Dance Research Australia Postgraduate Forum 2021 Program

Session 2, Friday 3rd December

NZ-4.45pm | VIC/NSW/TAS-2.45pm | SA-2.15pm
QLD-1.45pm | NT-1.15pm | WA-11.45am

Chair: Dr Shaun McLeod

Aimee BrownFrench baroque Dance for Musicians: a New Notation System

Affective performance of French baroque dance music relies on an understanding of the dance. The prevalence of dance manuals, volume of dance suites composed, and the importance of dance in aristocratic training demonstrates that dance played a major role in 18th Century France. Music composed during this era was highly influenced by dance. Choreographies have survived which help contemporary performers to shape an understanding of each dance style and how this can be applied to music. However, these choreographies are difficult to read as a musician without a thorough understanding of baroque dance.

In my research, a system of notating dance has been adapted from original French baroque dance notation which gives the musician an idea of significant steps and phrasing in the dance choreography. The system simplifies an existing choreography and is written above the music to be followed as the musician plays. In my current work I am engaging historical musicians and dancers to experiment with the new notation in order to test the influence that knowledge of dance can have on the interpretation of music. This notation system is designed to improve a musician’s experience of baroque dance music and consequently that of the dancer and audience.

In this paper I will present an example of this new notation the dance Sarabande pour une femme, with coinciding music from Lully’s Bourgeois Gentilhomme which will highlight how elements of dancing can sculpt interpretation of music.

Aimee Brown is currently doing her Masters of Music in Musicology at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She specialises in 18th-century French dance and music. During her undergraduate degree in historical musical performance, she studied and performed historical dance and music in England, Germany, and Portugal. She is passionate about bridging the gap between historical dancer and musician.

Sally Richardson“The Challenge of a Woman in Charge”: Dancing the Gillard Years

Julia Gillard’s Prime Ministership from 2010-13 evoked a form of media “stalking” and trial by an Australian public whipped up into a frenzy of “poisonous hatred”. This interlude was regarded as a particular low-point in political coverage and commentary, as author Samantha Trenoweth notes; “the political conversation was a soap opera broadcast at deafening decibels…”. (1) 

Gillard’s ‘Misogyny Speech’ delivered in parliamentary question time went viral due to its international resonance from so many who identified with her experience of misogyny and sexism. Chloe Angyl writing for the British Guardian, describing it as “a masterful, righteous take-down”, that “tackled sexism head-on” (The Guardian, 9 October, 2012), regarded by public vote as the most “unforgettable moment in Australian political TV history” (The Guardian Australia, Feb 7, 2020). 

How do we, as artists and feminist academics, work with and respond to the vilification of a parliamentary leader “portrayed as someone who should be burned at the stake…”(3)? How do we explore the subject of ‘misogyny’ through dance? Can dance ’speak out’, offering an expression of empowerment and a ‘call to action’? Referencing solo dance theatre work JULIA, a co-creation with performer Natalie Allen, I will present responses to my research to date. 

1. Bewitched and Bedevilled: Women Write the Gillard Years Edit. Samantha Trenoweth (Hardie Grant Books, Aust 2013) p 8
2. ibid, p 229
3. ibid, Tracy Spicer, p 280

Sally Richardson is a Western Australian based director, writer, dramaturg, consultant and producer working across the performing arts. Her PHD research focuses on processes and approaches to the creation of Australian contemporary performance by women redressing colonial histories and stereotypes, exploring collaboration as a feminist practice with other artists in the region with a focus on contemporary theatre, dance and related hybrids. Through her company Steamworks Arts (2001-) she has sought to champion the voice, presence, agency and vision of women in the arts. Sally has worked for companies including: Sydney Theatre Company, Black Swan Theatre Company, Perth Theatre Company, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Deckchair Theatre, The Flying Fruitfly Circus, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Performing Lines, amongst others. She has been guest director/lecturer at WAAPA ECU, NAISDA, NICA, Curtin universities and undertaken residencies across Australia and in Hong Kong, Taiwan & Iceland. Productions of her work have been presented nationally and internationally and been a winner/finalist for Helpmann Awards, PWA, Green Room/ Blue Room Awards, Ausdance Awards and selected for Dance Australia Critics Choice. Sally is a past recipient of an Australia Council Dramaturgy Fellowship and a Creative Fellowship (WA Department of Culture and the Arts) She is an Asialink & Australia Council Arts Leaders alumni, and former Artistic Director of Playworks: National Women Writers Workshop and Stages WA.

Gareth Belling Policy as choreographic act

If we are to understand policy as a choreographic act, what new perspectives on the development of live performance subsidy in Australia are offered? I argue that the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust’s (the Trust’s) policies meet William Forsythe’s description of a choreographic act as “a model of potential transition from one state to another in any space imaginable” (Spier 91). This presentation will provide a brief account of the Trust’s role in establishing and promoting ballet in Australia between 1954 and 1975 as “a fault-line worthy of close inspection” (Meyrick 141). This thesis asks how, as a model for transition, policies governing live performance subsidy suggests possible courses of action; in what way did the Trust’s policies of subsidy choreograph ballet in Australia? 

Meyrick, Julian. “The Logic of Culture: The Fate of Alternative Theatre in the Post-Whitlam Period.” Australasian Drama Studies, vol. 64, no. 64, 2014, pp. 133-374.
Spier, Steven. William Forsythe and the Practice of Choreography: It Starts from Any Point. Taylor & Francis, 2011.

Gareth Belling is a choreographer, dance educator, and PhD candidate at University of Queensland. A dancer with Queensland Ballet from 2002 – 2012, he has choreographed for Collusion, Queensland Ballet, QUT Dance and WAAPA, and staged works with Collusion at DanceStages Shanghai, Brisbane Festival, MELT and in Guangzhou. Nominated for a 2016 Australian Dance Award, Gareth has received grants from the Australia Council, Arts Queensland and Australia-China Council, and scholarship to the Swiss International Coaching Project for Choreographers (SiWiC). Gareth holds a Master of Fine Arts (Dance) from Queensland University of Technology, and has research published by University of Florida Press.