Results of the first Brisbane Contemporary Prix
The first Brisbane International Contemporary Dance (BICD) Prix took place in Brisbane in September, and proved to be an outstanding event.
Attracting 82 contestants from all over Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, the Prix is the brainchild of Louise Deleur, a respected Australian dance artist, with a long career as dancer, coach, choreographer and director of her own company, Lucid Dance Theatre, in Brisbane. She has brought her own experience as coach and choreographer at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland to the creation of this event.
The finals gala was held at Gardens Point Theatre at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Gardens Theatre on September 29. It was the culmination of a six-day event which provided dancers, aged 15 to 22 years, with the opportunity to attend workshops and classes in classical and contemporary dance, repertoire and improvisation. The field of teachers included Tamas Moricz; Kristin Chan; Riannon McLean; Richard Cilli; Bradley Chatfield; Daniel Gaudiello and Amelia Waller.
The jury, who watched classes and workshops during the whole event were Mario Schroeder, Artistic Director of Leipzig Ballet, Germany; Jason Beechey, Director of Palucca Hochschule für Tanz, Germany; Linda Gamblin, Course Director, Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Year; Tim Podesta, Artistic Director of M&T in Motion + Projection Dance; and Dominic Wong, Assistant Artistic Director, City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong.
The final of the competition could best be described as a celebration of the exceptional emerging contemporary dance talent in Australia and beyond. The afternoon commenced with an improvisation class taken by Tamas Moricz, [a former Ballett Frankfurt dancer who now teaches his own contemporary dance methodology called Movement and Awareness]. The dancers were instructed to listen for Moricz’s cues and to focus on the dynamics of the movement, utilising different levels, mechanics, resistance, musicality and spacial awareness.
The finalists then performed one of four possible solo variations from Expressions Dance Company and Sydney Dance Company as well as a solo improvisation. There were some outstanding performances in the Junior Solo and Improvisation Section (15 to 17 years), with dancers demonstrating maturity beyond their years. After a short break the Senior Solo and Improvisations Section commenced (17 years to 22 years), featuring stunning performances of dancers who demonstrated technical mastery and exceptional expression and artistry.
While the jury deliberated, the audience was treated to excerpts from Carmina Burana choreographed by Mario Schroeder and featuring dancers from the QLD Ballet Pre-Professional Year; Twelve Ascensions, choreographed by Daniel Riley with dancers from QUT Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance Performance), and Verses, choreographed by Deleur and once again featuring the QLD Ballet’s Pre-Professional dancers.
As a hush descended over the audience, Deleur began the presentation ceremony by announcing that, over the course of the week, 32 offers had been made from domestic and international dance schools and companies for students to attend either short or long term secondments, internships or, in some cases full-time placements. For an inaugural event designed to connect students with opportunities to further their training and professional development, this is an outstanding result.
In addition to these offers, two Encouragement Awards were offered to dancers who demonstrated potential. The winner of the Male Encouragement Award, sponsored by ARS Musica Australis, was Hyo Shimitzu (15) and the winner of the Female Encouragement Award, sponsored by Lucid Dance Theatre, was Opal Russell (17).
In the Junior Section, the male winner was Joshua Hunt (16) from the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and the female winner was Phoebe Anderssen (15) from The Conlan College in Sydney. Each receives $5000. In the Senior Section, both male and female winners came from Ev and Bow school in Sydney: Dean Elliott (21) and Claudia Hastings (19). Each receives $10,000 with the option to use it towards short-term traineeships offered by Sydney Dance Company, Expressions Dance Company, and/or M&T Motion London and Australia.
Deleur says she was inspired to create the program to create opportunities for “talented young dancers who excel in movement and artistic qualities desired by today’s contemporary choreographers”. The mission, she explains, is to “reveal and unearth the potential of exceptional young dancers who are skilled and suited for a career in contemporary dance”.
Deleur says the other aims of the event are to educate and develop the dance communities understanding of contemporary dance and to provide an opportunity for company and training directors to view potential new dancers over an extended period in a creative and performance environment.
Additionally, the event aims to connect talented young dancers to the best training opportunities or company experiences.
Junior winner Phoebe Anderssen said: “To have so many inspirational people to work with in the one place at the one time was such a highlight”, and to “have it all on your door step and not to have to travel to the other side of the world for the same opportunity was fantastic”.
With so many high level local and international schools and companies involved, the future of the Brisbane International Contemporary Dance Prix looks exceptionally bright, as does the future of contemporary dance.
- MICHELLE DURSUN
For the full results, go here.
Above: Tamas Moricz takes an improvisation class.