Michelle Ryan has enjoyed a career that has spanned over 25 years in the arts. Michelle worked for Queensland Arts Council before joining Meryl Tankard in Canberra and Adelaide as part of Meryl Tankard’s Australian Dance Theatre. She was a performer with Tankard for 7 ½ years followed by projects in Europe as Tankard’s assistant including the Andrew Lloyd Webber West End Production, The Beautiful Game and projects in Portugal and Sweden. On returning to Australia, Michelle was a founding member of Splintergroup and worked at Dancenorth for five years in various capacities.
Michelle returned to performing in 2011 as a guest artist for Alain Plattel Out of Context for Pina by Les Ballet C de la B followed by Take Up Thy Bed and Walk by Gaelle Mellis in 2012.
Michelle was appointed Artist Director of Restless Dance Theatre in 2013 and has created two works for the company, In the Balance and Touched. During this time she performed in London at the Unlimited Festival, at the Melbourne Malthouse Theatre and the Adelaide Festival Centre in Torque Show’s Intimacy. The production won the 2015 Australian Dance Award for Independent Dance and Michelle was awarded the Adelaide Critics Circle Award for her performance. Michelle also worked with Meryl Tankard and Hedone Productions on the film, Michelle’s Story directed by Meryl Tankard which premiered at the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival and won the People’s Choice Award for Best Short Film. The film was screened on ABC TV in March 2016.
Michelle was inducted into the South Australian Woman’s Honour Roll in 2015.
Restless Dance Theatre performed in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2016 and Adelaide Festival in 2017
Meryl’s global career as a choreographer has seen her bold and innovative works staged in Europe, UK, USA, Asia and Australia. Her work ranges widely from co-productions with the Sydney Opera House, a full-length ballet Wild Swans for The Australian Ballet, to Disney on Broadway and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Meryl created the opening section Deep Sea Dreaming for the Sydney Olympics Games Ceremony 2000 and has been commissioned by some of the world’s most dynamic companies including Lyon Ballet and Netherlands Theatre.
Beginning her career as a dancer with the Australian Ballet Meryl went on to become one of Pina Bausch’s principal soloists with the ground-breaking Wuppertaler Tanztheatre.
In 1989 she founded her own dance company in Canberra, synthesising a range of influences and styles to create her own unique dance theatre style.
As Artistic Director of Adelaide-based Australian Dance Theatre (1993-1999) Meryl transformed the company into a leading International company with her diverse range of full-length works including Furioso, Possessed, Aurora, Rasa, Inuk, Songs with Mara.
In 2010 Meryl graduated from AFTRS where she made two short films Mad and Moth. Her documentary Michelle’s Story, commissioned by ABC TV and 2015 Adelaide Film Festival, won the Audience Award for Best Short Film and Screen SA awards for best short film, best documentary and best soundtrack.
Acclaimed International choreographer Marc Brew trained as a professional dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and The Australian Ballet School. He is the new Artistic Director with AXIS Dance Company and has been working in the UK and Internationally for the past 19 years as a director, choreographer, dancer, teacher and speaker; with the Australian Ballet Company, State Theatre Ballet Company of South Africa, Infinity Dance Theatre, CandoCo Dance Company and as Associate Director with Scottish Dance Theatre. Since 2008 Marc has been dedicating time to his own choreography with Marc Brew Company and was Associate Artistic Director with Ballet Cymru in Wales and Associate Artist at Tramway Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland. Recent choreographic commissions include Scottish Ballet, Ballet Cymru, AXIS Dance Company (USA), Candoco Dance Company (UK), Touch Compass (NZ), Amy Seiwert’s Imagery (USA), GDance, Scottish Dance Theatre, Greewnwich & Docklands International Festival and City of London Festival (UK). Marc was featured by Time Out Magazine as the best of the new breed of London’s Rising Dance Talent and was presented with a Centenary Medal for Outstanding Contribution as a dancer and choreographer. His work Remember When was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Performance (individual) and his recent solo work For Now, I am… was listed in the Guardians Top 10 Dance Shows for 2016. More information www.marcbrew.com
Headshot by Andy Ross
