The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Contents
Angela Conquet
Angela Conquet
(*1) Hideyuki Yano (1943-1988)
Born in Tokyo, Yano moved to Paris in 1973 and founded the Ma Danse Rituel Théâtre (name changed later to Groupe Ma). He went on to create works combining dance, theatre and music that expressed internal sensations and emotions that would have a big influence on French Nouveau Dance. In 1986, he was appointed director of the France’s Besançon Franche-Comté national choreography center. Among Yano’s representative works are Geo Choreography (1979), At the Hawk’s Well (1983), and Salome (1986) among others.
(*2) Nouveau territoire de l’art
Making use of the large grounds and facilities of an abandoned factory complex, this is a policy aimed at providing places where new art forms that didn’t exist in the traditional arts and culture programs and policies by providing spaces for artists of all genres to create works and providing them with living accommodations, and by making the facilities open to the local communities. Fabrice Lextrait, the director of one such facility, Friche la Belle de Mai, in Marseille from 1990, recognized the existence of this new form of arts facilities around France and gave them the collective name Nouveau territoire de l’art in 2002 and succeeded in winning national government funding to establish more of them throughout the country.
(*3) Dance Massive
The biennial Dance Massive is a contemporary dance festival held every other year in March for two weeks. It was established by the dance association of Victoria state, Ausdance Victoria, by bringing together a coalition of three of Melbourne’s arts centers: Dancehouse, Arts House and Malthouse Theatre. Its programs span the full contemporary dance demographic, from young dancers to seasoned veteran professional dancers.
https://dancemassive.com.au/
(*4) Aerowaves
Founded in 1996 by the director of the London theatre The Place at the time, John Ashford, Aerowaves is a contemporary dance-specific networking organization dedicated to the discovery and support of young European choreographers. As of 2019, it functions as a partnership of theatres, festivals and professionals from 33 European countries.
https://aerowaves.org
Presenter Interview
Aug. 2, 2019
The new realms being explored by Dancehouse Australia’s only dance-specific arts center 
The new realms being explored by Dancehouse Australia’s only dance-specific arts center 
Performances by such artists as Lucy Guerin and the Bangarra Dance Theatre in 2018 brought the attention of the Japanese audience to Australian contemporary dance. The 1992 founding of Dancehouse in Melbourne (Australia’s second largest city), as the country’s only dance-specific arts facility and its presence has made the city a “capital of contemporary dance” in Australia. In additions to serving as a venue for dance performances year-round and supporting the creative work of choreographers, Dancehouse also organizes the biennial dance festival Dance Massive and its choreography competition, the Keir Choreographic Award, as well as publishing the organization’s newsletter Dancehouse Diary as part of its comprehensive programs to create an environment that supports all aspects of dance. Since 2011, the director of Dancehouse is Angela Conquet. She moved to Melbourne after serving as dance department director at an arts center in Paris and has sine initiated dynamic programs at Dancehouse. In this interview she talk to us about the otherwise lesser-known contemporary dance scene in Australia.
Interviewer: Sae Okami


From a Paris Arts Center to Melbourne

Could we begin by having you tell us how you can to be in your present position at Dancehouse? We hear that your previous position was at an arts center in Paris, are you originally from France?
I am Romanian, and I am from a town near the Hungarian border. So from a young age I lived between two cultures, which made me feel that I had roots in a variety of places. In high school I studied English and French with the aim of becoming an interpreter and translator. On a European scholarship, I studied in France to be a conference interpreter and succeeded in becoming one.

How was it that you went from there to become involved with dance?
I gradually began to feel that I wanted to work in the arts and culture field, so I got a Master’s Degree in arts management. Then I began working for the company of the choreographer Sidonie Rochon in Paris. Rochon is a choreographer who was strongly influenced by her work with Hideyuki Yano (*1). It was working there that I began to gain an interest in Japan.
After that I worked for seven years at the independent arts center Mains d’Œuvres (https://www.mainsdoeuvres.org) where I was in charge of the dance projects. It was a pioneering arts facility that was dedicated to the pursuit of “New territory in art” (Nouveau territoire de l’art *2) and providing residencies for artists in order to serve as a place where connections could be built between art and daily life and with the local communities. My job there was to search out new talents who otherwise had little opportunity to show their work. From there I moved to Melbourne in 2011.

