Critical Path 2016 Annual Review January - June

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Sometimes it can feel that there is no time to do anything, that we have run out of time or that we can’t spare the time….. allowing oneself time to simply be, to ‘do nothing’ can be hard. I find myself justifying my ‘non-productive’ time as contributing to wellbeing, as thinking time or as fueling time (charging batteries so to speak). At Critical Path the way we spend our time, and yes it costs money, is not empty; it contributes to the well-being of artists and the art form, it is definitely thinking and fueling time but in some ways I like the idea of it being time – simply that. Our program creates time for artists to be artists, to consider their art. It offers processes that carve out time for not making, time that is nevertheless very full and fruitful. We bring people together in time and space (real and virtual) to play, to experiment, to exchange, to share, to enter into dialogue….. We have gone out in search of time.

Claire Hicks, Director, Critical Path


BODIES AS MATERIAL: SOLO PRACTICE A four-week development project taking place across 2016, Body As Material concentrates on solo practice and offers participants the opportunity to take some time to reflect on their own work, play, support the others through exchange, feedback and dialogue and start to think about making some work. In March, artists Joshua Pether (WA), WeiZen Ho (NSW), Alison Plevey (ACT) and Ghenoa Gela (NSW), supported by facilitator Julie Vulcan worked in Bathurst and at the Bundanon Trust. Opposite page: Joshua Pether at Body As Material residency, Bundanon Trust. Photo: Julie Vulcan This page: WeiZen Ho at Body As Material residency, Bundanon Trust. Photo: Julie Vulcan

Joshua Pether is of Kalkadoon heritage and an independent dance artist/choreographer based in WA who identifies as having a disability. A member of LINK Dance Company (2012) his work is a reflection of his socio-political state and on going engagement within his body. Trained in classical piano and an established vocalist (co-founder of TUFA1999-2004), WeiZen Ho is a performing artist and deviser who brings together composition, sound, choreography and movement. She is currently engaged on a two-year project to reimagine and reinterpret Asian animistic and shamanistic rituals. Alison Plevey is a dance and physical theatre artist and performance maker working in Canberra and regional NSW. She aims to mobilise the power of the human body to communicate contemporary issues.

Alison engages in site specific practices and in multi-disciplinary collaboration, particularly with fellow Lingua Franca Co-director, Adam Deusien. This year she launched Australian Dance Party. Sydney Independent Performer/Maker, Ghenoa Gela, is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman. Working across several different mediums, Ghenoa has been fortunate to not only work with some big Australian companies, but has also been privileged to work in remote communities. She is currently working on her solo show My Urrwai. Julie Vulcan is a Sydney based interdisciplinary artist with a focus on performance, installation, text, durational and site-responsive work. Alongside her solo practice Julie is a director, facilitator, collaborator and mentor. She is a UNSW College of Fine Arts graduate.

Opposite page: Joshua Pether at Body As Material residency, Bundanon Trust. Photo: Julie Vulcan

RESPONSIVE RESIDENCIES Our Responsive Program emphasises the value of risk-taking for future choreographic development and gives choreographers an opportunity to consider their practice in an environment that promotes discovery and experimentation over outcomes. Residencies, funded, space supported or in the research room are selfdirected and reflect the particular interests and goals of the participating artist. LIZ LEA Liz Lea is a performer, producer and choreographer working between Canberra and Sydney. Liz is seeking a return to solo practice by taking steps in new directions and opening her experiences. Working with four other choreographers – Brian Lucas, Martin del Amo, Sue Healey and Vicki Van Hout and her background in cross-cultural performance, she explores a broader pallet of movement, using her personal history as a focus point.

This page: (left to right) Liz Lea. Martin del Amo, Vicki Van Hout, Brian Lucas at Critical Path, Liz Lea Responsive Residency 2016. Photo: Bibi Serafim Opposite page: Photo courtesy Liz Lea



Brooke is a Sydney based dance and choreographic artist working between improvisational movement practice, sound & performance installation. For her residency, over March to September, Brooke is exploring im/material bodily forces through improvisation and collaborative practices in sound and material forms. Her time has been spent at the Drill Hall and UNSW as well as out of the studio exploring materials in the landscape.

Rhiannon’s practice spans choreography, dancing, lecturing and a body of work that pursues relations between dance and repetition. Rhiannon is experimenting, between March and July, at Drill Hall and UNSW with questions arising from her ongoing Bodied Assemblies practice‌ she is working with dancers Ivey Wawn, Bhenji Ra and Julian Wong.

