Alison Plevey: teacher development, dancer development, developing “right behind you”

Hi there!

My name is Alison Plevey, Soft Lander (2010), currently working as QL2 Education Officer and occasional teacher for the Quantum Leapers when I’m around.

I am the key artist in an Education Pilot Project, to improve dance education outcomes and lift learning experiences for students, teachers and schools. It is an initiative of QL2 Dance and the ACT Government  Education and Training Directorate, and involves visits and workshop sessions with five schools across the ACT.

Halfway through the project, it has been great working with a range of students, ages, abilities, interests, charged by their energy and enthusiasm, and rewarded by how much they love to dance!!

I am working intensively with the teachers of the schools to arm them with skills and learning approaches to engage their students in the breadth of dance education —integrating ideas, other artforms and linking curriculum areas amidst the physical practice. It is astounding to note the progress of both the teachers and students over this short period, who have grasped the magnitude of how dance is such a holistic educative tool that promotes learning and development in the cognitive, social as well as physical realms.

One young boy from Ainslie School seemed to realise the joy in his experience of dance education when asked at the end of the lesson “What did you learn today?” he simply said, “I learnt to dance… I’ve never done it before!”.

I look forward to the culmination of this important program which will engage teachers, students and artists in discussions and a sharing of student works in November, at Canberra Colleges’ new performing arts facility.

right behind you

Outside of my educative role at QL2, I most recently have been in my hometown of Bathurst NSW, working with my collaborator and co-founder of ‘Lingua Franca’ Adam Deusien.

Since June we have been developing a new dance theatre work Right Behind You. The work tells of real stories of love and loss, framed by the Ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, bringing into focus the question, Why do we do things that we know are detrimental to relationships but seem to do them anyway? Adam and I conducted over 20 interviews from which we crafted a verbatim script that gives an insight into first loves, lost loves and philosophies on love.

The process has been an incredible one for me particularly, working with so much text and negotiating how movement can work literally and abstractly alongside it. We also worked with Adam’s JUMP mentor Yana Taylor, from Version 1.0, who provided us with an all important outside eye, as it is so difficult being inside a work to fully contemplate what we are conveying to an audience. We also worked with composer, Hamish Lane, and lighting designer, Carla Gates, whose input really made the showing feel connected aesthetically.

The three evenings of showings, at the intimate Ponton Theatre at CSU Bathurst, enabled us a chance to test and share our work with the community in which we are both dedicated to working. As independent practitioners it is so important to receive feedback as we continue to develop the work to its greatest potential. We aim pack it all into a Hong-Kong shopper and tour the work regionally in 2013, an exciting prospect for our developing collaboration.

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About Alison Plevey

Alison is an award-winning choreographer and dance and physical artist based in Canberra. Her practice spans youth dance and theatre, education, cross-disciplinary collaborations, festival commissions, solo research and arts industry development in regional NSW and the ACT. Alison holds a first class honours degree from WAAPA. She is a member of The Childer’s Group, an independent arts advocacy group in Canberra. Recent works include ‘Mine!’ (ACT National Science Week 2017), ‘Nervous’ at Mount Stromlo Observatory, and ‘Strings Attached’ at New Acton, ‘Dancing with Drones’ (Performance Space LiveWorks 2015), ‘Shake It’ (Art, Not Apart Festival 2017), ‘Autonomous’ (You Are Here Festival 2017), ‘Sprout’ (Art, Not Apart Festival 2016), ‘Heatwave’ (Dance on the Edge 2016), ‘Johnny Castellano is Mine’ (The Street Theatre 2014), ‘WORK IT’ (Art, Not Apart and You Are Here Festivals 2015). Alison is Co-Director of dance and physical theatre company Lingua Franca with Adam Deusien. Based in Bathurst they create visceral original performance engaging professional, emerging and community artists. Their recent work ‘unsustainable behaviour’ was presented at the Regional Arts Australian Conference, ArtLands Dubbo 2016). Alison is Leader of new Canberra company Australian Dance Party, driven by her ongoing study of dance as a universal communicative medium and a powerful practice for humanity to experience, debate and celebrate. The Party is an evolution of her work as a solo artist and inspired collaborations with diverse artists in Canberra. She aims to build the sustainability of professional dance in our political capital and legitimise the role of the arts in our contemporary context.