What led to your being assigned to the position and how long was your contract for
I was selected from an open-call application for the job, and the contract was for four years. The contract was renewable and I am now in the second year of my renewed contract. Having a term of four years is a sound system, I believe. Having that a term of that length means that you have to review and revise the management and operational vision, and I believe that four years is the minimum amount of time you need to be able to evaluate the results of the projects you put in place. And in fact, we are now beginning to see the result of the projects we initiated in the last three or four years.

What made you decide to move to Melbourne? Was it from an interest in Australian dance?
I like jobs that are international in nature, and indeed in France I had been working with a European network that supported the movement of artists between countries, so I simply had a desire to experience working in a new place. I also felt that continuing to work in Europe would engrain a European way of think and mindset in me, so I wanted to place myself on the outside of Europe and look at the world with fresh eyes. So I took on the challenge of moving to a distant region and working in a different context. I also had an interest in the Aboriginal culture, and I was also certain that in Australia I would find ways of thinking about the world and the physicality that were worlds apart from those of the West.
When I was working in Paris, I knew about famous Australian choreographers like Lucy Guerin and Russel Dumas and at Mains d’Oeuvres they had accepted some young dancers [from Australia]. So I had some knowledge, although rather superficial, and I also felt an attraction to Australia personally. At the time, dance in France was dominated by conceptual dance, which meant that the dance often lacked movement. In contrast, Australian dance was very physical and full of movement, and the references were still unknown to me. So, I came to Melbourne with curiosity, and indeed what I found surprising diversity and spread of dance.

Could you tell us specifically about some of the things you learned by coming to Australia?
I have learned a lot in my six years here. For one thing I realized how—if I may use the harshest of words—we have been ‘colonized’ by Western thought. I realized that, until then, my references regarding dance were defined by white males like Gilles Deleuze, and that enabled me to begin to look at cultural diversity from different perspectives. Not all of us are able to talk about diversity as the difference between you and others from a standpoint of equality. I have also learned a new approach to ‘feminism’ through the works of the Australian philosopher Elizabeth Grosz and her concepts like “physical feminism.” I also learned about ‘queer culture’. And, from Aboriginal thought I learned about how to look at the world with a perspective that doesn’t depend on concepts of hierarchy. The idea that we all live within a greater circle, an ecosystem, diminishes the importance of individuality. It may be something close to Eastern philosophy. The experience of seeing all of this translated into dance has changed me greatly.


Dancehouse and Dance Massive

Now I would like to ask you to tell us about the history of Dancehouse and its mission.
Dancehouse is the only dance-specific organization in Melbourne, and at it we hold dance performances throughout the year. The building is a beautiful example of Victorian style architecture built in 1887, so it is also registered as a historical local cultural heritage building. Some 27 years ago, a group of artists got permission to use the building for the city of, which it belonged to. It thus became a place for artists to work and to live on a shared lodging basis. Since then, rather than being a place under the curatorship of Dancehouse, it has been a place for the artists run by the artists, with dance training, creation of works and support for performances, while also being a place to think about and develop dance through public programs and publishing and more. In addition we feel it is also our job to grow the dance audience. In short, the core of our task has three pillars, supporting the dancers, promoting discourse about dance as an art and building audience.

Where does your funding come from?
We operate with funding we receive from the Australia Council for the Arts and Victoria state once every four years. Since the time of our founding there have been no rental fees for the use of the facility. As rental rates are very high in Australia this helps us a lot and it is evidence to us of the forward-looking approach of the municipal government. We have three studios that we rent out to the public and they are used for a variety of classes from 6:00 in the evening until 11:00 for amateur dance, yoga and bodywork classes and the like that bring a lot of exchange opportunities. Most of our performances are sold out. The tickets are 15 [Australian] dollars for students, while the most expensive tickets are 25 dollars. In Melbourne, a cup of coffee costs 5 dollars and a glass of wine is more expensive at 15 dollars, so the price range of our tickets is easily affordable for people who are interested to come see dance.

What is the social profile of the contemporary dance audience in Melbourne?
It is often said recently that Sydney has wealth and Melbourne has culture, and as that suggests, Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia. It is also a city with many galleries and universities. Also, the city’s Victoria College of the Arts is the only college in the country with a dance major course. The dance audience consists of many university instructors and students who are involved in dance in some way or have interest in dance, but the audience that comes to our festival “Dance Massive” come from a broad range of backgrounds and demographics.

