Introducing the “SHARE HOUSE” projects

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Remember SHARE HOUSE life? The gourmet meals, the sense of tranquility, the fulfilling partnerships, the strong work ethic?
SHARE HOUSE is a disability-led funky dance theatre project which explores these ambitions, through the humour and antics of 5 young dancers, for whom “moving out” has these challenges and more!
Commissioned by both Newcastle Crack Festival and Lismore Art State Festival, the work-in-progress combines mime, physical comedy, and hip hop, with a nod to musical theatre with such tunes as “Lets Go Fly a Kite”, performed with laundry baskets. In both festivals the work will be site-specific i.e. specifically designed for performance to boutique audiences in an actual house, increasing the authenticity of the joys and challenges for the performers and the sense of intimacy for viewers. “Sooo cool!”, “Very funky”,”I love it!!!!! I want more !!!” say pilot viewers.

A spin-off from the show has been the desire to make a series of ultrashort films showcasing the five dancers as they paint the town red doing other ‘normal’ SHARE HOUSE activities: going to the laundromat, painting the living room, cooking pizza. This side project began as an opportunity to observe what might happen with these exceptional improvateurs at the intersection of rehearsal and everyday life, where reality meets whacky fantasy. Our pilot, shot by surf filmmaker Ishka Folkwell, is shown above. We’d love to hear from people their favourite SHARE HOUSE disasters, so we can incorporate these into future sketches!
Our original sketch was supported by an Accessible Arts Delineate grant, and is now seeking funding for further development. Please consider donating to Sprung!! to help get some more action happening!
https://sprung.me/donate/

This project features dancers Tara Coughlan, Max McAuley, Elizabeth Venn, Kayah Guenther, and Sinead Skorka Brennan, with mentors Michael Hennessy and Kate McDowell and producer Robyn Brady.

Sprung!! “Encounters” Longlisted for Australian Dance Award

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Photograph by Katrina Folkwell of dancers Annie Tinning, Liam Bruce and Elizabeth Venn

Did you get to see the “exceptional, heart-breaking” performance of Encounters at Mullumbimby Drill Hall or Lennox Park Lane Theatre in October last year? If not you will regret it, we may be rubbing shoulders with the Australian Ballet at this year’s Australian Dance Awards in Melbourne on September 24th.

“Encounters” was inspired by Rumi quote: “Don’t look away from the bandaged part. That is where the Light gets in”. Highlights from the performance are shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbwUeazrwWU&t=328s

As part of this development, Sprung!! ran a performance/workshop at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, where several hundred patients and visitors, watched the section “Bandages of Light”. For some viewers there was a visible epiphany:  “Despite my disability, my wounds, and my scars, I too could make and share meaningful art some day”.  A small group of patients approached our dancers, literally touching their own scars and those of the dancers, and these experiences were integrated into the considered quality of “Bandages” in our final work. In a similar way, a week’s development with Byron Youth Theatre members of the section Exodus (shown above), coincided with revelations of the human toll of the refugee crisis in Europe, and our collaborative internalisation of the feelings of striving onwards on a difficult journey despite constant setbacks, (common to so many persecuted and marginalised groups, including youth) became the essence of this section in the final work.

Despite the impact of Arts cuts on funding for the second year of this project, Michael Hennessy and Sprung!! continued commitment to intense training and development with core dancers with disability, enabling them to reach extraordinary levels even by national standards. Philanthropic and community and local council support enabled the performances of “Encounters” to go ahead and we cannot thank these donors enough. Audience responses were overwhelming “Heart-wrenchingly beautiful … Brilliantly conceived and professional executed… The whole performance was incredible! Not a dull moment… Unbelievably good choreography … This was more than a performance, it was witnessing dancers giving themselves totally to achieving something exceptional…”

The superb video/backdrops by John Rado and extraordinary varied and responsive original score by Fred Cole (both local Northern Rivers artists) added to a consummate artistic experience for viewers, and clearly the national connoisseurs think so to, as shown by our inclusion on the longlist for Outstanding Community Dance Performance in the Australian Dance Awards nominations released earlier this month. The Shortlist will be announced in late July, and if all goes well, dancers will be frocking up for the big night on the red carpet!

