Chunky Move

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A meeting with the artistic director of Chunky Move

Louise Avery

Chunky Move has become something of a contemporary dance institution in Melbourne. As Anouk van Dijk reminds me, it is Melbourne’s only major contemporary dance company and travels internationally. This statement solved one of my lifelong questions on why we can’t see dance any time of the year, because they are touring internationally for a large part of the year.

The opportunity to interview Anouk was both exciting and more than a little bit awe-inspiring. I don’t know how to speak dance despite my best efforts in my lounge room to choreograph my own performances and the media release spoke extensively of Anouk’s exploration of language of the body to express ideas.

When I arrived at Chunky Move studios I stepped into a world with dancers practicing, cool receptionists typing and a blackened studio where lighting engineers would emerge out of the darkness quietly, setting up logistics for the space.

The Chunky Move space was reserved for performance, so the interview was in Anouk’s office, which was tiny, with a light to give an illusion of space. She had interrupted a busy rehearsal schedule to meet me with me so I felt almost apologetic as I pfaffed around with my recording app on my phone to start our brief interview, which was apt for the theme of the show. L U C I D is a reflection of our interaction with technology.

Anouk explained the genesis of the concept for L U C I D by saying ”I am interested in people now and how they live their lives and how globalisation affects how we communicate with each other, which has really shifted over the last 6 or 7 years. I am interested in a sense of privacy a sense of what we can express and a sense of how they can communicate whether they feel safe. And all that is stored in the body. All that is a departure point for the work.”

We were interrupted by a fire alarm where everyone in the office shuffled outside to gather around the yellow peril, dancers with cold feet in t-shirts on one of the few rainy autumn days this year.

I observed Anouk taking the opportunity to work with her dancers discussing movement and pathways of exploration as we waited to return to the studio. It was a moment to see how a work unfolds for a choreographer and an artistic director. The script is not written down but written in the body.

L U C I D is a dance performance that uses cameras including go pro’s and security cameras to view the two performers from every angle, not normally seen by the audience.

It also uses lead dancer Stephen Phillips skills in acting (he was an actor who found out as an adult he really liked to move so took up dance classes) and professional dancer Lauren Langlois’s skills in clowning which were stretched as she explored her funny side.

It’s a journey into the unexpected using light and sound to explore films and self-image. A dance program that I am enthusiastically anticipating. I hope L U C I D answers the many questions I had for Anouk but had no time to ask. Can dance be funny? Can dancers act? Maybe dance can be whatever you want it to be.

L U C I D is playing at Chunky Move

Thu 26 – Sat 28 May, Tue 31 May – Sunday 5 Jun and Wed 8 – Sun 12 Jun 7.30pm / Sundays, 5pm

111 Stuart St, Southbank

VIC 3006, Australia


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