Alice Topp launches new company

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Alice Topp.
Alice Topp.

Acclaimed choreographer Alice Topp has launched a new dance collective of independent artistic talent, called Project Animo, aimed at breathing new life into the Australian performing arts industry.

Conceived as a platform for an ongoing exchange of ideas between dancers, choreographers and composers, Project Animo will present seasonal programs for audiences across Australia, starting with a premiere season in Melbourne, in November, 2021. The company will bring together newly retired and independent dancers who have previously performed with the country’s most eminent dance companies, as well as local composers and costume designers.

Topp is currently a resident choreographer at The Australian Ballet and has created numerous award-winning works for both local and international companies. She says she founded the company to create room for new Australian stories to be told. “Project Animo exists to give homegrown voices and talent a stage, and to share that abundance of creative energy with Australian audiences. By supporting our most dynamic artistic voices to engage in an ongoing creative dialogue, Project Animo will provide a vital platform for explorative collaboration."

The co-founder is Jon Buswell, Technical Director of The Australian Ballet, who created the lighting and set design for Topp’s works Little Atlas (2016), the Helpmann-Award winning Aurum (2018), and Logos (2020). Topp and Buswell are supported by a board of directors which includes recent Artistic Director of TAB, David McAllister, and Australian Dance Theatre Executive Director, Nick Hays. The company has received support from private philanthropy and through public funding campaigns.

The dancers and collaborators are a roll-call of top ranking artists, with most of the dancers recently retired but eager to perform on a project-by-project basis. They include Andrew Killian and Leanne Stojmenov, who only recently retired as principal dancers with the Australian Ballet, Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Deborah Brown and Waangenga Blanco, Izaac Carroll, Madeleine Eastoe, Samuel Harnett-Welk, Rudy Hawkes, Laura Hidalgo, Andrew Killian, David Mack, Chimene Steele-Prior, Cass Mortimer Eipper, Charmene Yap and Kristina Chan. Composers are James Brown, Bryony Marks, Luke Smiles and George Bokaris and designers are Aleisa Jelbart and Kat Chan.

The first season will comprise five new dance works by Mortimer-Eipper, Carroll, Brown, Chan and Alice Topp herself, using commissioned music from Australian composers.

“Project Animo is built on the footprints of those who came before us, literally and figuratively," Topp says. "We are giving a much-needed home for dancers who, for varied reasons, have had to retire from their full-time positions but who still have so much capacity for dynamic performance left."

For more info, go here.

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