Want to get in on the ground floor for Hennessy’s next large scale integrated work with Sprung!!? Donate to “Oh, How I Dreamt of Things Impossible” through our link:
https://sprung.me/donate/ The seed has been planted …

It’s a Wrap! Pics and Vox Pop from Encounters 2016

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SLIDESHOW OF MOMENTS FROM ENCOUNTERS by photographer Katrina Folkwell. To purchase DVD of Encounters go to Shop.

VOX POP (from more than 50 audience members eager to share)
What were your favorite moments/aspects of the performance?
The emotion of the bandages dance was heart-wrenchingly beautiful and so moving … Brilliantly conceived and professional executed… The whole performance was incredible! Not a dull moment… Unbelievably good choreography… The feeling of connection and empathy between the performers… This was more than a performance, it was witnessing- dancers giving themselves totally to achieving something exceptional… Found the performance between Tara and Sinead very moving… Dance and visuals went well together… Hard to say favourite, there were so many beautiful moments… Hand gestures, twirling. Pathos. Images behind seemed to match exactly what dancers were doing… Very moving touching amazing exquisite performance. SO glad I came… I loved how it varied in tempo, rhythm etc. I loved the rawness/ physicality of each performance… Seeing the dancers phenomenal growth and improvement, both individually and as an ensemble. Highlights: Sinead and Tara’s partner dance, Street Crossings (Sinead and Max and Lizzie/Asher in particular), Tara and Max duet… A balanced presentation with the exceptional merging with the ‘emerging’… The music was wonderful, the lighting, costumes and props were poignant and used with integrity and without excess… You could see the excellent result of lots of work, the performers were very relaxed and it all flowed… The incredible focus and love up there. Stunning choreography. The ending was breathtaking… The music, the gentle arms, the intimacy of dancers, the stories… People being themselves- finding a way to see through the dance to the soul of the person… Chair comedy was a brilliant beginning to a wonderful performance… The wholeness of integration between cast and crew… The attitude of the dancers, who dance with abandon and are really in the moment… It was all very moving, authentic… The whole show was just wonderful, congratulations!!

Did the performance shift your perception or pre-conceived notions of anything? If so, what?
Yes, that anything is possible.. I see the great work achieved and the personal joy of these performers.. Yes, we are all human beings who need each other.. Showed me what is possible when disability is explored artistically and deeply in its humanness and when people with disability are valued as full and creative members of the community… Confirmed the feeling that art is powerfully healing… Yes that such a coordinated approach could be pulled off… Yes, amazing what can be achieved with disability… The quality of dancing achieved… People can achieve anything. This performance is an example of this… The discipline and cooperation required was to a high level… Made me think about different types of people doing art… Just the amazing power of movement- Thanks so much…. I really enjoyed the inclusiveness of all different levels of skills and how beautifully they CAN work together… (12yo boy) I came thinking that it would be boring, but it was great! … I haven’t seen dancing performances for awhile, reminder and showed me how dancing is so for everyone and able to be a way for anybody to express themselves with their bodies… so beautiful, thank you… A lot could be said here. It certainly is a relief and a delight to encounter the humanness of those we describe as being disabled.. Definitely. I have more understanding/insight into disability now. Dance is such a great medium for conveying emotion and one felt so much of the performers emotions… I have at times been doubtful about whether or not Sprung!! could reach a more professional level and this performance put my doubts to rest… The performance exposes the wonder of movement and music as a universal language…. The diversity of talent and body types and agility within the disability sector. I had thought that all bodies were the same, but I see now hat there is a big difference between the trained and untrained body, regardless of [perceived dis]ability… The expressive nature of hands… Perhaps I hadn’t even thought too much about the importance of creativity. It brought out so much “soul”… Excited that given funding persons with disability can contribute to the arts and display such talent… Happy to see such expressive movement- it surprised me- pleased to be surprised! Satisfied that disability can add a dimension to art … I thought it would be “good”, but I was proven wrong- FANTASTIC!!… Polished ability or Finesse does not a performance make! The enjoyment and dedication [of these dancers] outshines all other aspects… Deepened my appreciation of the insights and skills of [these] performers.. Thanks for bringing joy and meaning to the lives of these performers. They have so much to give and you have brought that out. Thanks and well done to all.

“Encounters” at Mullumbimby and Lennox Head this October

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Sprung!!’s latest, beautiful dance theatre work Encounters explores the journey of individuation and the quest for identity and belonging with 10 dancers with and without disability.

