Taking place at half a dozen venues from Saturday, November 22, until Sunday, November 30, The MoveMe Improvisation Festival is an ambitious and bold undertaking, putting audiences in close connection with dancers and performers with very little in the way of a safety net in operation. TRAVIS JOHNSON chats with Peter Selwyn Norton, the Artistic Director of STRUT Dance, to find out exactly what this innovative performance series entails.
“This is the end of the first year of our new program, STRUT Up And Dance,” Norton explains. “It’s basically an improvisation festival that we’ve set up to celebrate the whole year of choreographic and dance development work that we’ve done here with our members and our stakeholders. That’s kind of the structural side of it.
“Basically, what we’re doing is inviting international improvisational performers and also national and local groups – they’re all coming here. Perth is basically a hive of activity, and then they’re all caravanning across the country up to Sydney, up to Brisbane and down to Melbourne. So it’s actually a national event delivered by a national choreographic centre. So it’s a benchmark moment for a new form of dance here in Perth. It’s a whole new venture, it’s a new thing – you will never have seen anything like it before.”
The appeal of the festival lies in the opportunity for audiences to experience something beautiful, ephemeral and fleeting. “You will see something once and once only, delivered by top benchmark artists who know their craft, who know their performance capacity, who know how to build a beautiful show, but it will be absolutely bespoke for that audience of that night and will never be repeated again. So, basically, it’s a unique chance to see top notch performers in their field deliver an incredible show, but it’s a once in a lifetime possibility. It’s not scripted, it’s not underscored, it’s not choreographed. These people are phenomenally resourceful and there’s just gonna come and do their thing. It’s like jazz. These people are incredible facilitators in terms of their instrument but the instrument is now the body and the voice and that’s what they’ll use to create a wonderful performance for you.”
STRUT Dance have assembled an impressive roster of dancers and creatives to take part in the festival. “Our local performances are from Jo Pollitt and Jacob Lehrer. They are pillars of performance practice here in Western Australia and in Perth. Internationally we have Michael Schumacher , who is basically the guru of improvisational performance coming here, working with locals, working with 23 dancers here in Perth and working with three local musicians to create a performance in the Blue Room, so he’s an international but working with locals. And we have lots of national people coming over and expat nationals – people like Rosalind Crisp, Ros Warby, Andrew Morrish, Peter Trotman, people who travel the world doing their thing and now are coming to Perth.”
For more information, go to strutdance.org.au