Melbourne dance-theatre company KAGE is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Limelight catches up with co-creative directors.
What does KAGE mean?
KAGE stands for KA (Kate) and GE (Gerard)
How did you both meet?
We met at the Victorian College of the Arts (School of Dance) in 1992.
What were your original plans for KAGE?
We wanted to create work which we couldn’t recognise around us which combined dance with story telling, visual imagery and a sense of humour. We didn’t think too much about the future, we just wanted to work together and to perform.
What was your first production?
Our very first production for KAGE was in 1997 at Budinski’s Theatre in Smith Street, Melbourne (no longer in existence). We performed a duet together with Rob Franske who had a shaved head, wore black leathers and looked liked a bikie but had the sweetest operatic voice imaginable. We have always been interested in contradictions, surprise, humour and the ways things look on a stage.
You have collaborated with many different types of performers. What have been your most unusual?
In the last 15 years we have worked with: a diamond python (and its handler), a dog, Australia’s most muscular female bodybuilder, an ex-circus ringmaster, a magician, young children, our fathers, a contortionist, gymnasts, actors and of course many talented dancers.
Do you each take on other commissions outside the company?
Yes, Kate has made work on Australian Dance Theatre, Tasdance, Weave and VCA. Gerard has made work on Weave, WAAPA and VCA.
It is not always easy being collaborators. Do you have separate areas of expertise?
It actually is easy being collaborators! We have the same sense of humour and mutual respect for one another. Kate focuses on directing and choreography and Gerard focuses on choreography and performing.
After 15 years, can you look back and see there were things you could have done differently?
No regrets. We have worked incredibly hard to keep KAGE alive and thriving. The best part of our relationship is sharing the highs and the lows together. We’ve always had faith in each other and an unspoken commitment to one another and our vision. Our creative process is enjoyable, unpredictable and filled with laughter and irreverence.
What is your next major project?
Our new duet called Flesh and Bone which will premiere in March, 2013, at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne. Our first performance together for eight years.
Plans for the next 15 years?
More work, more travel, more surprises.
This article was first published in Dance Australia Magazine October/November 2012