Stompin outside the square
When this year’s Australian Youth Dance Festival (AYDF) was cancelled in July due to Covid-19 outbreaks in NSW, many young dancers from around the country were disappointed, including those members of Stompin Youth Dance in Launceston in Tasmania. Not to be deterred, Caitlin Comerford, who is artistic director of Stompin as well as co-artistic director of the AYDF, quickly arranged an “on-island mini festival” in its place.
The dancers took class with local dance and theatre artists, travelled to Hobart to see some of the island's natural beauty and participated in a dance-exchange with DRILL, Hobart's youth dance company. On the last day, they joined in with Yellow Wheel youth company in Melbourne to make a show in a day, called, "Its a Dance Project". Both companies started the process at 9am and presented a 30-minute work as well as the performance they had both prepared for AYDF at 7pm that evening. This was all achieved in separate studios in separate states but with a shared theme for the project and task ideas.
The Stompin dancers had already spent a week in an intensive choreographic project mentored by Bec Jensen. The result of that time will now be presented at the Junction Arts Festival in Launceston. Called Outside the Square, and performed in the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre just outside Prince's Square, it is a promenade performance, sharing the creators' thoughts on what is “different” or uncomfortable, with an aim to make people laugh. "They also reflect on more moving or personal concepts of stepping outside of their comfort zones and being transported to another time and place by memory,” says Comerford.
Next year is Stompin’s 30th anniversary, and the company has some “very special project planned”, Comerford hints.
The AYDF is expected to go ahead in 2022.