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Shatter

BY SPARK YOUTH DANCE COMPANY

Photos Connie Smith

S

park Youth Dance Company began two years ago as a small dream. Local aspiring choreographer Alex Dellaportas (who was just eighteen at the time) wanted to set up a place where young dancers from across the Peninsula could meet and create new dance works together in a supportive and inspiring environment. She began by assembling 25 local dancers and choreographing a modern retelling of the famous Nutcracker ballet in September of 2016 – inviting former Principal Artist of The Australia Ballet Daniel Gaudiello to dance the role of the Nutcracker. Now, the company has just premiered at Frankston Arts Centre. Their latest work Shatter – a 90-minute original contemporary dance work about the Suffragettes featuring 30 dancers and a live professional 35-piece orchestra. The company has grown significantly since their first auditions in 2016 and this year they are taking Shatter on tour to Bunjil Place theatre in Narre Warren and Geelong Performing Arts Centre on the 11th and 14th of April. Shatter tells the story of the Suffragettes, the women who fought for the vote in the early 1900s in Britain – or more specifically,

the women who used often violent and physical actions as a means of protest for the vote. This included smashing shop windows with rocks and going on hunger strikes in prisons which usually led to violent forced-feedings. The show features the real stories of influential Suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of Suffrage group the Women’s Social and Political Union, and Emily Davison who is mostly remembered for her dramatic death at the Epsom Derby in 1913 after she was trampled by a horse when trying to attach a protest banner as it ran past. The production is highly relevant in 2018 as it focuses on empowering women and telling the stories of women from the past who were brave enough to “shatter” glass ceilings. Alex believes that having discussions about gender equality and women’s rights are more important than ever when it comes to young people: “Most of the kids and teenagers that danced in the premiere began with no knowledge of what it means to be a feminist or even why we still need feminism in 2018.” She believes wholeheartedly that by introducing young people to these continued next page...

April 2018

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