The biennial Dance Massive (*3) festival held every other year in March is Australia’s big contemporary dance festival.
Dance Massive was launched in 2009. It is run jointly by three of Melbourne’s arts centers, Dancehouse, Arts House (https://www.artshouse.com.au), which specializes in contemporary dance and theatre, and Malthouse Theatre (https://malthousetheatre.com.au), which specializes primarily in theatre but is also open to a wide range of other artistic activities. It has been a very successful festival, and in 2019 it celebrated the 10th anniversary of its launch. This year’s was sixth holding and 28 works were performed over the 12 days from March 12th to 24th. The program was prepared jointly by the three arts centers and Dancehouse prepared performances at some unexpected venues like the old Abbottsford Monastery, a tennis court and a gymnasium.
The very different characters of the three arts centers has resulted in a very strong synergy, and by watching Dance Massive you can get quite a clear picture of the contemporary dance scene in Australia. Dancehouse focuses on experimental dances while Malthouse with its big stage is well suited for larger-scale works by companies like Chunky Move and Lucy Guerin Inc, and Arts House prepares features on mid-career artists an Aboriginal artists. Dancehouse also prepares public programs like workshops and discussions by the New York Times dance critic Rothlyn Sulcus.
In terms of securing funding, there are problems, but we have constant audience draw and the festival thus serves a meaningful role with regard to the artists’ careers. It also gathers professionals from the other Australian states and from overseas, which makes it possible to introduce Australian choreographers to overseas presenters.

Since you became director of Dancehouse, have you introduced any new programs?
The motivation behind publishing this magazine was the sort of frustration I felt after having moved to Australia from Paris. Unlike in France, I felt that Australian artists were not thinking about physicality as a reflection of society. A person’s physicality is very strongly influenced by the cultural and social aspects of their life environment in the world. For example, we can readily see that the way people walk on the streets in Australia, Japan and France are not the same. If we observe carefully we can discover phenomena hidden within the different environments that influence physical differences, and it is important to connect physical movements to ethical and political factors. In our magazine, we pursue concepts from the standpoints of specific contexts, which means that people fields other than dance can also find interesting things in it. Melbourne is the only city in Australia where people can study dance as a major course in university, and many people have gotten doctor’s degrees in dance here doing research on a very high level. However, there are very few platforms outside of academia where the results of this research can be connected to the actual dance field. Although our Dancehouse Diary (http://www.dancehousediary.com.au) is not an academic journal, it does serve to support this kind of research. There is no magazine like this in France, so we can say that from the global standpoint, it is indeed a unique project.

Would you tell us about your choreography competition?
In Australia, about 90% of the funding support for dance goes to ballet, there is the Keir Foundation that has a profound understanding of the needs of the contemporary dance scene, and we were able to receive support from them to establish the Keir Choreographic Award (http://dancehouse.com.au/performance/performancedetails.php?id=264) for choreographers. The award jury is made up of noted international choreographers and program directors and the first stage of selection is done on the basis of videos from applicants, from which eight finalists are then selected to create new works of up to 20 minutes to compete for the award. The competition was launched in 2014 and is held every other year in the off years from our Dance Massive festival. It has been held three times until now and the next holding will be in March of 2020. The fact that it held as a competition draws a lot of attention from the media and the general audience, and it has been so popular that the tickets are always sold out. It is very rare in Australia to have tours of dance works, but we have made performances possible in Sydney by forming a partnership with the former railroad car factory that was converted into a large-scale comprehensive cultural facility called Carriageworks (https://carriageworks.com.au).

How is the judging conducted?
The competition is open to Australian artists, and it is possible for foreign artists who have become residents of Australia to apply as well. The first stage of application involves submitting a 5-minute video, however specify that it not be a dance performance video but a verbal presentation of the idea behind the choreography. The finalists selected from this video application stage are then given support from Dancehouse to create the actual dance work. The number of dancers in each piece is limited to five, and each applicant is given 100 hours of rehearsal studio time and technical support. The finalists then compete for the award with their resulting 20-minute pieces. For the last holding in 2018, the jury consisted of six people, including from overseas choreographers Meg Stuart, Ismael Houston Jones and Eszter Salamon, and from Australia choreographer Lucy Guerin, while the remaining two jurors were program directors from Belgium and Hong Kong. Our policy is to include one Australian choreographer, and we also want to include noted figures like Deborah Hey and Meg Stuart. This is because there is always much to learn from them about the strict demands of being active on the front line and the methods for continuing to stay active over a long career. We have come to include during the competition public programs featuring our jury members, so the competition has developed into a festival-like event that covers about ten days in all.