Liz Aggiss is a UK live artist, dance performer, choreographer and award winning dance film-maker. She was taught Rudolph von Laban’s Modern Educational Dance in the UK, studied with Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis and Hanya Holm at the Dance Theatre Laboratory New York, attended Hanya Holm’s intensive programme at Colorado Springs, trained with Ausdruckstanzereine Hilde Holger in London and took workshops in Eccentric Dance with Barry and Joan Grantham. For the past 40 years Liz Aggiss has been re(de)fining her signature style and brand of British contemporary dance; from her early days in the 80’s supporting punk legends The Stranglers with her cabaret troupe The Wild Wigglers, to her classic solo Grotesque Dancer (1986), to the dance/opera duet Falling Apart at the Seams (1994), to the award winning dance film Motion Control (2002), to her Guerrilla Dance interventions (2008), to her unconventional Performance Lecture Survival Tactics (2009), to the cross art integrated film and live performance The English Channel (2014), to her dark humoured inter-textual visual performance Slap and Tickle (2016). She received the Bonnie Bird Choreography Award1994, an Arts Council Dance Fellowship in 2003. Her dance films, screened on BBC, Channel 4, ABC Australia, Arte TV France and Germany, have received numerous awards including; for Motion Control Czech Crystal Prague Golden Film Festival, Special Jury Golden Houston, Best Woman Film MediaWaves Hungary: for Anarchic Variations Romanian National Office of Cinematography, Special Jury Prize Napolidanza: for Men in the Wall DCW L.A. Innovation in the field of Dance Media: for Diva Hong Kong Jumping Frames Screen Dance Award: for Beach Party Animal South East Dance Award. In 2010/11 she undertook an international tour representing The British Council /South East Dance’s Forward Motion screen dance package. Anarchic Dance, published by Routledge, comprises a book and three-hour DVD as a visual textual record of her live and screen dance work. Liz Aggiss is Professor Emeritus in Visual Performance University of Brighton and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate University of Gothenburg Sweden.
Instep is a community dance company from the UK whose aim is to provide an equal opportunity for all to discover, demonstrate, and develop their abilities in the field of dance. The company has grown considerably in response to demand from the local community. The classes are inclusive with a gifted and talented strand for those who wish to take dance more seriously. Classes range from a pre school class to an adult class for those over 50.
Instep has been operating since 1980 and in that time have enjoyed considerable success with over 40 students going on to study dance at University and conservatories and many going on to establish careers in dance ranging from teaching to performance.
…Living is a Doorway
In this dance film you will meet 7 fabulous female dancers who rock suits better than men! Take a moment to notice who they really are and then consider that they are also shameless fashionistas, Magritte impersonators, and extroverted fans of Ziggy Stardust!
Frame them within the real world but not one as predictable as the one we know. Construct a door, use it to enter a new place, a new time, a new mood.
Witness their private realities and dance to the tune of their grooves.
With sharp shooting and a hyper-real sound score indulge in this joyful journey safe in the hands of women who know how to do life’s locomotion!
We made the film in order to create a wider platform for the work of Instep and also to celebrate our Company of elders. We felt the medium of film was an excellent way to celebrate their achievements, personalities and to be inclusive of every ability and age within the group. Creating a work for film was a really positive way to include everyone fully, whilst also celebrating the beauty of our local area!
Performers: Lief Bruylant, Doreen Draper, Pauline Gladstone- Barrett , Wenda Holland, Janey Murray ,Catherine Robinson & Susanne Warrilow
Music : …Living in a Doorway produced and performed by Dougie Evans
Choreographer : Abi Mortimer
Rehearsal Director: Joe Darby
Camera operation and editing: Josh Thompson of Wiggly Line
Project manager and co-ordinator: Jackie Mortimer
Great Big Story is a global storytelling brand dedicated to covering awesome, untold and inspiring stories. We reach intellectually curious, social, cord-cutting trendsetters through non-fiction, short form videos distributed everywhere from your mobile phone to broadcast TV (and everywhere in between).
A multi-award-winning choreographer, educator, filmmaker and installation artist, Sue is one of Australia’s foremost dance makers and widely regarded as one of the region’s finest dance-filmmakers.
Originally from New Zealand, she was a founding member of the Melbourne company Dance Works and Artistic Director of Vis-à-Vis Dance (1993-96). Sue received the prestigious Creative Fellowship in 2013-14 from the Australia Council for Arts, and was recently made an Honorary Fellow of the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. With her own Sue Healey Company she has made and toured numerous dance works for theatres, galleries, specific sites and screens across Australia, the US, Europe and Asia.
