Sprung!! “Encounters” Longlisted for Australian Dance Award


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 …