About Jake Kuzma

Jake found his love for contemporary dance in 2004 when he joined Canberra's QL2 dance. In his youth Jake used to jam with friends and practice breakdance. Jake continued his dance training at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and performed works choreographed by Csaba Buday, Samantha Williams, Shaaron Boughen, Tim Farrer and Zaimon Vilmanis. Outside of studies Jake danced in Leisel Zink’s Fifteen development and performed for Claire Marshall in Slowdive, Video Set and Slowdive Cairns. Internationally Jake performed in the Guangdong Festival of Modern Dance in China. Danced with Israeli company TAMI's Peep Dance in Brisbane Festival. Since graduating, Jake has choreographed for Ladyhawke's music video clip Blue Eyes (Remix) and choreographed and performed a solo titled Sci-fi-ver for Short+Sweet Dance Canberra and Melbourne, where he received the Most Outstanding Male Performer award. Jake’s latest achievements include performing in Antony Hamilton’s Black Project 2 in 2013 Dance Massive, development for Tim Darbyshire’s Stampede the Stampede and Flatline’s Sketch. Jake Kuzma has choreographed for has choreographed for Yellowwheels FX and QL2 Leader Of The Pack in 2013.

I danced, Kerrie drove the cars

Diego, Kerrie and myself had a play with one of my old childhood toys: an electric racing car set! We placed some small LED lights on top of the racing cars to create a Tron like effect. I danced, Kerrie drove the cars and Diego took some long exposure shots. This was an experiment and play for a new work titled Tiny Giants. QL2 Theatre was a great venue to do the neon photo-shoot and we are thankful for the space! Hope you guys like the pictures!

Photographer Diego Zambrano

Local Canberra artist: Kerrie Neilen

Dancer: Jake Kuzma

Jake & Kathleen: Square Nebula at You Are Here

Edit 19/3/2014: you can see a review of Square Nebula on Scissors Paper Pen, here.

Kathleen and I have just finished our second curated residency here at QL2. We finished the work and had a successful opening night at CMAG for the You Are Here festival. Here is a little trailer for the work Square Nebula.

photo-3Over the past week we reworked our material from the December Curated Residency at QL2 Dance, we restructured the work and used some new digital projections. Ruth Osborne came in on day two and shared her wisdom regarding dynamics, structure and a few technical things we hadn’t thought of concerning the performance space. Continue reading

“Square Nebula” – Jake Kuzma in residence at QL2 Dance

photoThis past week Kathleen Lott and myself have been collaborating in dance through a Curated Residency at QL2.

Kathleen is a 2011 VCA graduate and former member of QL2’s Quantum Leap ensemble, and I am a QUT graduate from the same year and also a former Quantum Leaper. We haven’t danced together since the 2008 QL2 season at Canberra Playhouse, My Sister My Brother. We are excited to be dancing together again in CANBERRA! Continue reading

Ruth talks about Taipei — scratching the surface

I spoke with Ruth Osborne now she is back from Taipei, where QL2 Dance teamed up with Perth’s Steps Youth Dance Company to perform, workshop, and participate in the Dance and Child International (DACI) & World Dance Alliance (WDA) joint summit.

Ruth and Alice presenting a lecture-demonstration: “Charting Creative Differences” with Quantum Leapers and Steps dancers

The tour has been in planning since Ruth took three dancers to the last DACI conference in Jamaica, in 2009. This time around Ruth wanted to take more than just 3 dancers and through the collaboration with Steps she was able to do just that. Her team (admin and dancers) worked very hard this past year to get everything ready for this complex international dance summit.

10 dancers from Steps joined the 10 Quantum Leapers in Canberra for a week before Taiwan, working with choreographer James O’Hara to complete their performance piece “Scratch the Surface”.

On 12 July QL2 and STEPS arrived at Canberra airport to catch the earliest flight of the day, to arrive late at night in Taipei. A tired Ruth (who had stayed up all night packing) was grateful that they were arriving in Taiwan with a whole day before the festival started — a day spent recovering from the trip and sightseeing.

The dancers were pushed very hard throughout the festival. Everyone had a full-on schedule , from classes in the morning to performances late at night. In the afternoons the dancers were split into groups, doing a creative process, working with international facilitators. Ruth says “this was a great opportunity to work with other dancers from around the world.”

Opening ceremony: the Australian contingent

The schedule was tight — eg they had only 20 minutes to plot and dress run a 10 minute piece. And dancing in the 38° heat was even making the Taipei locals sweat. These demands can be quite a toll on the body, and learning to manage this was important for young dancers: “managing tiredness and actually being conscious of how you are physically is a really good learning curve for them”

Hard at work in the studio

The dancers were doing as many master classes they could, which meant getting up early and queuing up: there was a lot of competition for places, as there were a lot of people at the summit. Many assisted in morning taster classes, workshops, and being demonstrators for Ruth and Alice Holland’s lecture/demonstrations.

As a national organisation it was important for QL2 Dance to expand themselves overseas. DACI was an opportunity to get the QL2 name on an international stage and show what Australian youth dance can do. QL2 and STEPS were invited to perform in the Showcase alongside tertiary level dancers, getting even more exposure.

Ruth was proud of the result. She said that many people thought that QL2 and STEPS were “very impressive, mature and professional, especially for a youth dance company. Projects like this are important for showing funding bodies and others that taking our youth dance overseas is just as important as taking professional dance.”

Quantum Steppers, Ruth, Alice, James and the wonderful support team.

At the start the two companies’ worked on opposite sides of the country, before coming together for the short intensive. Together the two companies enjoyed exploration, creating processes and finding the value in contemporary dance. The dancers being in similar companies found it easy to get along and work together. They were every excited to work together and even more excited to work with James O’Hara.

This was a return to collaboration between Quantum Leap dancers and Steps: last time was the 2001 project “Transdance 3091”, back when Ruth led Quantum Leap as part of the Choreographic Centre.

Steps was “her baby” before she came to Canberra — Ruth started Steps and was Artistic Director from 1988–99.

She now marvels at how her baby has grown. Alice Holland, who is now Artistic Director of Steps, was one Ruth’s students at age 5, and along with James O’Hara was one of the original Steps members. So for Ruth this was a touching collaboration.

QL2 is looking forward to working with Steps in the future.