This work has been two years in development, and is now in the final stages of polishing before two weekends of performance in the Northern Rivers.

The work will premiere at the Drill Hall at Mullumbimby on October 7,8, and 9, with a sneak preview as part of the Drill Hall Centenary Open Day on August 28th.

It will then be the centrepiece of an Arts and Health Weekend at Park Lane Theatre, Lennox Heads Community Centre, on October 15th and 16th. This will begin with the “Encounters at Lennox” event on Saturday evening from 6-9, comprising a buffet dinner with live music, Encounters performance, and a Panel discussion with dynamic guest speakers offering different perspectives on Disability, Arts and Health, including Lynne Seear, past deputy director of QAGOMA and currently Arts Program Manager at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. Be part of the Encounter!!

On Sunday morning guests will have the opportunity for personal creative expression with workshops in ceramics (tutor Amanda Bromfield), clowning (tutor Sally Davis) and creative writing (Hilton Koppe), plus a matinee performance of Encounters for those missing out earlier. Get your hands dirty!!

Sprung!! perceives disability as secondary to the primary experience of being human, and acknowledges the unique potential of every human being for creativity and connection. The Park Lane Theatre is wheelchair accessible, and the Panel discussion and the “Creative Writing” workshop will have Auslan interpreters.

Sprung!! intends for the community conversation on Arts and Health to be interactive. We want to know if you have ever approached a health or disability issue through creative expression, and what happened when you did? Have you ever had a wound helped by a great work of art, music, or theatre? Do you think it is true when the poet sighs, “How well they understood suffering, the Great Masters”, (Auden) or, “Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged part. That is where the Light gets in …” (Rumi). Please post your comments on this site or email us at info.sprung@gmail.com Be part of the conversation!!

Encounters at Mullum October 7-9

https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=225382

Encounters at Lennox: The Dinner/The Show/The Discussion October 15th

https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=222231

Encounters at Lennox: The Matinee October 16th

https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=225382

Encounters at Lennox: The Workshops (Clowning, Ceramics, Creative Writing)

https://www.trybooking.com/Event/EventSearch.aspx?keyword=sprung

Photograph by Fiona Reilly of dancers Elizabeth Venn and Tess Eckert. Graphics by John Rado.

Lone Goat Gallery Performance Installations

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The Sprung!! Portals to Encounters exhibition at Lone Goat Gallery saw us experimenting with a new genre: performance installations. Four Senior Sprung!! dancers performed within spaces hung with Katrina Folkwell’s evocative photographs, while John Rado’s studio and live-performance film segments were projected onto Venenetian blinds and Japanese rice-paper screens, creating intimate small worlds that reinforced the sense of Encounter between viewer and dancer, of “Looking in, Looking out”.

Encounters is a two year partnership project in which Sprung!! is working with various community groups, schools, and festivals to explore concepts of Identity, Ability, and Belonging. A recurring theme has been separation and yearning, and this is manifested in the installations.

We live lives in which arbitrary divisions separate us: sometimes these are lines on a map, sometimes they are religion, race, or colour. Boundaries can also be physical: windows, doors, and frontiers: barriers which serve to separate but can also be portals inviting one to connect and explore. Disability can be a boundary, a division that excludes, but it can also be a portal. A portal to an encounter….

We intended the exhibition to be an invitation to explore, to ramble, to be drawn in, to peer through and across the various barriers that keep us apart. Whether you were lucky enough to witness our dancers live as an installation, or were merely perceiving their echoes in the space infused with the film and photograph surrounds, we hope, in the words of the poet, you

“ have touched something [you] will never touch again

or at least not in the same way

and [you] are not the same …”

Special thanks to cellist Kaja Skorka.

Photographs by Katrina Folkwell.

 

Encounters 2015 at Tintenbar

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A packed house at Tintenbar Hall on October 2 for Sprung!! performance of their work to date on Encounters, a two -year partnership project exploring identity, ability, and belonging. Tonight saw the culmination of a week- long collaboration with Byron Youth Theatre which was an overwhelmingly positive experience for all. The diverse and colourful audience remained for more than an hour after the show, sharing refreshments and soaking up the atmosphere of beauty, exploration and trust.

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Photos by Katrina Folkwell, video interview by Frank Coughlan