Keir Choreographic Award 2018
Artists. Amrita Hepi, Bhenji Ra, Branch Nebula (Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters), Lilian Steiner, Luke George, Melanie Lane, Nana Biluš Abaffy, Prue Lang
Organisations. Carriageworks, Dancehouse
This biennial Australian choreographic award was launched in 2014, it was formed through a partnership between Dancehouse, Melbourne; Carriageworks, Sydney and the Keir Foundation. It is dedicated to commissioning new short works and promoting innovation, experimentation and cross-artform practices in contemporary dance while providing significant support to the contemporary dance sector in Australia. The aim of the award is to increase the profile of, and cultivate new audiences for, contemporary dance both within Australia and internationally by commissioning and presenting new choreographic works in a competitive context, while also fostering debate around choreographic practice in Australia.
Choreography today invites a rethinking and reframing of relations between space, time, language, presence, aesthetics and ethics. The Keir Choreographic Award aims to capture the new choreographic territories evolving in the realm of movement art and performance that explore the very specific body-mind states artists have been increasingly concerned with throughout the last decade.
The Keir Choreographic Award welcomes choreographic ideas for works that reflect the interconnectivity between disciplines and challenge conventions about what the moving body is or can be in contemporary society. It hopes to foster new understandings of what choreography might become. Applications for the award are assessed by a panel and eight selected artists are commissioned to develop their work. Commissioned artists received a fee, a production budget and in-kind space proportionate to the scale of their project.
The commissioned works are presented over a four day season at Dancehouse, Melbourne. The jury then selects four of these works to go forward to the finals which are presented at Carriageworks, Sydney. A $30,000 cash prize is awarded to the winner selected by the jury, while $10,000 is awarded to the People’s Choice winner selected by the audience at Carriageworks.
The eight commissioned choreographers in 2018 were: Amrita Hepi, Bhenji Ra, Branch Nebula (Lee Wilson and Mirabella Wouters), Lilian Steiner, Luke George, Melanie Lane, Nana Biluš Abaffy and Prue Lang.
The 2018 jury was: Anna CY Chan – Head of Dance, Performing Arts at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong; Lucy Guerin – choreographer, pedagogue, Lucy Guerin Inc., Melbourne; Ishmael Houston-Jones – US choreographer, author, performer, and curator; Eszter Salamon – choreographer, dancer and performer, France/Belgium/Germany; Christophe Slagmuylder – Artistic Director of Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels; and Meg Stuart – American choreographer and dancer, Damaged Goods, Belgium/Germany.
In 2018 an extensive public program accompanied the Keir Choreographic Award. In association with Dancehouse the following programs occurred:
Performances: Replay Eszter Salamon, 24-25 February 5pm; An Evening Of Solo Works Meg Stuart, 23-24 March 8pm;
Workshops: Choreographic lab with public outcome presentation with Eszter Salamon, 12-25 February; Theory & Process Dancing solo in the 21st Century with Bojana Cvejic, 26 February-2 March; Intensive: Them, Reloaded with Ishmael Houston-Jones, 5-9 March; How to like dance with Witness (Alison Croggon & Robert Reid), 4-11 March.
Dialogues: The performing of the self: Aesthetic individual with Bojana Cvejic, 2 March 6pm; On scores for the dead & the politics of dancing with Ishmael Houston-Jones in dialogue with Phillip Adams, 4 March 2-3.30pm.
Conversations: Choreography. Now, 5-9 March 5-6pm
Writing: Scribe led by artist and curator Leisa Shelton
In association with Carriageworks the following programs took place:
Performance: An evening of solo works Meg Stuart, 19–20 March 8pm
Workshops: Eszter Salamon: Choreographic lab, Critical Path, 3–4 March 10am-4pm; Black Dance with Ishmael Houston-Jones, Campbelltown Arts Centre 14–15 March 10am-4pm; Little Orange Workshop with Lucy Guerin, Campbelltown Arts Centre 16 March 10am-4pm; Meg Stuart Masterclass, Carriageworks, 16 March 10am-4pm.
Seminars, panels and discussions: Eszter Salamon seminar, University of New South Wales, 27 February 2-5pm; Eszter Salamon lunchtime talk at NGA Speculative history making in the public space of museums, 1 March 12:45-1:45pm; Runway Issue #36 Dance launch, Carriageworks, 8 March 7pm; Afternoon tea with Anna Chan, 11 March 3pm; Lost and found: Ishmael Houston-Jones in conversation, Critical Path, 12–13 March 11am-5pm; Runway Issue #36 Dance: Discussion, panel and performance evening, Firstdraft, 14 March 6:30-9:30pm; Contemporary Australian dance seminar with Lucy Guerin, Critical Path, 14–15 March 2-5pm; Opening Night post-performance panel, Carriageworks, 15 March 9:30pm; Anna Chan and Critical Path pre-show panel, Carriageworks, 16 March 6:30pm; Meg Stuart post show discussion, Carriageworks, 19 March 9pm.
Interesting interview with Amrita Hepi and Bhenji Ra in Audrey Journal in the lead up to the Semi-Finals – click here for details.
Issue #36 DANCE was produced by Runway – Australian Experimental Art Journal in association with Carriageworks. It formed a critical reader to accompany the 2018 Keir Choreographic Awards and was Guest Edited by Lizzie Thomson – click here to read.
Melanie Lane was the 2018 winner of the Keir Choreographic Award for her work Personal Effigies. The Audience Choice Award went to Amrita Hepi for her piece Caltex Spectrum.