Her films have screened in over 30 countries and have been broadcast by Australian and European television networks. Virtuosi (her debut feature-length documentary) has screened in New York, Montreal, Amsterdam, Prague, Portugal, London, American Dance Festival and many other international festivals in 2013-15. Virtuosi won an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance on Film 2013 and a Silver ACS Award for cinematography (feature film).
Her new series On View is currently being presented in various contexts around Australia:
On View: Quintet toured to Dance Massive Festival in Melbourne, March 2015
On View: Benjamin Hancock as part of the Gertrude St Projection Festival, Melbourne.
The major work On View: Live Portraits was presented by the Performance Space at Carriageworks, Sydney in July 2015, in conjunction with the installation On View: Icons – Dame Lucette Aldous and Professor Shirley McKechnie.
Sonia’s life has been consumed with all forms of dance. She trained extensively in classical ballet and contemporary dance in the UK. Since migrating to Australia she has merged this lived knowledge into filmmaking and photography.
Sonia has gained invaluable experience through artist residencies photographing dancers in Beijing, London, Birmingham, Stockholm and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Southern Cross University NSW (2011) Bachelor of Digital Media (Hons) QCA, Griffith University Qld (2013). In 2014 she commenced studies for Master of Visual Arts with her research for Ageism and the mature dancer. The project has since been upgraded to PhD.
Ageism and the mature dancer
Traditionally, ageing holds prejudice and no more so than in Western culture where the obsession with youth is endemic. This phenomenon is particularly evident in the modern dance world. Over 35 years of age in dance generally determines whether the performer continues or terminates their career, despite their physicality or performance ability. The 1990s established a flux where a group of European choreographers challenged retirement and the waste of mature dancers, recognizing the need to value and extend their careers. Why has it taken a further 25 years for a second shift to evolve? Mature dancers, who in most other professions would not be considered old, are spearheading the change in perceptions of age within dance, with choreographers embracing their lived body experience by creating works that speak more about the dancer than the choreography. Primary research has been gathered from mature dancers from the UK, Canada, Holland, USA, Germany, Sweden and Australia who address ageing and physicality, in the dance world they inhabit. The thesis: Ageism and the mature dancer and the film project: Inappropriate Behaviour; examine the role of dancers who extend beyond the paradigm of age where their practice rather than their maturity defines them.
Since 1983 Jellie Dekker has been a director of music and dance programmes at public broadcaster NTR-TV in The Netherlands. She directed many registrations of opera and ballet: works by o.a. Mozart and Kagel with the Netherlands Opera, ballets as Romeo and Julia, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Green Table (with The Dutch National Ballet) as well as work by contemporary choreographers as Van Dantzig, Duato, Van Manen and Wubbe. Next to that, she has been working with quite a number of contemporary choreographers on film- and video-adaptations, as well as on contemporary music productions.
Dekker directed many live broadcasts, o.a. the 10th Eurovision Young Dancer Competition from the Municipal Theatre in Amsterdam.
Next to long documentaries about the unknown Dutch dance history, of Hans Snoek - director of Scapino Ballet - and prima ballerina Alexandra Radius, she also made profiles of contemporary choreographers and dancers.
Sulphur, a dance movie made in close collaboration with choreographers Leine/Roebana, was screened at Springdance and Cadance Festival, and numerous dance movie festivals all over the world.
Since some years Dekker is working as an independent director/producer, which resulted in short dance and music films, but mostly in documentaries.
She portrayed composer Misha Mengelberg ( AFIJN, 2006, which was shown at numerous festivals all over the world), percussionist Han Bennink ( Hazentijd, 2009), researched the life of Sonia Gaskell, founder of the Dutch National Ballet (Mevrouw, 2010) and Nureyev’s collaboration with the Dutch National Ballet (A Russian in the polder).
Her last documentary film is about Dutch dance legend Jaap Flier, who performed till high age.
Darshan was a longstanding member of the world-renowned London Contemporary Dance Theatre from 1979 to 1994, first as a dancer, then rehearsal director, choreographer and teacher. He also danced as a member of Siobhan Davies Dance Company in 1991 and was Assistant to the Director of Richard Alston Dance Company from 1994 to 1996.
Darshan has created and directed works for international companies including London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, Scottish Dance Theatre, CandoCo, Nordic Dance Theatre, CeDeCe, Zero Culture and for Companhia de Bailado Contemporaneo (Portugal). Schools for which he has created work include Northern School of Contemporary Dance, London School of Contemporary Dance, Danshögskolan in Sweden and English National Ballet School. London Studio Centre & Millennium Dance, Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance and New World School of the Arts, Miami, Alvin Ailey school, NYC.
