Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Meet Alice Lee Holland.

RRAC Dance, a Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council Initiative.

Collaborating closely with the Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Councils’ “Dance” team, Alice Lee Holland is forming a community dance project which will officially set sail in 2018.  Highly qualified, intelligent and dedicated, we asked our dance artist in residence a few questions so that you can get to know her.

Tell us a bit about you.
Well, at the moment I am based in Melbourne.  I’m an independent choreographer/director, and I also teach university dance students at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and public dance classes for adults at Chunky Move, which is Melbourne’s premier contemporary dance company.

I grew up in Perth.  I studied dance at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), then moved to North Carolina USA where I completed my Master of Fine Arts in Performance and Choreography.  I moved home to Perth in 2004, which is when I started choreographing my own professional dance work.  I taught at WAAPA for eight years and directed STEPS Youth Dance Company for six years before moving over east in 2015.

Most recently I was the Resident Director for Circa Contemporary Circus, based in Brisbane.  During this time, I toured Australia, the UK and Europe with Circa’s incredible shows.  We performed in circus tents and theatres, for music and arts festivals, even cemeteries and a cathedral!

What is contemporary dance? AND why did you choose contemporary instead of another discipline?
It’s a very diverse style of dance, but what I teach is closely related to modern dance, which started as a rebellion against ballet.  The dancers took off their ballet shoes, forgot about the “rules” and danced with freedom and expression.  I loved contemporary dance from a very young age because of this liberty and imagination.  Also, contemporary dance uses weight, gravity, momentum; it feels pretty great to create your own waves of energy!

What drives you to teach Dance?
I like to think about it as sharing a love and passion for dance. Between the ages of 12-17, I danced in a professional dance company for young people in Perth, called STEPS Youth Dance Company*.  Many years later I became the Artistic Director of STEPS. Rather than teaching dance, STEPS’ priority was to ignite the artistry in young people. Being inspired by dance and its creative potential is so much more sustainable than being good at some steps. So that's what drives me to teach: the opportunity to inspire energetic, creative human beings!
(*STEPS is no longer a stand-alone company.  The STEPS legacy is now part of WA’s flagship contemporary dance company Co:3, as Co3:Youth.)

From small town Collie WA to Resident Director for Circa Contemporary Circus!How did you achieve such a career?
The support of my parents has been key.  When I was in school, they drove me to dancing six times a week, came to see all the performances, mum volunteered to help backstage and took me to see heaps of professional shows... all that stuff! They supported my decision to move to the USA when I was 21 to complete my Master of Fine Arts. They've even been looking after my dog since I started travelling so much with work a few years ago...! I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without their support. 

Also, determination and an open mind.  I knew I wanted to be a dancer and choreographer from a young age, and got involved with as much as I could, so that I could learn as much as possible.

What were the most important lessons of your journey?
Be brave.  Be thrilled and inspired by challenge.  Think big.  Work your butt off.  Start by understanding that you really don’t know much at all…

What countries have you worked in?
Australia, USA, UK, Belgium, France, Sweden, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Norway, Taiwan, Copenhagen…

What was your most bizarre dance job?
Well, my coolest job so far was working with Circa Contemporary Circus. It was really fascinating working in a different art form - contemporary circus is a lot like contemporary dance but much more dangerous and exciting.  One of the shows I was involved with was presented for a cemetery – aerialists, dancers, choir singers – it was beautiful… and a bit bizarre!

Strait ‘outta’ Melbourne, into Ravensthorpe! What inspired you to take part in the RRAC Dance Project?
Well a few reasons really.  It’s nice to be working closer to home, especially after being overseas for a long time.  The biggest reason however, is that it’s such a fabulous project!  Inspiring a community to dance?!  How cool!!  I feel lucky to be part of this very first stage.  It’s an exciting and ambitious initiative and I am loving the challenge.
(…and I love bobtails… I am developing that very special skill of being able to dodge them while driving!)

You are also well known for your choreography work, what do you enjoy more?
Choreographing is pretty special business because you are creating something new with a team of dancers and designers.  Teaching is pretty similar though, because you’re creating energy and excitement and enthusiasm for dance!  Hopefully the students I teach filter into the world as dance-lovers – audience members and also artists of the future.

What would you say is your greatest achievement in your dance career?
Probably winning the 2015 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance for STEPS’ production Fights & Flights.  The show was performed at the State Theatre Centre of WA by 55 young dancers age 7-21 and five professional dancers now working internationally, who had been STEPS dancers when they were young.

How do you fuel your “Dance Energy”?
Great music, a good Pilates program and strong coffee!

