INTERVIEW: Ella-Rose Trew on her new role as Associate Artist

Co3 dancer Ella-Rose Trew has started an exciting new role this year as Associate Artist, working across the company in our three main areas; Company, youth and education. Alongside performing with the company, Ella-Rose will also be involved with Co:Youth, our Co:Dance school holiday workshops and furthering the development of our education programs.

Ella-Rose gave us an insight into what she has planned for 2017, and why engaging young people in the arts is so important.


Tell us about your new role as Associate Artist. 

As the Associate Artist at Co3 I have been given the opportunity to broaden my skills through engaging with the company through its three main branches; the professional company, the youth ensemble and the education arm.

Throughout the year I will work with the main ensemble to develop new works with Raewyn Hill and Chrissie Parrott and will perform in Raewyn’s full-length work THE ZONE at the State Theatre Centre this September. I will also get to work alongside Richard Longbottom with the Co:Youth Ensemble and the Elite Training Squad, while continuing to develop the Co:Dance education programs.


What does 2017 bring for you and the Community Engagement Program?

We will continue to connect with both the primary and secondary education sectors delivering performances, workshops and resource materials. Our Frank Enstein season will have school matinees and resources for teachers and students, as well as Crazy Times, which comes to Perth in October. This one is really special for us as it is a collaboration with Sydney Dance Company and choreographer Antony Hamilton; created for a primary-aged audience, it will be engaging for both adults and young people.

Our Co:Dance school holiday programs will continue with some new opportunities coming in the next school holidays. This April we will be introducing repertoire workshops for ages 13+ to dance alongside the Co3 dancers!

Co:Youth is also going to have a big year, with the Ensemble sitting at around 60 young people. They’ll be choreographing their own work, reimagining existing repertoire and working with LINK Dance Company and Tracksuit.


What do you love about engaging young people in the arts?

Young people are our future. They’re our future makers, thinkers, believers, fighters, dreamers. They’re our future teachers, educators, provocateurs, performers, choreographers, audiences, sponsors, writers, consumers, doctors, builders and politicians.

They’re full of belief. They’re curious, courageous and tenacious. They feel all the emotions and they’re willing to share it with us.

I think that by fostering and challenging these young people in the safety of the studio, these qualities strengthen, that they take them with them into adulthood and use them to challenge the way we view the world, to find alternatives and to continue to develop the important role that the arts and culture play on a daily basis.


What has been a standout moment with Co3 so far for you?

Overall, it’s a pretty special thing to be able to say that I’ve been a part of the Co3 journey since it’s beginning in 2015. I’m excited by the prospect that as the company grows and matures, I’m being given the opportunity to grow with it, to broaden my skills and continue to develop the many facets that make up my artistic practice.

If I had to pick a specific project, it would be our first regional tour of Paper, Scissors, Rocket! a primary schools show created by Unkempt Dance. Along with fellow dancer Zoe Wozniak and Community Engagement Director Richard Longbottom we toured for three weeks in August 2016 covering over 3000 kms of the South West of WA, performing 24 times and running 57 workshops. We met some pretty incredible humans, saw some beautiful parts of the country, experienced tiny communities with huge hearts and delivered what I think was a pretty fantastic education program to kids and teachers that don’t necessarily get exposure to the performing arts.


What do you love most about contemporary dance?

For me dancing is about communicating. It’s about connecting with other people, other bodies, no matter where they come from, what language they speak, what they know or don’t know.

It’s a chance to inhabit other worlds, ones that exist in my imagination, in writing, in sound, in environments.

It’s about bringing ideas to life, to seeing the world from another perspective – from the underneath and the upside down.

It’s breathless and sweaty, embodied. Whole bodied.

It’s measured, concise, understood.

It’s chaotic, wild and out of control.

It’s all of this, all at the same time.

Youth Takes Centre Stage

As 2016 draws to a close, the Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble prepare to take the stage with their new contemporary dance performance, Our City, Our Stories. This December, at the Dolphin Theatre, UWA, the ensemble present two new works that they have created over the past nine months, mentored by a number of the Co3 professional dancers and community engagement team.


The sixty-member ensemble divided into two casts, and the young creators were given the challenge of creating their own contemporary dance work reflecting aspects of their experience of living in Perth.


One of the two works travels from rural WA to the bustling city centre, with innovative choreography contrasting the serenity of the bush with the high-tempo pace of the CBD.


The other performance cleverly uses Perth’s train system to move through stations relevant to the young dancers lives (home, school and community) and deftly incorporates light-hearted moments with sincere reflections on life in the city.


A senior member of the Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble, Jade, comments “It’s definitely a privilege to be given the chance to take a show and do what we can with it. Everything we do we’ve done ourselves”.


Co3 offers Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble for young people aged 7-18 years to extend their creative and technical development in dance. achieved through immersion in choreography, performance skills and improvisation techniques. The Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble program includes weekly Co:Sunday workshops taught by some of WA’s leading teaching artists and national and international guests. Under guidance of Co3’s professional dance artists, Co3 provides opportunities for participants to create and perform their own choreography, learn existing Co3 repertoire, and develop site-specific works.


Highlights of the 2016 program include performances in the Perth Cultural Centre for KickstART Festival as part of National Youth Week, self-devised works for Shakespeare Festival, and guest workshops from dancers from Sydney Dance Company and Bangarra Dance Theatre.


Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble’s Otto K describes his time with the ensemble: “I dance because it’s an enjoyable way to move; I can be creative, active and fit and all the while having fun. And Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth is a place where I can do all of that, as the ensemble has lots of difference aspects to it from the fitness aspect and the creativity and fun side of dancing, too”.

Of the engagement program, Co3 Artistic Director, Raewyn Hill says: “We’re really proud of our Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble; they are a vital part of our company. Every week throughout the year they bring a youthful enthusiasm and a real passion for expressing themselves. Our focus for the program is on using contemporary dance and the performing arts as a foundation to support the holistic growth of young people and challenging them to take positive, creative, risks”.


The Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth program continues in 2017 with sixty young dancers taking part. For more information see here:


The Act-Belong-Commit Co:Youth Ensemble, and all of Co3’s education and engagement programs are proudly sponsored by Healthway promoting the health message of Act-Belong-Commit.


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