Limelight: JOSH WRIGHT
Meet Josh Wright, a creative producer and the artistic director of Dancehouse in Melbourne.
Where were you born?
On Darug country in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney near Penrith.
What and where did you study?
I studied a Media and Communications degree in theatre, film and dance with honours at UNSW. And a Masters of curation at Sydney University.
Do you have any dance training?
I have been dancing with Body Electric Dance Studios with Jade Duffy here in Melbourne for 11 years. For a 40-year-old, I recognise that’s a very late start to my training! Needless to say my talent is 90% enthusiasm and 10% costume.
Where would you say your career path began?
In the nightclubs of Sydney helping curators, and independent artists doing weird stuff. It’s where I realised that producing is about love, hustle and relationships.
Do you remember the first dance performance you ever saw?
No … but I DO remember a number of glorious contemporary dance epiphanies.
When I saw Lucy Guerin’s Melt on film, ADT’s HELD, Sue Healey’s Fine Line Terrain, Tanja Liedtke’s Twelfth Floor, Chunky Move’s Glow, Frances Rings’s Unaipon for Bangarra Dance Theatre, BalletLab’s Origami and some inspired works at Performance Space, I fell deeply in love with Australian dance.
What is it about dance that attracts you as a creative producer?
I love working with contemporary dance artists. Their ideas almost always begin with themselves. The familiarity of devising from the body is something we all have an experience of. For me, dance has incredible capacity to communicate ideas with complexity, nuance and abstraction in ways that no other art form can. As a producer – and perhaps contrary to common opinion – I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love dance. They may not have met their favourite artist or work yet, but it’s only one show away.
What has been your most unusual producing gig?
I did a gig at Tate Britain (UK) where I helped produce Martin Creed’s Work No. 850 which required someone to sprint through the 80-metre gallery every 30 seconds for five months. It was impossible.
What has been keeping you busy during the pandemic?
Between wondering what is possible in 2021, I’ve been writing CovidSafe plans, mopping and sanitising and ensuring Dancehouse studios can be accessed by our artists and teachers as safely as possible. Shout out to all the incredible artists, teachers and dance studio owners who are keeping us moving, sane and connected during COVID-19 – we see you!
I’ve been writing CovidSafe plans, mopping and sanitising and ensuring Dancehouse studios can be accessed as safely as possible.”
This article was first published in the Sep/Oct/Nov issue of Dance Australia. Since then, Dancehouse has opened this year with restrictions in place and has a series of shows programmed from March. It is presently holding a program of free classes at the Abbotsford Convent in Collingwood with eminent choreographers and dance practitioners - for FREE! For more information, go here.