them and let’s just say we’ve discovered some hidden talents… We have loved the joy, commitment and ridiculousness unfolding in rehearsals. The dancers have been so generous in offering honest and unexpected sides of themselves and we’ve really enjoyed taking these and escalating them to a slightly absurd level. There may not be glitter cannons yet, but we’ve still got a few weeks.