Who was nominated in our 2023 Critics' Choice survey?

Comments Comments
Photo by Tristan MacKenzie
Strut Dance offered free community classes as part of Perth Festival. Photo by Tristan MacKenzie

What was the state of the art in 2023? In this annual survey, Dance Australia's regular critics nominate their highlights for the year. Here is Perth critic ISABELLE LECLEZIO's choice.

My highlight of 2023 in Perth/Boorloo was STRUT Dance’s inaugural “Perth Moves”, a series of free open community dance classes and professional performances included as part of the Perth Festival program. This took place in the atmospheric courtyard of the State Theatre of Western Australia over five days in February.

STRUT Dance is Perth’s choreographic centre for independent dance artists. In a very exciting change for Boorloo, James O’Hara and Sofie Burgoyne were appointed as Co-Directors of STRUT Dance in June, 2022. They bring a wealth of skills, experience and knowledge to their roles, and their collaborative leadership shows a deep interest in listening to the both the needs of independent dancers and those who watch dance.

Perth Moves 2023 marked a shift to making contemporary dance in Boorloo a more integrated community experience, so that the general public are not just audience members, but have the chance to be active movement participants themselves. Purchasing tickets to large-scale international arts festival events can be expensive, and so the accessibility of Perth Moves’ free workshops and performances was vital in allowing everyone the opportunity to experience dance at Perth Festival. The workshops for all abilities and experiences included yoga, meditation, mature moves, Latin social dance, house dance, contemporary dance and breakdance. Workshop facilitators included Joshua Pether, Storm Helmore, Mubanga, Jayden Wall, Tao Issaro and Isha Sharvani, Liz Cornish, Cindy Welik-Salgado, Molly Tipping, Daryl Brandwood, Pepito, Geordie Crawley, Shona Erskine, Robert Alejandro Tinning and Aimee Sadler.

As well as these community workshops, a free 15-minute performance took place twice every night. This was renowned Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue. The emotive work was remounted by Cindy Welik-Salgado, a member of Pite’s company Kidd Pivot since 2009, who shared her expertise over several weeks with a cast of talented independent contemporary dancers from Australia and New Zealand (Georgia Van Gils, Holly Finch, Hope Keogh, Jayden Wall, Luther Wilson, Mitch Aldridge, Oli Mathieson, Rhiana Katz, Scott Galbraith and Zachary Wilson). The challenging choreography centres around themes of relationships, adversity, kindness and loss, and was performed with prowess and poignancy by the dancers.

“Perth Moves” is returning for Perth Festival 2024, with free community dance classes, participatory performances by Deep Soulful Sweats and a free-to-watch professionally performed short-work by Italian choreographer Michelle Rizzo, to be created with and performed by Perth dancers.

In an exciting opportunity for Australian dancers, Perth Moves 2024 will also include an extensive three-week professional level workshop series, facilitated by local, interstate and international dance artists including Akram Khan Company and Nick Coutsier representing Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

I hope that the success of Perth Moves continues for years to come, so that people from all walks of life can experience the joy of dancing together as a community.

This is an extract from the complete, Australia-wide survey, published in the Jan/Feb/March print issue of Dance Australia. Buy from your favourite dance shop or online here or here.

DAN JFM 2024 cover


comments powered by Disqus