Opposite page: Rhiannon Newton residency, Bodied Assemblies. Photo: Cleo Mees Page 9-10: Brooke Stamp residency. Photo: Rafaela Pandolfini



Drawing from the history of fictional worms in cultural imagination – agents of fear, invasion and monstrosity, Angela explored the worm as a protagonist in a world of contemporary decay. Practice-based research that fed into her new work Desert Body Creep (see also Afterglow).

Julie-Anne invited ‘all who identify (or have identified at some point) as being part of the local independent dance sector’ to join her for an introduction to her project TROUBLE: a place in time; exploring new modes of production for making dance and performance in response to the time and place we find ourselves in. Julie-Anne is also interested in generating a community of practice in support of different individuals, clusters and networks within the local independent dance sector.

OPEN STUDIO - IVEY WAWN, MATT CORNELL, LAURA OSWEILER, PATRICIA WOOD Independent choreographers from NSW Matt Cornell, Laura Osweiler, Ivey Wawn and Patricia Wood worked in an ‘open studio’ to develop ideas previously proposed to Critical Path as research projects. The format encouraged cross-fertilization of ideas and skills. While each artist had their own project interests, space was shared, with the opportunity to call on each other for exchange and support.

DANA WARANARA - AMRITA HEPI & JAHRA WASASALA Amrita and Jahra examined the indigenous experience of diaspora, that coming to country isn’t always a spiritual conniption and looking at privilege and how it dances. Part of developing a new dance theatre work (see also Afterglow).

LIZZIE THOMSON Lizzie looked at relationships between dancing and writing. She is interested in unpacking the role that words play in her practice, from generative scores to critical afterthoughts, and experimenting with how these words can reappear as stand-alone text-based works (unspoken). During her Research Room residency, she worked across a group of activities that approach dancing/writing from different perspectives, including further development of a series of animated text video works that apply choreographic tools to animated words; writing her part for a coauthored chapter with Erin Brannigan and Matthew Day on their ongoing research into dance and the visual arts; and returning to an experiment entitled Alphabet Dance (2014), which was part of her Masters research and opened up a space for perceiving the dancing body as an accumulation of words. Page 14-15: Amrita Hepi and Jahra Wasasala, Passing, Afterglow. Photo: Carla Zimbler

CLAIRE CUNNINGHAM Claire Cunningham is a multidisciplinary performer and choreographer based in Glasgow (UK). Originally a classically trained singer she began to work in dance in 2005, after working with US choreographer Jess Curtis who kindled her interest in movement. Claire spent ten days based at the Drill exploring her continuing project about walking and accessibility in big cities. Cunningham’s work is initially rooted in the use/misuse, study and distortion of crutches. Through these objects she engages physically with the world, exploring the potentiality of her specific physicality as a disabled individual, crafting a unique vocabulary which aims to challenge conventions around virtuosity, classical aesthetic and dance. Her crutches are also her means to relate and connect to the world as an artist. Claire Cunningham, Beyond the Training workshop. Photo: Chris Mifsud

SAMAG TALK From Scotland to Australia: a cuppa with visiting artist Claire Cunningham Facilitated by Critical Path director Claire Hicks. This live conversation event was streamed by SAMAG. Click here to watch the video recording.

“As soon as I decided to stop trying to get somewhere, all of this opportunity opened up. As soon as I decided just to follow what I was interested in at the time, that’s when everything opened up as well.”

- Claire Cunningham

BEYOND THE TRAINING: PERMISSION TO SPEAK Claire introduced participants to techniques that are formative in her own performance practice and when working collaboratively with other dancers and with different bodies – building methods of communication and trust, layers of perception, and exploring the use of language and voice to reveal our relationship to our bodies and vocabulary. Practical exercises were balanced with conversation about issues and concerns in the sector as reflected by the experience of the integrated group who attended. The workshop was focused on process, rather than results or product. Claire is interested in non-normative bodies and is keen to highlight the enrichment to be gained in contemporary performance, especially dance, by embracing this. Beyond the Training is an annual series of skills sharing and professional development workshops in partnership with Ausdance NSW.

20th BIENNALE OF SYDNEY For the first time Critical Path partnered the Biennale of Sydney to undertake a series of research residencies, presentations and talks. The Biennale was led by Artistic Director Stephanie Rosenthal who has a strong track record in engaging with dance and choreographic practice within her work for galleries & exhibition. Lilach Livne, TRANSCENDING, for Peace, 20th Biennale of Sydney. Photo Tal Haring

LILACH LIVNE (ISRAEL) As part of her 3 week research residency Lilach presented TRANSCENDING, for Peace an invitation to reshape our perception of the other. Audiences joined a temporary community with performers to dance, pray and strive for an abstract way of being outside of the violence of the image and the barriers and separations created by fear.