It is interesting that you chose to use videos not of actual dance performance but presentations about the idea behind a proposed work for the first stage of application selections. In Japan, especially with young artists, they are weak in the area of taking an objective perspective so they tend to develop [work] from a personal subjective perspective, which often results works that are hard for the audiences to understand. Your choreographic competition format appears to reduce the risk of that.
It is the same in Australia. Our efforts to get young artists to be able to talk about their work led to this selection format we use. It is important that they be able to explain what inspired their work and how in words that can be understood not only by the people they work with but by the audience as well. Artists need to adopt a methodology for their thinking and be able to apply it effectively, but when I came to Australia, I sensed that many artists lacked the kind of critical approach that would enabled them to do that. I found that many artists lacked the kind of analytical approach that could give them a method for positioning themselves in respect to others and to formulate their references. That made me feel that I needed to help introduce the power of critique, so I began a program where we would invite artists, critics and dramaturges to Dancehouse, to give workshops that would not offer explanations of works but to talk about how one can look at dance from a critical perspective.

So your focus was on how critics can play a creative role for the artists and audiences, didn’t you?
I personally read a lot of criticism in order to acquire my own way of looking at dance. Criticism helped me polish my ability to understand and appreciate dance. When I first saw dance works of Xavier Le Roy, I didn’t understand them at all. But after reading a lot of critical discourse about his works, I found that a couple of years later I was able to understand it. I felt that I wanted to share that experience with people in Australia.
In the past, we introduced Xavier Le Roy’s work Self Unfinished at Dancehouse, and at that time I felt how important it was to lay the groundwork properly first. So, I organized a public program to have authorities on French conceptual dance give discussions and workshops and to have film showings of the dance works, in order to try to help the audience get a different perspective on it and connect it to the local context. Creating opportunities for a dialogue between artists who come here to give performance and the local context (community) is to me an important part of our work as program directors. This series of programs turned out to be very successful. And, by inviting figures like architects and city planners from Melbourne to the discussions helped broaden people’s perspective and ways of thinking.
Without this kind of groundwork, the Australian artists would probably not have understood Le Roy’s work fully and would have approached it only on a superficial level. Society always expects immediacy, and that tendency has a negative effect on dance. In the case of dance, where there is a need to look hard into it in order to grasp its meaning, the tendency to disregard the importance of elements that can’t be seen but only felt, it is hard for many people to even approach a dance work. It is hard to make a popular trend of works that are conceptual and abstract in nature, but we have to make it our responsibility to get people to understand the works and not just see them on a superficial level.

For geographical reasons, Japan is a difficult place for audiences to experience Western dance other than on a personal level. It is hard to see dance with the broader perspective that includes its historical continuity.
Australia is the same. The famous Australian choreographers like Lucy Guerin and Phillip Adams are strongly influenced by the dance they learned about in New York in the 1980s, and in the case of Russell Dumas, since he was working with Tricia Brown in the 1980s and 90s he is clearly influenced by post-modern dance. In Australia, only one technique of dance is taught by any one school, and it seems that none teach a variety of styles. There are well endowed scholarships on which students can study abroad, they are for studying under one particular choreographer, which means that the student’s subsequent work develops along the same line. They are either of the Forsythe school, the Guerin school or the Adams school, or dance of the contact improvisation style or queer culture style. Often, after a performance is held by a famous choreographer, we see a lot of works in the similar style coming out. In recent years there is a trend toward works that use large-scale elaborate sets or numerous art objects (objet d’art), and there are also narcissistic words with an excessive focus on costume. For this reason, there is less attention on physicality, but I want to see physicality and the body remain a central core of dance.
That is why I think a central purpose of our programs at Dancehouse should be to teach dancers how to find their own methodology that fits their interests and taste without being satisfied with depending on traditional forms.


