As the name suggests, Stephanie Lake Company’s Colossus is a large-scale work, utilising 50 emerging dance artists and dance students.
“It is a huge logistical undertaking to coordinate a cast of this size. I needed the backing of a big institution like Arts Centre Melbourne to make it happen," says Lake. "It's through their support, along with the Victorian College of the Arts and Transit Dance, that we're able to make the show a reality."
Lake has used her outsize cast to make a work in which she taps into the human desire to, on one hand, be part of the mass and to share in a communal experience, and on the other hand, to assert individuality.
“Colossus looks at how we create and follow icons and the subsequent rejection of those leaders - whether they be ideological, political or even celebrity,” explains Lake. "We tend to want something to believe in and would prefer to follow than to exert individual agency. Giving over to outside influence can absolve us from responsibility and that can be of comfort. I want to look at the beauty and ugliness of that tendency.”
While working with so many dancers must pose challenges, Lake says she loves it. “The choreographic potential is dizzying. I love patterning and rhythmic interplay and the sheer energy from having a mass of bodies on stage. It's great to work with a diversity of students and emerging dancers as well; they bring their idiosyncrasies and different training backgrounds into the process, and I'm really excited by the ways they will influence and inspire each other.”
Colossus plays Arts Centre Melbourne 26-30 September.