Research artists: Andrew Haining (Australia), Tal Haring (Israel), Alice Heyward (Australia), Lilach Livne (Israel), Moran Sivan (Israel) and Shahmen Suku (Australia). Lilach’s work explore themes relating to gender, religion, body perception and the abstraction as a political agenda. Her practice is in a constant research and experimentation, creating performances, lectures, public acts, meetings, praying books and video art – all with the aim to reach the “nonimage”.

NICOLA CONIBERE (UK) Nicola spent 3 weeks at The Drill Hall exploring new ideas, methodologies and collaborations in relation to her current practice with local artists. As part of her residency Nicola presented Assembly a live gallery work exploring shifts in relation between individual and collective bodies. Nicola’s work engages choreographic processes to explore the potentials of how bodies relate. She often investigates notions of theatricality, public appearing and social choreography in her work. Participants: Veronica Barac, Tom Blake, Bonnie Cowan, Bonnie Curtis, Karen Fermin, Jessica Holman, Thomas E. S. Kelly, Karen Kerkhoven, Briarna Longville, Helene Markstein, Laura Osweiler, Taree Sansbury, Adam Warburton and Jayne Watt Nicola Conibere, Assembly, 20th Biennale of Sydney. Photo: Matt Cornell



Over 3 hours at the Drill Hall, Benoît’s research presentation of Lifeguard questioned the place of the artist, the passivity of the spectator and the finesse of experience. The artist in a solo presentation explored different elements of his latest work in which he aims to create an intimate space, where the spectator plays an essential role.

Three conversations took place in relay across the Biennale, explored the practitioners’ own practices alongside shared concerns and ideas.

Lifeguard will be a performance-based work that evolves with the different places and perceptions of the Other - examining notions of presence and the resonance of movement. Benoît Lachambre is one of the major artists/choreographers of his generation. He has created 15 works since the foundation of his company Par B.L.eux, participated in more than 20 others productions and is the choreographer of 25 commissioned works.

Click to watch a video recording of any of the following talks. André Lepecki with Nicola Conibere Nicola Conibere with Brooke Stamp and Agatha Gothe-Snape Brooke Stamp with Lilach Livne Page 22-23: Nicola Conibere and André Lepecki, 20th Biennale of Sydney. Photo: Matt Cornell

KEIR CHOREOGRAPHIC AWARD PUBLIC PROGRAM Critical Path, Carriageworks and the Keir Foundation partnered to present the 2016 Keir Choreographic Award public program. This biennial Australian choreographic award is dedicated to commissioning new work, promoting innovation in contemporary dance and providing significant support to the contemporary dance sector in Australia. The Keir Choreographic Award’s Sydney public program included a series of thought provoking opportunities with international leaders in contemporary dance. Critical Path hosted four practitioners from Asia who attended the semi finals in Melbourne (where they saw all eight commissioned works) and took part in a panel conversation in Sydney. WHERE IS CHOREOGRAPHY NOW? Dance practitioners explored the nature of contemporary choreography, the concerns of different nations, contexts and cultures and the geographies of different approaches to dance. Hosted by Director of Critical Path, Claire Hicks with Daisuke Muto, Helly Minarti, Kim Seong-Hee and Choy Ka Fai. Keir Choreographic Awards Public Program. Photo: Blake Harvey James

AFTERNOON TEA WITH SARAH MICHELSON 25 artists joined Sarah for an informal afternoon tea. The artists from Melbourne and Sydney were drawn from dance and visual arts backgrounds. They spent the afternoon talking to each other and Sarah about their current projects and future plans. EXHIBITING DANCE KCA Jury member Pierre Bal-Blanc Director of the Contemporary Art Centre BrĂŠtigny, in conversation with Stephanie Rosenthal, Artistic Director of the 20th Biennale of Sydney.

Afternoon tea with Sarah Michelson. Photo: Bibi Serafim

Daisuke Muto is a dance critic and Associate Professor of Gunma Prefectural Women’s University. His current research interests are modern and contemporary Asian dance history, and alternative theory of choreography. Helly Minarti is an independent dance curator based in Jakarta. She is part of the curatorial collective at the Jakarta Arts Council since 2013 and works on various projects, locally and internationally. Kim Seong-Hee is a programmer, curator and festival director. She was the founder of Festival Bo:m interdisciplinary arts festival (2007-13) and is now Artistic Director of Asian Culture Center, Theater. Choy Ka Fai is a Berlin-based Singaporean artist. He graduated in Design Interaction from the Royal College of Art London and his works were presented at ImpulsTanz Festival

Vienna (2015), Tanz Im August Berlin (2015, 2013) and Singapore Arts Festival (2012). Sarah Michelson is a New York based choreographer and performer. A past associate director of Movement Research and editor of Performance Journal, she has also been associate curator of dance at The Kitchen. Pierre Bal-Blanc is a curator and art critic based in Athens and Paris. He is currently curator for the Documenta14. He was director of Contemporary Art Centre of BrĂŠtigny, France from 2003 to 2014. Internationally acclaimed curator Stephanie Rosenthal has held the position of Chief Curator at the Hayward Gallery in London since 2007. A key focus of her curatorial practice is the exploration of the relationship between visual art and performance.