What are you hoping is the outcome of this Pilot Phase?
My priority for this pilot phase of the RRAC Dance Project is to engage every student and inspire them to move.  Generally, I am working with concepts of contemporary dance in these sessions.

The traditional idea of “dancing” can be intimidating for many people, perhaps because it is often associated with black/white judgements like being a “good” or “bad” dancer, being “right” or “wrong” in attempts to dance, and ultimately trying to look the same as the person next to you.  I work deliberately against these priorities to create an environment where movement is empowering.  I design dance workshops for young people that build confidence and sense of self, promote independent and creative thinking, and develop skills in collaboration.
Saturday Dance Workshops in Hopetoun. Photo by Jackie Edwards. 

For project developments, go to the “RRAC Dance” facebook page;


The Regional Arts Partnership Project is supported by supported by the State Government of WA and Country Arts WA

Not the End

Just Another Beginning

Hopetoun Dance Group has been an integral part of Hopetouns’ landscape for the past four years. A weekly tradition in Hopetoun. Term by term, Monday afternoons in Hopetoun are for dancing.

A partnership between Hopetoun Dance Group & Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council (RRAC), supported by Hopetoun Primary School and First Quantum Minerals, saw a four-year program which engaged Hopetoun children in dance. Now with exciting opportunities on the horizon Rebecca Hiller and Kristen Lanham, Hopetoun Dance Group (HDG) are fully handing over the reigns (and the remainder of the HDG funding) to RRAC. No pressure RRAC!

Not to despair. With the foundations for dance firmly concreted into Hopetoun, thanks to Beck and Kristin, RRAC have been working on a project to swing, jump, leap and spin across 6 towns in the region with a Dance Artist in Residence.

RRAC was selected by Country Arts WA to coordinate the Contemporary Dance and Performance cluster for the Regional Arts Partnership Project (RAPP), one of three initiatives within the Departments of Local Government Sport and Cultural Industries and Primary Industries and Regional Development, Royalties for Regions Creative Regions program. The RAPP is aimed at bringing together regional artists and arts organisations with key service organisations, to create collaborative partnership groups to drive regional arts development across Western Australia. This ground-breaking arts initiative will create the biggest arts network in Western Australian history over the next two years. Are we excited? You can bet your lyrical-leotard we are!
Currently still in the scoping phase for this project, RRAC is working in partnership with Ausdance WA, and with Principals at Hopetoun PS, Ravensthorpe DHS, Munglinup PS, Jerdacuttup Primary, Lake King PS and Jerramungup DHS, to deliver the opportunity for over 300 children to participate in dance.
Ensuring sustainability of dance in the regions is at the forefront of this project, a Mentorship program is forming up, involving local artists and/or teachers working alongside RRAC’s professional dance artist in residence.
This pilot project was kicked off with a community ‘taster’, a full day of dance classes demonstrating different elements of contemporary dance. To gage community interest in different dance styles and community demographics, community dance classes are being held in Hopetoun, Ravensthorpe and Jerramungup during this school term. This 5-week scoping phase will allow RRAC to gather enough output data for efficient scheduling throughout 2018 and 2019, leading into dance performance opportunities, community classes and dance workshops in the region.
For ongoing dance opportunities, like the dedicated “RRAC Dance” Facebook page. 2018’s program is set to begin with the start of school term 1.

Acrobatic Workshop photos by Dene Bingham.

Project made possible by:

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wild Silence

In fantastic showcase of our region, David Collins who visited Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun in September 2016, in a partnership with FORM, is wrapping up a mesmerizing exhibition at the end of this month. 

Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council would like to acknowledge David's breath taking work. We hope to see him back in our region again. 

Wild Silence
by David Charles Collins 
What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk.
by Gian Manik

