Walking and falling: moved to tears

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Brisbane-based dancer Caitlin MacKenzie makes a yearly pilgrimage to Canberra, her hometown, usually with an extra dancer or two in tow. This year the occasion coincides with the remounting of QL2’s 2005 work Reckless Valour, which was the very first QL2 project Caitlin participated in as a young dancer, and one that she still cites as one of the most significant and special projects of her artistic career.

Working as an independent artist, particularly in a country as vast as Australia, demands flexibility and the willingness to forge makeshift roots wherever you find yourself. For Caitlin, Canberra is an anchor point to which she consistently returns. QL2 represents a large part of this sense of homecoming.

“Wherever I go”, she says, “I am a huge advocate for QL2 because their work is so strong and because they nurture young artists and never really let go of those ties…(every time I return) I experience that same richness, integrity and magic”.

“Wherever I go”, she says, “I am a huge advocate for QL2 because their work is so strong and because they nurture young artists and never really let go of those ties…(every time I return) I experience that same richness, integrity and magic”.

This year sees Caitlin back in Canberra along with Gemma Dawkins and Dean Cross to perform Walking and Falling, a QL2 project in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery’s All That Fall exhibition. Choreographed by QL2 Artistic Director Ruth Osborne, the twenty minute piece examines the changing face of the Australian homefront during WW1.

As we move through the year that marks the centenary of the ANZACS, it seems fitting that QL2 revisit the past in Reckless Valour, bringing its history to a new group of young dancers and audiences. For Caitlin, working on Walking and Falling ten years after her Reckless Valour experience is a touching and significant process. “We have to be careful not to glorify war”, she says, “but to me it is important to remember the sacrifice of men and women, regardless of where they call home or what they fought for…Reckless Valour was the first time I realised the power that dance has to summon empathy; its ability to connect youth to a life they have never known – and hopefully will not know”.

In its first week of performances Walking and Falling has realised that same power, with audience members moved to tears and sharing their own personal stories with the dancers after the show. To hear gallery-goers claiming to have been ‘converted’ to contemporary dance reminds us of the very real significance of the arts – to touch people in an authentic, genuine way, one hundred years after the devastation it portrays.

Thanks as always to the wonderful Lorna Sim for photos.


Walking and Falling continues at National Portrait Gallery,
King Edward Terrace, Parkes, Canberra, Canberra

Thursday 9 July 2015,
11:00am – 11:15am, 12:15pm – 12:30pm and 1:30pm – 1:45pm
Friday 10 July 2015,
11:00am – 11:15am, 12:15pm – 12:30pm and 1:30pm – 1:45pm
Saturday 11 July 2015,
11:00am – 11:15am, 12:15pm – 12:30pm and 1:30pm – 1:45pm
Sunday 12 July 2015,
11:00am – 11:15am, 12:15pm – 12:30pm and 1:30pm – 1:45pm


Reckless Valour opens at Canberra Playhouse 29 July
Wednesday 29 July – Saturday 1 August at 7pm + 1 August at 2pm
Canberra Playhouse, Canberra Australia
02 62752700 | CANBERRATHEATRECENTRE.COM.AU

 

This entry was posted in 2015 projects, Alumni, Dean Cross, Walking and falling by Gemma Dawkins. Bookmark the permalink.

About Gemma Dawkins

Gemma is an emerging dancer/choreographer who makes messes and metaphors. As a dance maker, she has been the recipient of awards (most outstanding choreography, Short Sweet + Dance Sydney 2010), residencies (Fresh Ground 2011, Ausdance QLD Bell Tower and Brisbane Front 2011), and support (ArtStart 2011, QUT/QL2 sponsorship 2009). She was mentored by choreographer Clare Dyson in 2011, as a part of the JUMP Mentoring program, and through this mentorship created work which enjoyed a sell-out season in the 2012 Brisbane Festival. As a performer Gemma has toured nationally and internationally, including performances at Spain’s ACT Festival and China's Guangdong Modern Dance Festival. She attended Anouk Van Dijk’s summer intensive in Amsterdam in 2010, studied improvisation in Barcelona with Ted Stoffer, and undertook QL2’s Soft Landing in 2011. She has appeared in independent projects including Garry Stewart’s film Collision Course, The National Gallery of Australia’s Backstage at the Ballet Russes, and in Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar 2011. Gemma is currently Sydney-based, most recently working with independent choreographers to create 'WAY OUT: Dance at Alaska', a site-specific work in an underground Kings Cross carpark. In 2013 Gemma appeared in the Dirty Hercules filmclip for singer Ngaiire, a short film for fashion label Ellery, performed at Strange Attractor (Canberra), and danced for Tanya Voges (Moving Forward, Museum of Contemporary Art, DirtyFeet residency, and Blacktown Arts residency Retracing Steps) and Anya McKee (Ausdance NSW residency for Fit To Shift). She has also been working as a choreographer and movement advisor for advertisements and film clips. Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance Performance) – with Distinction (QUT) Bachelor of Arts (Dance) Honours (WAAPA/LINK Dance Company)