Darshan was appointed Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre in February 2002. During his four years with Phoenix, he revitalised the reputation of the company on the national and international stage earning Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Modern) in the 2006 Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards. After a successful US tour in May 2006, he stepped down as Artistic Director, returning to freelance teaching and directing in the UK and USA.
Darshan has directed numerous dance and music videos since 1985, including The Fall (nominated for BFI innovation award), Harmonica Breakdown for BBC2 and What About Sky (MTV, ITV Chart Show). In 2004, he completed the biographical film, Robert Cohan: Another Place, comprising in depth interviews and unparalleled access to archive material. Darshan was awarded a grant from Dancer’s Career Development fund to study at the Metropolitan Film School in January 2007.
Collaborations with other artists, choreographers, musicians and filmmakers spanning his 30 years in theatre include working alongside Director Micha Bergese to choreograph and direct the Opening Ceremony for the Millennium Dome. As Assistant Director and Choreographer for Shaolin Wheel of Life, an international production with the masters of Kung Fu, Darshan had the honour to meet and work with the Abbot and the Zen Buddhist Monks of the ancient Shaolin Temple of China. Darshan was Choreographer for the opening section of the immensely popular Bollywood awards in Yorkshire IIFA 2007. Darshan also collaborated with admired singer- songwriter, John Martyn in 1993 in London Contemporary Dance Theatre’s, Fall Like Rain. Jocelyn Pook who worked with Stanley Kubrick on Eyes Wide Shut composed the music for Darshan’s 2003 Requiem, a poignant narrative about a missing child. Barrington Pheloung, who composed music for Inspector Morse, worked with Darshan on the music for Shaolin Wheel of Life in 1999. Graham Dean, a successful painter and friend, collaborated with Darshan on films such as Breaking The Surface, 1985. Music from composer Barry Guy often crops up in Darshan’s work, notably in Breaking the Surface, and most recently Caravaggio: Exile and Death.
2009 to 2011 were busy years of guest teaching at Rambert School and The Place (London), New World School of the Arts (Miami) and Terence Lewis Contemporary Dance Company (Mumbai), Franco Dragone’s company in Macau China, while creating new works for NWSA and Florida State University. His films, Jayne Lee’s Dance Down River and a documentaries of Shuffle It Right, Something to do, Roughcut and All American Alston by Richard Alston were launched in 2010, 2012 & 2013 respectively. His work, The Virgin Queen, for NWSA in Miami was chosen for Florida’s Rising Stars showcase performance in 2011, as well as commissioned for the Martha Graham 2 Dance Company programme in April 2014.
In the autumn of 2011, Darshan created and toured the UK with his full-length work, Caravaggio: Exile and Death with support from the Arts Council of England.
The following summer of 2012, Darshan was invited to be the choreographer for Prometheus Awakes by Graeae, UK’s leading disabled theatre company and La Fura Dels Baus, a Spanish based large-scale outdoor theatre company.
His most recent choreographic work in 2014 are “Mapping” for Phoenix Dance Theatre and “Rites of War” an aerial dance theatre piece for Gravity & Levity. 2016 “Mapping” for Nimbus Dance in the USA. Resent film work “Das Model, the Dancer and Lola by Singh Productions.
