A little bit flashy: Alison @NPG

Ed: Alison Plevey’s Australian Dance Party is Company in Residence at QL2 Dance — sharing spaces and experiences with our young dancers, and creating great dance in unsual places.

“We have kicked off the creative adventures for Australian Dance Party in 2018 with a little bit of red carpet.

Leaning into the cross arts, fun, social elements of the Party, I have been lucky enough to lead the development of a quirky short dance work entitled In a flash. The work references the current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery “Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits”, and aims to expand the audience experience of the gallery and enable an important cross arts dialogue.

The exhibition captures actors in their casting photos, on set, in rehearsal, in performance and in private moments of doing the work of what it means to be a performer. We rarely here see the camera men or women, their photographic portraits the embodiment of their presence.

Over the last few years I have been imagining a project through which to collaborate more deeply with Lorna Sim, beloved dance camera whiz here in Canberra, and this has proved an exciting opportunity to do so.

With In a flash we expose some of the processes of the creatives (the performers, cameraman and post production) working together to capture a mood, action and story through moving and still image. Graphic artist Anna Trundle, whose speedy skill in photographic editing and design has been stretched to a new level here, as she receives and edits Lorna’s photos live taking the audience into the onscreen world of real and manipulated. The challenge has been in revealing the raw, behind the scenes work, skill and reality of the artists, as it is in fact a performance context that we are working with.

Though a fast process, we have weaved together a collection of glimpses, like portraits themselves that captures these experiences that parallel the shots in the exhibition. I could not resist using a little of the music, text and costuming from some classic Australian films, yet reimagining their life with this new creation and intention.

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With great thanks to old and new collaborators we weaved skills and relationships that are very personal to us, including an integration of text and movement and an openness of the close director/performer relationship between myself and long time collaborator Adam Deusien (Lingua Franca). I feel very lucky, challenged and motivated by opportunities to create new work in such contexts, but more than that uncover to ourselves and others the workings (mysteries) of what we do and how we do it.

Thank you, Alana Stenning (QL2 Alumni, recent AC arts graduate), Gabriela Green, Leeke Griffin and Adam Deusien for your choreographic and conceptual collaboration, Dancing in thongs… a new skill for our list. Lorna and Anna thank you for your wizard skills and belief in this wack combination of happenings, you are exceptional.

I thank the National Portrait Gallery for the commission and QL2 Dance for support as company in residence to enable the creation of the work in the theatre space. Thanks to Liz Lea and Ruth Osborne for generous assistance with costuming.

Please come along, see the exhibition and join us for the final two performances on Sunday 18th Feb, 11am and 2pm. It’ll be gone in a…

Australian Dance Party returns to the National Portrait Gallery
Dance Artists: Adam Deusien, Alana Stenning, Alison Plevey, Gabriela Green and Leeke Griffin.
Live photography: Lorna Sim
Live Graphics: Anna Trundle

Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and supported by QL2 Dance.

Sunday 18 February 2018

11:00am – 11:30am
2:00pm – 2:30pm