INTERVIEW: Chrissie Parrott for Reason for Being

This week we have guest artist Chrissie Parrott working with Co3 Artistic Director Raewyn Hill and dancers in development in the concourse of the Art Gallery of WA for our first Reason for Being in 2017.

Chrissie will be working with company dancers Mitch, Russell, Zachary, Talitha, Ella-Rose and Tanya to develop her work ELK.

We spoke to Chrissie about developing new work and being in such a unique and exposed environment.


Tell us a bit about your choreographic process.

I approach it with the term ‘landscape of the imagination’, this is the term I use for my creative process and I invite the performers into a holographic situation in the studio where everybody has their own story going on within a very abstract work, which is a non-narrative.

I have, with this process, used some text that we draw upon to create some of those holographic images. I’ve also used a number of paintings from Antipodean artists as imagery; we use those as references for another layer of narrative, but above and beyond all those things I am working particularly on something that is the obverse, or the out-of-scene, or the obscene. For example, when you’re looking at a painting, particularly a narrative painting, there’s always the edge of the painting where there’s a tree going off, or half a house. I like to work on what happens outside of the scene, we talk about that being the other side of the painting or the back story, the outside of the frame.


What can the audience expect from you and the dancers?

What we create for an audience is a sense of a narrative, although there’s not a beginning, middle and end to it so it’s a kind of pseudo-narrative. Created as part of the internal logic on stage.

It sounds quite schizophrenic because there are many, many layers and I find by being quite clear with the performers in the beginning that I will be presenting them with these ideas as we go. That literally creates the hologram and the pseudo-narrative around a purely abstract piece of movement.


How do you work with the dancers during the development of a piece?

I work very closely with them when exploring ideas. I’m not necessarily the type of choreographer that on one hand says ‘please do this’ and on the other hand leaves them to their own devices too much; I like to work with them hand-in-hand in the process. No matter what style of choreography, there’s always that interpretation and input from the performers but we work really closely together on the final motifs that are then left in the painting.


How do you feel about working in the concourse of the Art Gallery of Western Australia? 

I think it’s very exciting. It doesn’t daunt me necessarily because I believe that the type of work we’re doing is very focused on that internal logic, when we’re on the floor we’re very internalised and work closely together, so the fact that people are there is important to see the process. But as far as we’re concerned the audience around won’t distract us, particularly during the rehearsals.

I think it’s important because in a way it’s privileging your audience to your process, rather than just seeing it beautifully packaged at the end which I think is a wonderful opportunity for sharing.


Catch Chrissie, Raewyn and the dancers at the Art Gallery of WA from Wednesday 1 – Saturday 4 February, 10am – 4.30pm with the final showing Saturday 3pm – 4pm.


Chrissie Parrott is a multi awarded creative artist whose career spans over four decades. Chrissie’s contribution to contemporary dance-associated arts has been significantly acknowledged by the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award, Swan Gold Award Sounds Australia Award, Western Australian Citizen of the Year 2000, Golden Key for high achievers, USA and a Centenary Medal. In 2014 she was awarded a lifetime achievement award though Ausdance WA. In 2015 she was honoured as a State Living Treasure.

Read more about ELK here.

2017 – a year of growth and partnership

The first 18 months of Co3 Australia, WA’s flagship contemporary dance company, has delivered opportunities for artists and audiences to further grow contemporary dance in Western Australia. In this short time, the company has engaged over 100 artists and attracted more than 16,000 people to the artistic and engagement programs.


Reflecting on Co3 Australia’s first full program in 2016 Artistic Director Raewyn Hill says: “2016 was such a massive year for this little company. I am constantly in awe of the commitment and dedication of the team around me from our small admin team to the Company artists and the Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth ensemble members. I’m so proud to be the founding Artistic Director of Co3 and in a year where I presented my first full length work for the Company, and our Youth present their own performance season at the Dolphin Theatre, we are ready to take 2017 head on and continue to offer a full program for dancers and dance lovers of all ages.”


2017 will be Co3’s second full artistic program, with a focus on partnerships in creating and presenting new works, we continue to lay the foundations for opportunities to engage with dance in Perth and beyond. Company dancers will be split across a variety of projects and we invite local, national and international artists into the Co3 creative team.