Headshot by Anita Griffin
Charlotta Öfverholm is the initiator of Age on Stage in Sweden. Followed by the festival FUCKING BURN IT- Age on Stage fall 2015. She is burning for the continuation of creating a platform for dance, experienced artists and dance as a tool for creativity, vitality and passion. Since the start of Compagnie Jus de la Vie 1995, Öfverholm has created over 25 productions, which has toured all over Europe, North and South America and Africa. Her work is physical dance theatre with depth, irony, brutality and humor. Öfverholm studied dance at Balettakademien Göteborg and at Alvin Aily ADC, NYC and is a theatre graduate of UCLA in Film/TV/Video and from The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Los Angeles. She has a background as dancer with numerous companies such as DV 8 Physical Theatre/Lloyd Newson, Bill T. Jones/NYC, Sean Curran /NYC, Complexions/ NYC, Farm in the Cave/ Viliam Docolomansky/ Prague,Roberto Galván/ Tanzcompagnie Giessen, Joseph Tmim /Toláda Berlin, Ramon Oller/ Metros Barcelona, Robert Poole/ Ballet Linz, Cie Corinne Lanselle in Paris, Dorte Olesen and Björn Elisson Kompani in Stockholm among others. Lead roles include Shakespeares Hamlet (Landestheatre Linz by Robert Poole), Alice in Alice in Wonderland (Stadttheater Giessen by Roberto Galvan), and Lola in Lola and Mr Talk at Divadlo Archa (by Jan Kodet) for which she was nominated a Thalia Prize at the National Theatre in Prague CZ 2005.She performed musicals like Cabaret at the Royal Dramatic Theatre/ Stockholm (Richard Turpin) and Leva Livet at Chinateatern/Stockholm. Charlotta choreographes commissioned works for companies such as Norrdans/Swe, Vertedance Prague/CZ, Ballet Linz/AU, Tanztheater Münster/DE, Folkoperan/SWE, Gothenburg Dance Company/SWE, Peridance CDC/NYC among others. She has choreographed films and documentaries for Swedish Television among them “Holiday” and “Bortkopplad” by Anna Duell and “Gunstlingen” by Astrid Ohlsén. She teaches and choreographes for schools and universities all over the world and enjoys meeting and giving to new generations of dance. Charlotta also runs the 10 week International Summerfestival at Balettakademien since 2005.
Kindness can be so Cruel
The trick to making a film that deals with addiction, mental health, social pressure and how outsiders are treated in modern society is in making it palatable. Silent film offers the audience an opportunity for gentle reflection through nostalgia, to remember an era when people tackled tough times with humour and grace, and took pleasure in simple things.
Dance reaches the audience in a specific way; its winding physicality bypasses logic and goes straight to our emotional core. Its ethereal quality allows the viewer to visualise Otis’ inner journey – bringing his sensibility to the fore without dialogue.
Using imagined stages of addiction helped to give the film a roadmap. Otis traverses euphoria, debt, denial, resolve, relapse, guilt, withdrawal and finally, acceptance.
Ultimately, couching the issues in a silent dance film allowed us to comment, in a palatable way, on the increasing lack of freedom in our society; a steadily declining health system, and, to remind us that finding happiness may be as simple as dancing around the lounge room with whomever or whatever happens to be there at the time!
Anders J Larsson is a freelance photographer and filmmaker with focus on dance and stage productions both in Sweden and internationally. With premiere March 2013, he created video projections for a full evening choreography, 4 Feet Under, by Charlotta Öfverholm, for Tanztheater Münster, Germany. He works continuesly with Balettakademien in Stockholm and has several cooperations with dancers and choreographers for photo and film productions. The dance film RASA was created together with Karin Lundqvist and Tine Matulessy and showed at Gallery Young Art during 2012. Anders is educated at Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm where he now also gives courses in film making and business acumen.
Sally is a performer, teacher, choreographer and mind-body practitioner.
She obtained her ARAD and Solo Seal, aged 16. The following year she won the Sanlam International Best Contemporary Dancer Award and then graduated from QUT in 1995. Aged 18, she joined Graeme Murphy’s Sydney Dance Company performing nationally and internationally for 7 years in: Salome, Free Radicals, Berlin, Beauty and the Beast, The Protecting Veil, Air and Other Invisible Forces, New Blood, Ellipse and the 20th Anniversary Retrospective. In 2001 Sally spent 10 months studying dance, singing, yoga and meditation in India. In 2003 she joined Expressions under Maggi Sietsma performing Virtually Richard 3rd, Flight, The Fifth Door, Score, Rites of Spring, Alone TogetherM, If Only and Natalie Weir’s The Insider.
Choreographic credits include: the short film Empathy is the Devil, which screened at Cannes 2016 and won best young director at NIFF. Hanta’s Head for Expressions, nominated ‘Best New Work’ in Dance Australia’s 2003 Critics Choice Award, In Time for Sydney Dance Company, So(i)ul for the Lithuanian Exhibition QLD Museum, WWW with Elizabeth Cameron-Dalman and two scholarships as participant then mentor to the International Dance Web, Vienna.
Sally has taught for Bangarra, EDC, SDC, Ausdance National, ACPA, and dance institutions nationally and internationally. In 2011 she obtained a Bachelor of Health Science and has practiced as an Acupuncturist and a Kinesiologist. She is the mother of 2 young boys, has a keen interest in the body-mind connection, physical/dance theatre and the nurturing of creativity.