July until September, 2017
FORM Gallery Perth
357 Murray Street, Perth, WA, 6000

Gian Manik and David Charles Collins mark significant new direction in upcoming FORM exhibitions highlighting Western Australia’s Pilbara and South Coast.
FORM’s latest exhibition features a return to Western Australia by artists Gian Manik and David Charles Collins with new bodies of work marking a significant new direction for each artist.
Wild Silence, by David Charles Collins and What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk., by Gian Manik are the first major bodies of work created in Western Australia by the artists since leaving their home state. The works, a photographic series depicting iconic orchids, and a 10-meter long collaborative canvas respectively, open together at FORM Gallery Perth on Friday 9 July, 2017. They are drawn together by their focus on the remote Western Australian landscape and process of co-creation with communities in which they were developed.
FORM Curator Andrew Nicholls said Manik and Collins established their practices in Perth before moving to Melbourne and Sydney respectively. “In 2016 FORM invited both artists to return to Western Australia and undertake residencies in two of the State's remote regions,” Nicholls said.
“Over recent years Collins has gained growing national attention for his richly sensual photographic and video works, which reference the aesthetics of high-Renaissance painting to critically comment upon the hedonism, decadence and apathy of his generation,” Nicholls said. 
In late 2016 FORM commissioned Collins to travel to Western Australia’s remote southern regions and create a new body of botanically-themed works in conjunction with the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Festival. His resulting photographic series, Wild Silence, documents the iconic orchids of the Fitzgerald Biosphere, an area of nationally-significant biodiversity at the border of the Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance regions. In striking contrast to the high baroque sensibility of Collins previous works, the images have a stark and minimal beauty, representing a new direction in his practice.
Collins describes each photograph as an abstracted portrait. “The flowers, initially hard to see and find, still carried the weight and history of the place in which they had quietly existed,” he said. “Becoming more than flowers, I conceptualized them as individuals in a community, all tacitly aware of the knowledge of the land they inhabited. I found these silent bodies heavy with the secrets they keep to themselves”.
Nicholls describes Manik’s paintings as having come to focus almost exclusively on reflective and mirrored surfaces since he relocated to Melbourne in 2011. “This subject matter allows him to represent an in-between or ‘liminal’ space that shifts between abstraction and representation,” Nicholls said.
Manik spent three weeks in the Pilbara during April 2017, developing a series of new paintings inspired by his surroundings. What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk. showcases a spectacular 10-meter long canvas produced during this time, in partnership with students from Hedland Senior High School. Manik mentored around 40 students from years 6-12 in drawing and painting techniques, inviting them to work directly on to his canvas. His own impressions of the Pilbara were then over-painted to create a bold collaborative work.
Manik said he liked the way that a section of the canvas was rolled out at a time, the children sat around and then did their work. “I worked similarly, paying little attention to perspective and orientation, let alone relational aesthetics, so there is little expectation in terms of landscape/story as is expected in most mural work.”
As with Collins’ exhibition, this work represents a new direction in the artist’s practice – having focused on refining a single concept for the past five years, this new site-responsive, collaborative project has resulted in a chaotic, layered aesthetic combining diverse mark-making and humorous juxtaposition.

Wild Silence 2017

David Collins

Hopetoun Photography Workshop with Photographer. David Collins and FORM Curator, Andrew Nicholls. 2016

Want to see more of Wild Silence?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Oh Barbara, Oh Barry

Barbara & Barry's Sweet, Sour and Saucy

Jerdacuttup Hall.

The consensus has arrived, and we have all agreed that Barbara & Barry’s Sweet Sour & Saucy lived up to its name. Locally presented by Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council in partnership with Country Arts WA, Melissa Western & Tnee Dyer (aka Barbara & Barry) are a highly talented pair who provided a thoroughly entertaining and polished show. At times absolutely hilarious, the performance was top class, with the audience fully engaged and appreciative of the musical skills of the pair. We even had Eva and Tim Flanagan renewing their wedding vows on stage after 56 years, complete with cavorting bridesmaids!

The Jerdacuttup Community Association played host to the event on Saturday 12th of August 2017, setting up the Jerdacuttup Hall in true retro style complete with checkered tablecloths and Bakelite items. The food was delicious and the hospitality warm and welcoming as always.

During “Barbara & Barry’s” Hopetoun visit, they hosted two community workshops. Firstly, on Friday night, the music workshop gave beginners a simple approach to extend their skills in improvising, particularly using a basic 12 bar blues rhythm. Members from the local ukulele group “RHUkulele” strummed away with delight as they picked up a few tricks of the trade.

Then there was the singing workshop which was dubbed ‘pure fun’, especially when participants were paired and asked to improvise a duet, to Anthony's skilled piano accompaniment.  In this exercise, each pair sang gibberish to each other, with grand theatrical gestures to enhance the message. Talk about some budding opera stars...
Under Melissa and Barry's expert guidance we were also asked to improvise a short blues refrain, with some hilarious results as all tried valiantly to come up with lyrics on such diverse topics as boots, men (or lack of them), women and rain. A thoroughly enjoyable and successful hour.

All in agreement, Barbara & Barry were excellent. We'd love to see them back again; if laughter is the best medicine then this show left us all feeling mighty fine! Thank you to all community members who made the event a laugh out loud success.

Tour coordinated by Country Arts WA. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mission Impossible (If it wasn't for super-artists!!)