PERFORMANCE SPACE RESIDENCY Critical Path and Performance Space partnership supports artists undertaking movement and choreographic research in the framework of live and performance art. The residency is process-focused, facilitating the development of exciting and inventive works by emerging or established artists. These projects forge a bridge between the research focus of Critical Path and the development and presentation work of Performance Space. Above and opposite page: Justin Shoulder residency. Photo: Heidrun Lรถhr

JUSTIN SHOULDER Justin Shoulder worked with mentor Victoria Hunt and composer Nick Wales to continue his investigation into becoming mythic avatars. Justin looked at the performance possibilities of articulating bodily transformation with the methodologies of Bodyweather finding the gestural language native to this figure.

Justin has been working in performance, installation and nightlife/community events production for the past 9 years. He considers his practice to be a part of a queer ecology co-creating both the spaces for performative expression as well as the figures that inhabit these spaces with his collective The Glitter Militia.

AFTERGLOW MINI FESTIVAL Critical Path and PACT centre for emerging artists joined forces to present AFTERGLOW, a four-day festival featuring Sydney premieres of three productions from 2016 Next Wave Festival. The works by Angela Goh, Amrita Hepi & Jahra Wasasala and Thomas E. S. Kelly had all been supported in development by both Critical Path and PACT. The festival also included a free Public Talk with the choreographers in conversation with CP director Claire Hicks to explore the process of developing ideas, researching movement and making new work. Opposite page: Thomas Kelly, [MIS]CONCEIVE, Afterglow. Photo: Carla Zimbler

Thomas E. S. Kelly’s debut full-length dance-theatre work exploded the misconceptions and prescriptions of what it is to be a young urban Aboriginal person in Australia. Combining Indigenous knowledge with contemporary gestural motifs, [MIS]CONCEIVE’s fusion of hip hop, physical percussion and rhythmic cultural pattern is expressive and immediate. Voice and body become pathways to traditional dance and song, as repetition and disguise make way for moments of discovery – the work pulses with humour, play and personal stories. Angela Goh’s Desert Body Creep feeds on the corpse of a post, posteverything world. Turning fear and horror into an imaginary force, it explores the transition from dead to undead, proposing a strategy towards new forms of life. Performed by Angela and an oversized gummi worm the work wriggles and writhes through a hallucinatory landscape, through which the body emerges as an unnatural entity – redefining itself for an uncertain future. Amrita Hepi & Jahra Wasasala’s show Passing includes an original score by Lavern Lee (Guerre, Cassius Select, Black Vanilla) and costumes from installation artist Honey Long. Caught between competing and converging identities, this emotive performance opens a window to Amrita and Jahra’s personal experience of how coming to culture doesn’t always happen ‘traditionally’, what privilege looks like and how it dances.

Angela Goh, Desert Body Creep, Afterglow. Photo: Carla Zimbler


Our e-journal Critical Dialogues is a platform for the promotion and dissemination of creative research and ideas by our dance community. Launched in 2013, each bi-annual issue features a different guest editor and editorial theme. This year we published our 6th edition online (featured opposite), Intercultural, guest edited by Annalouise Paul.


Each month we come up with a Critical Question to instigate interesting conversation and dialogue in regard to choreographic practices. From “How do we start?” and “How do we participate?” to “What is choreographic research?” We ask the question to get the ball rolling…..


Chatroom is our monthly get together event happening every second Tuesday of the month - an opportunity to talk about all things choreography, catch up with old friends, make new ones, tackle our critical question or simply tell us what you have been up to. Meet the team and catch up with other dance and choreography inspired folk at our regular relaxed gathering.

SUPPORTERS Critical Path is an initiative of Arts NSW, supported by program funding from the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.


YOU CAN SUPPORT CRITICAL PATH TOO Innovation in any field doesn’t happen without dedicated time and space for research and development. Critical Path provides opportunities for Australian choreographers to incubate new ideas and experiments taking their work and the art form forward. Your donation goes to improving our support for independent artists; to provide critical creative infrastructure to the dance and choreography community such as space, time, technical resources and, where we can, income to artists. All donations to Critical Path are tax deductible.

Front cover: Nicola Conibere, Assembly, 20th Biennale of Sydney. Photo: Matt Cornell Back cover: Brooke Stamp Responsive residency, Critical Path. Photo: Brooke Stamp

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