New contemporary dance work where movement becomes poetry…

ARCHITECT OF THE INVISIBLE will play from October 11 – 15 at the Heath Ledger Theatre at the State Theatre Centre in Perth. 

This work was devised and directed by Co3 Artistic Director Raewyn Hill is a World Premiere dance work that explores what drives an individual to push beyond their limits to accomplish the extraordinary. Hill delves into the journey of an individual to overcome and endure in this much anticipated follow up to the powerful and emotive multiple award-winning dance work, ARCHIVES OF HUMANITY as part of Perth Festival in 2021. 

The seed idea for this new work began last year on Gubrun and Noongar country when Hill, Ian Wilkes, Collaborator and Cultural Advisor, and four other dancers embarked on an isolation and endurance exercise. 

Hill said, “The idea for that was about taking a group of people and stripping away everything that they knew. Everything they relied on, just pulling it back to absolute basics and existing on country with very little. Well, I say very little, but it ended up being everything because we had each other.” 

This investigation spurned the creation of a series of moving images with those same dancers, devised by Raewyn Hill and video artist Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson which is the central point of reflection in THE CHAIN PROJECT. This digital community engagement initiative is currently gathering stories and sentiments from individuals from the Western Australian community about endurance that will feed into this new work. 

Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, Hill sought out internationally recognised linguist, Emeritus Professor John Kinder OSI, (Professor of Italian at UWA) whose specialty is bringing early language to the modern age. He eloquently describes this text and its embedded narrative as a “map of the human heart”. Hill has drawn on that notion and the text for both the structure of the work (the journey from Inferno, Purgatory to Paradise), and as inspiration for creating dynamic movement sequences. Dramaturg, Richard Longbottom has interpreted and rewritten each of the 100 cantos in a more modern language providing yet another layer of stimulus that supports Hill’s vision and aesthetic. 

Hill said, “The Divine Comedy has served as a critical foundation. Now that the work underpinning the creation of images inspired by it are coming to life, it leaves space for everything else. The Divine Comedy, has been the driver in terms of creating images and a very clear structure; inspiring a story of existence as a baseline; now our community of dancers and their energy, experiences and prowess are the drivers of the work.” 

Composer, Iain Grandage, is creating an original musical composition for the work, inspired to collaborate with Hill after watching “the long and beautiful development” of ARCHIVES OF HUMANITY (2021). Grandage said, For me being in a rehearsal room like this is one of the great joys because Raewyn is an artist at the peak of her powers, working with a series of dancers who bring all of themselves to a show that is about everything in this world; the way we are all joined as humanity, the way we all stand together, in listening to the old stories of this place, and the old stories of the world.” 

Grandage added, ” What I love about Raewyn’s work is its multiple layers – like “onion rings” of creation. There will be something that begins and then layer upon layer, you can’t even quite see that heart, but you know that it is there. There is some deep understanding that’s inside a work, that somehow in the mystery and in the joy of what ends up getting presented, you know that there’s a deep truth in there, but subtly stated.” 

Of working with Grandage, Hill said, “The wonder of Iain is that he has that great sense of scale, but also there is this incredible intricacy and sensitivity to him and his work. He has a beautiful balance of these, which I was really drawn to because the work is epic. Epic in scale, in energy, in the number of dancers, in the set and in the complexity of getting the right energy and sound. As Iain transitions from his incredible work as Perth Festival Artistic Director, I feel honoured that he has seen something inside this work that he wants to commit and contribute to.” 

The set, repurposed from West Australian Opera, has been designed and adapted by Tyler Hill. The raked stepped stage will be a challenging base upon which a 23-strong ensemble of dancers will perform. The ensemble consists of eleven Co3 Dancers performing alongside twelve from LINK Dance Company in what is a hallmark collaboration between Co3 in their long-standing association with Edith Cowan University and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). 

Don’t miss your chance to witness the convergence of poetry, dance, and visual storytelling in ARCHITECT OF THE INVISIBLE. Embark on a mesmerising voyage through the realms of the invisible, guided by the virtuosity and passion of the State’s leading and emerging contemporary dance artists. 

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