The contemporary dance scene

Are there any choreographers that you place special importance on? And would you tell us if there are any artists that you especially want to support at Dancehouse?
For the Dance Massive festival this time, we focused on three representative styles. One is multimedia collaborations by Russell Dumas, Helen Sky and Myriam Gourfink, and then there is Jill Orr. Orr tends toward body art performance, and she is an activist pioneer in the cause of climate [change]. She presented a very politically oriented work this time about the issue of boat people who have died at sea because Australia wouldn’t take them in.
Rosalind Crisp and Sandra Parker are mid-career artists that are considerably well known, but presenters and program directors who are looking for the latest hipsters or queer artists aren’t interested in them now. In Australia, artists over 40 aren’t eligible to apply for public grants, but many artists in this age group continue to do wonderful work. So Dancehouse is quick to give support to artists like these.
I am also drawn to the work of choreographers whose works may not be spectacular in appearance and are thus difficult to get opportunities for performances but are nonetheless very good as dance in terms of their core concepts and the use of the body’s physicality. So we introduce young artists who pursue these ideals at Dance Massive. The newly emerging artist Siobhan McKenna, who just recently began to show her works, which use shouting and sounds from deep in the body. The things she pursues in dance are not what we are used to, but they have a unique and strong appeal. Others include Nana Bilus Abaffy who creates performance works has long studied Greek Tragedy and uses props and the body to re-create scenes from Renaissance paintings. She creates very fascinating works that evoke thought about the canons of art and the reality of the body. The fact that she has studied the Greek Tragedies for year gives great depth to her artistic quests.
Although it is not easy, we try to give these artists support that is ongoing for long periods. Atlanta Eke is an artist that we have supported from the beginning of her career, and she has become famous now. For Dance Massive this time her work is presented on a tennis court. She is constantly being chased by and hit by tennis balls. Her work is influenced by feminism and is very dynamic, and she is an artist who surprises us each time with her new creations.

How does native Australian (Aborigine) culture influence the dance scene in Australia?
The Australian arts world is very white-oriented, and no special priority is given to supporting the arts of the Aborigine, Asian and Indian minorities. Gradually it has become a more visible presence, though, and in Melbourne for the first time there was a “First Nation” festival that features the Aboriginal arts; it was last year. But Aboriginal culture is deeply rooted in music and dance and both the traditional and contemporary pieces are very interesting. But with these arts, there is a need to avoid exoticism and to approach it with humility and seriously in line with the cultural protocol of first understanding the artists’ standpoint, knowing who they are, what kind of work they do and what their message is. Their messages they have are often not easy on the ears of the white population, but we all have to accept their messages and create for them places where they can be heard.
In Dance Massive as well, we have invited native Australian artists. Although they may not be perfect in terms of choreography, they are diverse and there have been some very interesting works. For example, an artist named S. J. Norman got on stage and in front of the audience prepared the food that the Aborigines had been forced to prepare for their white masters in the colonial period, and as she prepared it she said that there was some of her blood in it. Then the audience was asked whether they would eat it or not. In this, there was an unspoken reference to the fact that whites had used food to poison Aborigines, which gave this work a very strong political message. Another work took the subject of Aboriginal “scarification” (decorative scarring of the body). It was not an aesthetically pleasing work, and there were people in the audience who broke down in tears. But because of the need to understand the colonial history and move forward, it is important to give artists like this a place to perform and get out their message.

Recently in the Japan art world, there is a trend of researching local traditions in order to create new works, and in the contemporary dance scene there are choreographers who are studying traditional Japanese dance and others who create collaborative works with traditional folk artists. Is there a similar trend in Australia?
There are contemporary dance artists and artists in other genres who visit the native Australian communities and do collaborative creation with the people there. But, it is not a case of the artists seeking to learn the traditional Aborigine arts with the aim of carrying them on. Because, it is impossible for whites to learn Aboriginal dance. All of the Aboriginal arts have been passed down by word of mouth, and the words and dances are different with every tribe, and thus they have only been handed down within the separate communities. Also, their communities are highly subdivided, and so much of the language and the culture is being lost because the younger generation doesn’t learn it. So, it is a very urgent issue, and we believe that there is a need to first of all support the handing down of these arts within the communities themselves to an effective degree that will help preserve it all.


