Liz Lea: dance & science, cockatoos & turnout, and InFlight

I have been running a series of Dance and Science workshops with Inspiring Australia based at CSIRO Discovery.

In the first lecture on 2 February, I talked at CSIRO about the research into the Red Tailed Black cockatoo, and the choreography being developed with Tammi Gissell for her solo Magnificus Magnificus. We previewed the work at the launch of the Centenary of Canberra Indigenous program,  and will also present at Dance Massive. QL2 Dance have supported the work with a grant of space in August last year, and also some days this year which has been wonderful. The work premieres alongside my solo Kapture in October at The Street Theatre as part of their Made in Canberra season.

Quantum Leaper Alice's legs under the turnout microscope.

Quantum Leaper Alice’s legs under the turnout microscope.

On the 16 February, Canberra Dance Theatre hosted physiotherapist Eliza Hafiz as she measured the femoral torsion or “turn out” of 10 dancers. 9 of the 10 are QL2 dancers who all turned up on time, filled out their forms and asked Eliza lots of questions. Eliza and I then presented a lecture on femoral torsion at CSIRO Discovery. Elisa will return in August to share her findings on the turn out of Canberra dancers!

I am running a Dance and Science festival – DANscienCE – in August for National Science Week. Ruth and Gary at QL2 have, as ever, been very supportive and QL2 dancers will hopefully be having a featured role. More of that later.

On 23 February Professor Gordon Waddington and I presented a Dance and Physiotherapy lecture demonstration. Four dancers from QL2 dance joined us to demonstrate jumping from a parallel and a turned out position. This was filmed on a high speed camera and played back in slow motion. They wore short shorts and their musculature was a sight to see – all correctly placed as they landed, which is the aim of the game. Better than me doing it.

We then invited four young audience members to join us. I rapped to their resulting film. Yes, yes I did. 50 Cent and Eminem are safe in their careers. Gordon very much enjoys working with the QL2 dancers but is a little at a loss of what to say as their technique was strong and not much for him to correct upon. These are good things.

Liz Lea and Alison Plevey: promo shot for InFlight

Liz Lea and Alison Plevey: promo shot for InFlight [PHOTO: LORNA SIM]

I am also looking forward to being in Residence at QL2 Dance in May. I have been given a generous Supported Grant of Space to rehearse my new company work InFlight. Dancers Marnie Palomares, Melanie Palomares, Miranda Wheen and Alison Plevey will join me for five weeks in the run up to performances at the National Library of Australia on 31 May and 1 June. We have a fabulous creative team also – Naomi Ota is creating an art Installation, Christine Nowak is designing the set, Karen Norris is lighting the work and Sarah Kaur is creating our film. Fun Fun times.

2012 Liz & Alison @ CDT&CapitolHill 103a

Alison Plevey in InFlight [Photo: Lorna Sim]

InFlight explores flight, from the dynamic world of 1930s aviators to birds and bird song. The work is a collaboration with the NLA, NFSA, Questacon, and CSIRO; and draws on archival materials and dance to bring Australian aviation history to life in an inspired and entertaining journey for contemporary audiences. This new work commemorates the 85th Anniversary of Charles Kingsford Smith’s Transatlantic flight.

As a teacher it is a joy to see an extra class added to the QL2 roster – Intermediate contemporary level taught by Jamie Winbank – the perfect place for dancers who are developing into the seniors class and need a slightly different class to meet their needs.