In Conversation with Matthew Moore
Interviewed by Anton Carter
In partnership with Ausdance NSW, DANZ provided an opportunity for one New Zealand dance artist to attend the BRIDGE Dance Intensive and Dance Artist In Residence (DAIR) programmes in Sydney, Australia on 13-23 February 2017. In this article, Matthew Moore talks to Chief Executive Anton Carter about his experiences across the ditch.
BRIDGE Dance Intensive is an initiative by Ausdance NSW to provide tools to guide early career dance artists into a new chapter of their practice. Across five days, the program includes intensive workshops with leading choreographers, industry sessions covering project development, career management and daily technique classes by renowned artists from around Australasia. DAIR is a direct response to the ongoing challenges of access to affordable and appropriate spaces for dance artists for the development of dance making and practice. DAIR activities may involve creative development, research, mentorships, rehearsal and remounting of work.
What were some of the learnings from the workshops?
The workshops where immensely informative and it was amazing to have such an array of different practitioners passing on their knowledge.
Dean Walsh’s choreographic content and movement research workshop was based on feel, impulsion and removing the senses which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Shaun Parker’s ‘Movement and Meaning’ workshop focused on devising material and how it may affect the audience. This helped me to pull back on aesthetic and focus on particular qualities which can then be augmented and manipulated.
Jo Clancy gave an insight into traditional aboriginal dance which was fun and quite challenging. It was also interesting to gain knowledge about the stars and the relationship to movement through animal symbolism.
Omer Backley’s workshop ‘What the heck are we dancing about?’ was an exploration of movement and focused on the essence of true movement verses fabricated movement. The choreographic tasks set by Omer required quick performance state changes and challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone.
Kay Armstrong’s workshop ‘Questions are good, what are yours?’ was improvisation based, challenging me to find new ways to generate material. This involved a process of observation with a partner to come up with questions that we asked each other through movement. This process really gave life to movement and content when it came to answering the questions with an improvisational response.
How did you find the industry sessions that ran alongside the choreographic workshops?
The industry sessions run by Ausdance NSW; Critical Path, FORM and ACPE provided valuable insight to the dance support opportunities for people in NSW. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support that these organisations offer performers and their developing work.
Monica Davidson’s seminar on Dance Business Basics covered topics such as Tax/ABN’s, contracts, intellectual property and crowd funding were highly relevant in my current situation and armed me with skills which are important for any independent dancer wanting to forge a career in dance.
What effect has the DAIR Residency had on your dance practice?
Attending the BRIDGE Dance Intensive followed by the DAIR residency provides artists with an opportunity to learn and soak up knowledge and then to be able to put these learnings into practice with a creative space to work on their own material.
Over three days, I worked from 9am to 4pm and generated ten minutes of material on myself. I created my own music which was an essential component to my choreography. The opportunity to spend three days with other artists was invaluable to my dance practice. I am excited to dissect my material and further develop my choreography based on the feedback I received from my showing.
What do you see is the value of opportunities such as these?
BRIDGE was attended by people from all dance styles and technique levels and has expanded my skills. It helped me to pull myself back at times and adjust my training to formulate different outcomes. The choreographic tools gained through this opportunity have given me confidence in the areas of choreographic process and audience connection.
DAIR is the perfect opportunity to experience a new and exciting place, while generating content in a quick and efficient manner. It is a chance for dancers to work on their own professional practice and be responsible for their own training. Having the creative freedom to work on your dance practice in a fantastic place with caring staff and facilities catering to dancer’s needs is priceless.
Thank you DANZ, AUSDANCE and the Royal Academy of Dance for providing me with this opportunity to expand my skill base and develop my work as an independent artist.
Where to and what now?
I am focusing on teaching my own choreography and I would love to create some professional dance videos with students. The time spent at Bridge and the work I created at DAIR has inspired me to keep developing and find opportunities to access studio space and revisit my material at least once a week. I would like to develop my work into a full-length work which is danced, choreographed and produced by myself and to show people what I have discovered. I have been making music for other artists’ dance work and welcome collaborations in this area. I would love to explore opportunities for international collaborations and so I am keeping my options open in terms of residencies or professional dance collaborations on an international scale.
Download the article: In Conversation with Matthew Moore