Posts filed under: Bodytorque

Bodytorque.DNA: dance is in our genes
Vivienne Wong in Alice Topp's Same Vein. Photography Lynette Wills

Bodytorque.DNA: dance is in our genes

Bodytorque.DNA opens in an exclusive Melbourne-only season tomorrow night. Here’s a taste of the drama and beauty of these five newly created ballets, and here’s how to get your tickets. Three shows only!

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Brett Simon and Amber Scott in Alice Topp’s Same Vein. Photography Lynette Wills

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Artists of The Australian Ballet in Joshua Consandine’s I Cannot Know.
Photography Lynette Wills (more…)

17 June 2014

Bodytorque by design: Gwendolynne
Detail of costume by Gwendolynne for Same Vein. Photography Kate Longley

Bodytorque by design: Gwendolynne

Fashion designer Gwendolynne Burkin has been working on the costumes for Same Vein, Alice Topp’s piece for the Bodytorque.DNA season. We sat down with Gwendolynne to talk about the collaboration.

How would you describe the style of your label? What inspires you?
Generally my design style is heavily versed in historical references, from the 1920s and 1930s to Gothic, but despite people liking to pigeonhole me as being Art Deco, funnily I really love the minimalism of the 60s. The final effect is sensual, delicate, and ethereal but restrained, a kind of pared-back vintage look. No matter what I create, my objective is for my design to be flattering and beautiful. I feel there is too much clutter in our world and I want to contribute works that are of quality and have longevity: heirloom pieces that are treasured.

I am constantly inspired. For many years I have been quite self-indulgent, basically designing for myself. But after 25 years working in fashion I have found that if you persist with this technique, you eventually get blocked, as your work can become repetitive. It’s important as a designer to have consistency, but to move forward with my vision these days I really listen to feedback from clients and my staff. However, I still only ever create what feels intrinsically and intuitively right to me.

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Gwendolynne, Amber Scott and Alice Topp. Photography Kate Longley (more…)

13 June 2014

Bodytorque choreographers: Alice Topp
Gwendolynne Burkin, Amber Scott and Alice Topp during costume fittings

Bodytorque choreographers: Alice Topp

Alice Topp, Bodytorque favourite and dancer of The Australian Ballet, will make her fourth work as part of Bodytorque.DNA. We spoke to her about her vision of a world where similarities are just as important as differences.

Tell us about the inspiration for your work Same Vein.
This year, we were working with the theme “DNA”. Instead of focusing on DNA as a blueprint for an individual, I started to think about what makes us the same. We’re all born into different countries and conditions and religions, but ultimately, we’ve all got flesh and blood and bone, we all bleed, we all want to be happy and healthy. There’s a shared human condition that connects us. Then I started looking at animals, and how closely related we are to them. We’re all made of the same matter; we’re all going to die.
I also decided to make a male-male pas de deux for the piece – because all love is the same. (more…)


Bodytorque choreographers: Richard Cilli
Richard Cilli and artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography Lynette Wills

Bodytorque choreographers: Richard Cilli

Richard Cilli won the 50th Anniversary Ballet Competition in 2012 with his concept of a ballet based on the human brain. For the past two weeks he’s been in the studio with dancers of The Australian Ballet, choreographing the excerpt from Corpus Callosum that will feature in Bodytorque.DNA.

In your choreographic note you say that Corpus Callosum is “an ode to the human brain”. What’s the story behind this idea?
I read a book called My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who had a stroke and experienced first-hand what she’d been studying for a long time. Her whole left hemisphere shut down, so she lost her cognitive abilities like speech, maths, and her ability to tell where one thing ended and another thing started visually, so she was kind of an infant again.

She then had this spiritual experience, because the capacities that the right brain has are so different – like empathy, and timelessness. Her internal chatter disappeared. She felt like she was a gas that could never fit into her own body again. (more…)

11 June 2014

Bodytorque choreographers: Joshua Consandine
Photography Lynette Wills

Bodytorque choreographers: Joshua Consandine

Josh Consandine is a former principal artist with The Australian Ballet.  He returns to the company to make a work on our dancers for the Bodytorque season, and took time out from choreographing to chat with Jane Albert. 

What have you done since leaving The Australian Ballet?
I’d been at The Australian Ballet for ten years when I met Alexa Heckmann [the two are now married and have three young children]. We went over to Sydney Dance Company and did two-and-a-half years there. After a while Alexa wanted to keep dancing and I decided I needed to reskill so I did a post-graduate diploma in movement studies at NIDA, which I really enjoyed. I’ve worked in the industry with Jim Sharman, on his Cosi fan Tutte for Opera Australia, and as a movement consultant and choreographer with actors. I’m now working part-time at a Sydney highschool [SCEGGS Redlands] as the co-ordinator of ballet and I work casually at McDonald College and Alegria and Sydney Dance teaching ballet.

Why did you want to be part of Bodytorque?
Alexa and I entered the Australian Ballet’s 50th Anniversary Ballet Project, a competition where you had to submit a synopsis, and choreographic and music ideas for a full-length ballet. We didn’t win but we came very close and David McAllister told me he’d really loved it and suggested I come and do Bodytorque. I’ve done a lot of choreography but it’s usually making people who don’t have the best technique, or aren’t the best dancers, look good, which is pretty challenging! I’ve choreographed some classical dance and musicals like Thoroughly Modern Millie, and worked with actors doing musical interludes, but this is good for me, it’s outside my routine. (more…)

23 October 2013

Bodytorque choreographers: Halaina Hills

Bodytorque choreographers: Halaina Hills

Coyrphée Halaina Hills will be making her choreographic debut this month as part of our Bodytorque.Technique season. She spoke to Jane Albert about choreographing on colleagues, realising visions and working with Ratmansky.

Have you dabbled in choreography before?
I did a bit as a kid in choreographic competitions but I wouldn’t really consider that “dabbling”. What’s really led me to do Bodytorque was working with other choreographers and being inspired by what they do – the creation of movement and how something develops. Also whenever I listen to music, whether it’s the MSO or SSO or my iPod, I’m always seeing something, visualising movement, wondering: what sort of movement would work with it? Where’s the tension? Where’s the beauty? I hope I can bring the vision to life.

Tell me about your work, Mode.L.
[Pronounced "Mode-El"]. “Mode” is a synonym for technique and “model” as in the model dancer. The style is quite angular and neo-classical. My dancers are in pointe shoes so it’s quite classical, but there’s definitely some 21st -century movement to it. My music was composed in the 1920s so it’s very abstract. I’ve looked at artists like Kandinsky and Mondrian, movements in art that were about total abstraction, which is where I’m going with my piece. My dancers are in tunics (leotard with a skirt for the girls, boys in a unitard), with hair in a bun. There’s no obvious relationships, no story, it’s what the audience can make of it. I’ve chosen three girls (Ako Kondo, Jessica Fyfe and Benedicte Bemet) and two boys (Christiano Martino and Jack Hersee). (more…)

14 October 2013