Issues going forward

Having worked now at Dancehouse for seven years, is there anything you find particularly difficult about working in Australia.
The fact that we can’t make tours of dance works in Australia is one big difficulty. To begin with, Australia has a vast land mass. For example, considering the travel expenses, it is less expensive for us to get from Melbourne to Japan than it is for us to get to Perth in the west of Australia. The fact that we can’t do tours has a big effect on the dancers’ work and their ability to create new works.
Although there may be performance halls around the country, Dancehouse is the only facility in the country that specializes in dance. In Sydney, there is Critical Path (http://criticalpath.org.au), a center devoted to the development of choreography, but they don’t have research programs or residence facilities and they don’t hold performances. And STRUT Dance (https://www.strutdance.org.au) in Perth sometimes does collaborative productions with a local theatre, but other than that it is a research and residency facility. Both are dance-oriented facilities, but they don’t have performance spaces.
Sydney is more famous queer art and theatre performances, but Carriageworks in the center of the city at times presents large-scale dance works and performances of works by world-renown choreographers. In Carriageworks they have a space called Performance Space (http://performancespace.com.au/plan-your-trip-2/) that is dedicated to experimental works and a festival dedicated to works from Australia and the Asia-Pacifica Rim called “Live Works,” which presents a good number of dance works in its program. Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and other cities have festivals that sometimes invite the companies of famous choreographers, but they don’t put together tours that would enable them to gain exclusive contracts. In all of these cases, it is difficult to focus on independent artists. For places that don’t have dance-specific facilities, it is essential that they have an audience that will come to the performances and educational programs that can teach that audience how to understand and critique the works they see. And since that is not an easy task, they tend to choose to present productions that are entertainment-oriented rather than those oriented toward dance as art.

Is there any national or local government support for improving that environment?
More needs to be done, because efforts to introduce dance are still insufficient. France has succeeded in instating government-led programs to decentralize culture and arts programs and develop nationwide networking, but in Australia there is arts and culture policy at the national level and what programs there are change completely with each new administration. Several years ago, there was a new Minister for Cultural and the Arts who suddenly took half of the grant money for independent artists away from the Department of Culture and the Arts and moved it to a different foundation to be used solely for ballet. The result was devastating and it made things very difficult at the time. There are excellent artists[in other areas of dance] and there is an audience that is interested in dance. But in Australia the best methods for developing the resources has not been found yet. More national investment in contemporary dance than we have now is necessary, we believe. Funding is probably necessary for developing the inter-regional environment and all kinds of educational programs as well. Furthermore, there has to be training for people who will run such public programs. Also, there aren’t many program directors who are specialized in dance.

What is the situation regarding international collaboration in creative activities and productions?
In Europe, programs in this direction have been successful, so I believe more progress can be made. If enough time is spent on it, I believe collaborative creation and touring of the resulting works is possible. There have already been successful examples for the large-scale international festivals, but it has only involved the large companies and it is very rare for projects to involve the kind of independent artists I work with.
We are already looking for potential partners for international collaborative projects. From Australia, it is clearly easier to attempt tours into Asia, but to first of all open doors to Europe, we are trying to work mainly with the European dance network Aerowaves (*4). More efforts are needed to get Australian artists into international networks. Currently, the Australian artists who are successful active overseas have independently established their own tie-ups with European countries.

Listening to what you have said thus far, I find many aspects that are similar to our situation in Japan. You are currently here in Japan on a one-month research program at the invitation of the Saison Foundation. We would like to know if you have found any artists that interest you.
This is my third visit to Japan since I first came in 2014, but it is my first extended stay, and it has helped me to understand more about how the Japanese context and dance are reflecting Japanese society. For some time, I have been interested in how contemporary choreographers here incorporate traditional Japanese dance into their works. In Europe where the there is only a very linear concept of time and space, there is no discourse between the traditional arts and the present. I have been inspired by Akira Kasai. His dance is Butoh, but it is also contemporary. I feel that every day he is reinventing Butoh. I found it very interesting how in his work Kafun Kakumei (Pollen Revolution) he recreates traditional dance in a punk-like context. I also find Kyoto’s Yasuko Yokoshi very interesting. I am also a big fan of Saburo Teshigawara, and I appreciate the way that Rihoko Sato appears to have gone beyond the influence of Teshigawara in her solo work. Among the younger artists, I am interested in Ruri Mito. Despite her youth, I find her pursuit of dance to have a very solid core. I also liked Chelfitsch very much. Although it is not choreographed work, the choreography of the constantly moving bodies skilfully translates a text that shows us how animalized we have become in our mechanized lives. The text is so skilfully done that I’m sure it would get the same response if it were performed in Australia. I also like the way it contained a political message as well.
It contrasts society in a positive way and produces a very interesting friction between tradition and technology. And I felt that when the body finds a place on that boundary it introduces traditional forms. I believe that Japanese artists have a lot of language that they can speak to the world with.

Thank you for giving us so much of your time today.
 
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