A creative storm of art, movement and storytelling descends on Brisbane when Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance returns for the third time from March 30 to April 7.
The premier showcase of contemporary dance leaps on to stages across the city, spotlighting Queensland’s major dance companies including Expressions Dance Company, Dancenorth, Queensland Ballet, Phluxus2 Dance Collective and The Farm as well as interstate artists and emerging and independent talent.
Curator and co-founder Kate Usher said the 2019 theme was The view from here: Dance in the Asia Pacific and encompasses seven major performance pieces, emerging works, a film program, a series of workshops for beginners through to industry professionals and a nightly schedule of facilitated conversations.
“We’re particularly focused this year on programming strong female artists and works so are delighted to welcome Lucy Guerin, one of Australia’s leading choreographers, to present Split. This is the first time in over 10 years that her company, Lucy Guerin Inc, has toured to Brisbane,” Ms Usher said.
Split is an elegant reflection of the dilemmas of negotiating a world of increased pressure and reduced resources and received a Helpmann Award for Best Dancer (Lillian Steiner) before touring globally in 2018.
HK Stories is a triple-bill of short works from three acclaimed Hong Kong independent dance artists, all with a focus on 21st century themes where art, politics and activism collide.
“in,visible(cities); is a duet which explores urbanisation and gentrification and employs cutting-edge virtual reality technology; Nook is a sensitive exploration of gender, censorship and body ownership; and Folding Echoes reimagines the modern rules of theatre etiquette,” Ms Usher said.
“Hong Kong and Queensland dancers will also collaborate for a fortnight on Granite, a durational work by Liesel Zink, that sees them perform endurance-based choreography among hundreds of fragments of granite in a reimagination of landscapes and how our bodies interact with our envrions.
“Sharpening our Asia Pacific focus, we’ve invited independent Singapore artists to present three captivating works across one evening in Forecast 2.0: The Singapore Project, where they will invite the audience to contemplate their place in this fast-paced and ever-changing world.”
Joshua Pether, a First Nations artist based in Western Australia but hailing from Queensland, melds fact and fiction; sound and video; movement and narrative in Jupiter Orbiting, a personal conversation about mental health, while Phluxus2 Dance Collective has assembled an all-female Queensland cast for angel-monster, a boundary-pushing work that considers what it means to be female.
“I’m pleased to welcome the now-UK-based creative team behind They gather back to Brisbane to place our refugee crisis and global concerns of social empathy, community and peer support under the spotlight in what is sure to be a memorable homecoming,” Ms Usher said.
Supercell’s INDEX program returns for 2019, pulling back the curtain on how dance is created and permitting audiences behind-the-scenes to witness the creative development of contemporary works.
“Two of the works – Plastic Belly and Quantum Entanglement – were programmed from Phluxus2 Dance Collective’s indepenDANCE project 2018 and a third, Explain normal, is a vibrant and honest piece featuring a cast of artists with mixed abilities and I anticipate this work, in particular, is on the cusp of something big,” Ms Usher said.
Supercell 2019 sees the return of THINK Salon, a gathering of curious thinkers and inspired minds, meeting each evening to instigate critical dialogue on issues vital to activists, artists and authors.
“This year’s provocative series will be guest curated by Dancenorth’s Artistic Director Kyle Page who will welcome speakers from the fields of politics, journalism, humanities and science into the THINK Salon,” Ms Usher said.
Also returning in 2019 are the popular PARTICIPATE workshops curated by Gold Coast-based company, The Farm, at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.
Grouped around the concepts of The How, The Why and The What, each workshop series affords dancers, artists and audience members of all skill levels to take part in the creation and execution of contemporary dance.
A fourth stream, called The Envelope, is likened to a dance version of the Amazing Race where participants travel from JWCOCA to Brisbane Powerhouse, with The Farm strategically placing letters and instructions along the path to challenge the context of a simple walk between two points.
In addition to The Envelope, Supercell will include a program of free public activations and events with further details released closer to the festival.
Two satellite performances will allow audiences the opportunity to participate in the creative process: the first stage development of The Bunker Project by choreographer Lisa Wilson and audio-visual artist Nathan Sibthorpe and An afternoon in the studio with EDC, a masterclass with the company’s new artistic director, Amy Hollingsworth.
Rounding out Supercell 2019’s program is CAPTURED: Dance for Screen, two curated film programs at New Farm Cinemas that showcase the modern relationship between body and lens.
“At the heart of Supercell is a desire to engage, inspire and connect audiences and artists and this year we are forging strong partnerships in the Asia Pacific region; championing the stories and talent of women; spotlighting artists with disability; and opening our public programs and workshops to dance lovers of all people and bodies,” Ms Usher said.
“More than 7000 people have attended a Supercell performance, event or workshop over the past two years and we look forward to welcoming many more in 2019.”
Supercell runs across multiple Brisbane venues including Brisbane Powerhouse, JWCOCA and New Farm Cinema from March 30 – April 7. For full program details, visit www.supercelldancefestival.com
Supercell is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and by Brisbane City Council, Brisbane Powerhouse and the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.