A workshop with Lizzy Robinson

Project: Hard Pressed WA's print artist Lizzy Robinson touring WA to create a network of print works from all over the state.
Mission: Collect designs from local Hopetoun & Ravensthorpe artists to be incorporated into a community wood cut that once printed, will be exhibited around the state.
Workshop: One-day wood cutting workshop held by a super artist for super artists.
Time line: Pull together the whole collaborative design in one morning, teach the wood cutting technique, and get a good start on completing the wood cutting mission.
Dangers: Beware the villain "cutting tools".

With a mission outline, that wasn't too top secret, super-artists from both Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun gathered at Windspray Arts headquarters. Serious representations were discussed, designs were shuffled and executive decisions were made. In hindsight, it was a little experimental to fill a room full of super-artists with a handful of sharp tools, under pressure to complete their mission.

All in good fun, and all in the name of art and community, the piece came together cut by cut. The collaborative piece was to become moving showcase of where the Ravensthorpe bush meets the sea of Hopetoun.

With more grueling wood cutting sessions at Windspray HQ, the 1200 x 900 piece was finished with unimaginable care by some very dedicated executive operatives. After almost 3 weeks of collaborative work it is clear that one must never abort an artistic mission. Nothing is impossible with the right attitude (and some sharp weapons).

The wood cut will now be heavily escorted to Geraldton to prepare for the next stage in this elaborate operation. Printing will be executed via an industrial roller on the Geraldton foreshore in September 2017.  RRAC will be deploying their espionage tactics to report, so stay tuned to this blog and the RRAC facebook page.

A special mention goes to First Quantum Minerals Ravensthorpe Nickel operations for providing Lizzy's accommodation.

Thank you to Windspray Arts, Maitland Street Hopetoun, for partnering with Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council and hosting this event.

Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council receives core funding from Country Arts WA, which receives funding from the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts and Lotterywest.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hard Pressed in Hopetoun

Do you live in the Ravensthorpe Shire? Do you want to be part of a community art project destined to tour across WA?
We are asking local artists to contribute a design to the project;

  • Twelve (30cm x 30cm) designs reflecting the Ravensthorpe/Hopetoun Community or Area are required before 29th May, for the “Hard Pressed Community Wood Block Project”.
  • The designs can have any Hopetoun Ravensthorpe related content, but would be best presented drawn in thick black ‘Artline Texta’ on white paper. The designs will be carved out in flat ply wood.
  • The designs that we receive will be incorporated into a community piece 1200 x 900cm and carved on the 29th May at Windspray Art Space, Hopetoun.
  • Your design may be used in whole or part, or resized to be incorporated into the final whole community print piece.
  • Even if you cannot attend the wood block carving workshop, you can submit a design to be incorporated.
  • No entry fee is required to submit your design.

This is a very exciting project and an excellent opportunity to showcase the Hopetoun Ravensthorpe region and its artists.

For more information or to register your interest contact Kirsty Duffy rraccoordinator@westnet.com.au or 0438945405.

A partnership project with;

Project supported by;

Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council receives core funding from Country Arts WA, which receives funding from the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts and Lotterywest.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Small Voices Louder

What does the World need to Hear?

From the mouths of babes we have all heard innocence, raw opinion, honesty, and the importance of that very moment right now in time. Children teach adults many things, but life is busy these days, are we really listening to them?
The Small Voices Louder project by Alex Desebrock and Maybe_Together in partnership with Performing Lines, offers the opportunity for grown ups to stop and listen. Because sometimes Children's voices are exactly what the world need to hear.
Small Voices Louder is a two part project. Firstly, in partnership with Hopetoun Primary School and Ravensthorpe District High School, children were invited on an excursion to the Hopetoun Hall. The Hall was filled with an installation of tents which individually contained a micro-world of sorts - an alien, a cloud, a fish, a crystal, a beating heart, a portal, the world and an egg. Each tent also presented a question, and the children's answers were audibly recorded. These recordings will be weaved into sound works.

Part two of the Small Voices Louder project will be a "sound experience" where the soundtracks will be broadcast to adult ears. This part of the project will be moving into production phase shortly. We absolutely cannot wait to hear the sound tracks, and we can't wait to share them so keep your ears to the ground! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates.

A special thank you goes to Lotterywest for funding the school bus which brought the children in from Ravensthorpe DHS to the Hopetoun Community Centre. Also much thanks to First Quantum Minerals Ravensthorpe Nickel Operations for their ongoing support with supplying accommodation for our artists.

Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council receives core funding from Country Arts WA, which receives funding from the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts and Lotterywest.