Garry Stewart in conversation

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After two defining decades leading ADT, the outgoing artistic director has a lot to look back on. He talks to Maggie Tonkin.

Garry Stewart; photo by Sam Roberts Photography.
Garry Stewart; photo by Sam Roberts Photography.

Stepping away from something you’ve invested your heart and soul into for more than 20 years is never going to be easy. But as he relinquishes the position of Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre after more two decades, Garry Stewart is sanguine. Although he admits to  what he calls “bifurcated feelings” – sadness at the loss of a role that has become part of his identity and the vague thought he might “drop off a cliff into anonymity” – for the most part, he’s hugely excited about future possibilities as he closes one door in order to open many others.

It won’t surprise anyone familiar with Stewart that these possibilities are legion. He already has a part-time appointment as a Professor of Creative Arts at Flinders University, where he is Director of Assemblage, a new research centre in the Creative Arts. There he has a brief to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations across artforms, involving artist practitioners with academic researchers. When interviewed at ADT’s Norwood studios, he’s excited about projects already in the pipeline at Flinders, adding that he’s looking forward to having more time to pursue diverse creative projects through multiple avenues.

He is also exploring choreographic commissions from other companies, and opportunities to work in film and opera. Clearly, there will be no let up from the creative impulse that has always driven him. As he says, “I won’t stop being an artist on leaving ADT: it’s in my DNA; however I now need to explore other creative possibilities outside the structure of a full time company.”

His final year at ADT is hugely busy, with the third instalment of his “Nature” trilogy, Supernature, premiering at the Adelaide Festival to much acclaim, and the award-winning South, the second part of the trilogy, currently touring regional South Australia. His film, The Circadian Cycle, is screening at film festivals internationally. A piece he made in 2015 for Germany’s TanzMainz, Objekt, will have an Adelaide season in September. . . . 

This is an extract from an article in the current print issue (July/Aug/Sep) of Dance Australia. Buy from your favourite retailer or buy or subscribe and never miss an issue!

'Objekt' runs from September 13-19. For more info, go here.




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