As resident company at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Co3 will be presenting two new works in 2017. The Company partners with The Farm Directors Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood on Frank Enstein, a new work that will have its world premiere at the 2017 Bleach* Festival on the Gold Coast, before heading to Perth for a public and schools season. With a cast of Co3 dancers and The Farm collaborators, Frank Enstein is a retelling of the classic tale for children and adults – magical dance-theatre illuminating a path to self-acceptance. This is theatre as if made by Michel Gondry, handcrafted and full of the love of old fashioned techniques.


In September, Co3 returns to the Health Ledger Theatre with THE ZONE, an explosive dance work that explores the notion of community forming in extraordinary circumstances. Profound yet playful, the performance chronicles the creation of community told through Hill’s stunning movement language. Artistic Director and choreographer Raewyn Hill will be joined again by music collaborator Eden Mulholland to play the live score, and world renowned Japanese architect Satoshi Okada will join the creative team as set designer.


Of the mainstage artistic program, Artistic Director Raewyn Hill says: “In Co3’s second annual program we continue to explore partnerships and welcome some of the best makers and artists from around the world. Following on from an Asialink residency to Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo in mid 2016, I am thrilled to be working with the incomparable architect Satoshi Okada for my next full length work, THE ZONE. As Co3 continues to grow, these collaborations and partnerships allow the company to not only bring some of the world most renowned artists to Perth but gives us flexiblity in our artistic presentations each year”.


2017 will see the continuation of Reason for Being, a partnership with the Art Gallery of Western Australia. This residency has been popular with visitors to the gallery this year with more than 5,000 people visiting the gallery view the company in action and engage with the creative process along the way. The first Reason for Being in 2017 will be in February and throughout the year Raewyn will invite several WA artists to join her in the development of work in response to the Sate Collection and the architecture of the building.


Co3 is excited to be collaborating with Sydney Dance Company on a new work made especially for Primary-school-aged children. This collaboration with Sydney Dance Company, Crazy Times by the brilliant choreographer Anthony Hamilton and dramaturg Matthew Whittet, will premiere in March at the Sydney Opera House, with a Perth and regional Western Australian season to be announced in early 2017.


Also in 2017, Co3 invites the prolific WA artist and dance maker, Chrissie Parrott to the Co3 artistic family to develop her most recent work, Elk. “I am passionate about creating an ongoing opportunity to support WA artists to develop a new work for the company,” says Raewyn Hill. “In 2017 Co3 launches Co: Lab as a way to begin to support choreographic voices of the local independent dance community in Perth. We also welcome the inaugural Co:Lab artist Tyrone Robinson to the Co3 family in early 2017.”


This nurturing is again reflected in the strengthening of the Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble, the centrepiece of the company’s community engagement program. The Act-Belong- Commit Co:Youth ensemble offers 60 young dancers regular training and development and have three performance outcomes next year including a new co presentation with companies LINK and Tracksuit. In 2016 the Elite Training Squad was introduced and was offered to 20 of the most promising young dancers with a focus on technical development, strength and conditioning.


The company’s community engagement program in 2017 with a remounted tour of Paper Scissors Rocket! created by independent WA artists, UnKempt Dance, which will be performed alongside Barking Gecko Theatre Company’s presentation of Saltbush at the State Theatre Centre of WA in July.


For full program details, including the full community engagement program, see


2017 Program

Frank Enstein

Made by The Farm in collaboration with Co3 Australia

Presented by Co3 Australia, The Farm and Bleach* Festival

Wed 5-Sat 8 April, 7.30pm

Wed 5 April, 1pm (School Matinee)

Thurs 6 & Fri 7, 11am (School Matinees)

Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA Tickets from $25


Thurs 7–Sat 16 September, 7.30pm

Fri 8, Tues 12, Thurs 14 September, 11am (School Matinees)

Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA Tickets from $40

TWO SHOW PACKAGE: Buy both Frank Enstein and THE ZONE and save! Premium $90 / A Reserve $80 / Concession $55

Single tickets on sale from 16 January All tickets available through Ticketek:

For all media enquiries, please contact: Georgia Malone, Marketing & Communications Manager

M 0411 100 340