Just like a good film, photograph or theatrical play, dance offers a creative way to tell stories and express ideas.
Contemporary dance artist and choreographer Alison Plevey has been working as an independent artist in Canberra for the last six years. In addition to her own solo performances, she teaches and choreographs for the not-for-profit QL2 Dance in Canberra, and has developed numerous community and professional dance projects across regional NSW.
Her vision has always been to create a professional practice that connects with the community, utilising local dance artists and exploring pressing global issues.
“We have such an interested community and audience in Canberra. But a lot of the dance we consume is brought in from interstate or overseas. What I wanted to do is create a company that provides professional opportunities so that local dancers can build their careers here, but which serves to draw attention to challenges affecting communities right now.”
Last year Alison established Australian Dance Party, a not-for-profit organisation that discusses political, social and economic issues through dance.
She is passionate about drawing attention to the value of dance, which she says has struggled to hold its stature as an important creative field in Australia.
“Australian Dance Party is about building a professional contemporary dance community here in Canberra, while providing a unique voice for dance and showing how valuable dance is to our culture. Our vision is to collaborate with other organisations and activate spaces through performances so the work can be seen broadly and be accessible to everyone.
“We only started in the middle of last year, and have since created two full length pieces and four festival works; so we’re really active in the Canberra arts scene.”
Last year Australian Dance Party collaborated with neuroscientists from ANU for a piece at Mount Stromlo titled Nervous. The performance was a social commentary about the nervous political state of the world, while drawing a parallel with the nervous system in the body and the state of feeling nervous. The work has been nominated for an Australian Dance Award.
Earlier this month Australian Dance Party was one of five not-for-profit local organisations which received a $500 grant as part of Curtin Community Bank® Branch’s 5th birthday celebration.
Alison says they’re using the funds to create a short performance in connection with Science Week in mid-August.
“Funding to arts projects have been cut significantly of late, so these smaller opportunities really help maintain the momentum. With the grant from Bendigo Bank in Curtin we are working on a performance called Mine!. It’s a piece about our ideologies and behaviours surrounding selfishness and possession, paralleling with the adverse effects of the mining industry and the ideas about what we should be doing there.
“It’s this kind of support and donations from the community that help to kick-start an organisations like ours, so we can keep going and get the artistic work out there.”
For more information or to donate or offer in-kind professional support, visit Australian Dance Party. The group also provide for-hire custom dance performances.
To learn more about Canberra Community Bank® Group grants, pop into any one of their branches in Calwell, Curtin, Jerrabomberra or Wanniassa.
Performance images courtesy of Lorna Sim.
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