Feeling full. Full of gratitude.

Some days I barely know which to-do list to tackle first. Recently someone posted an Instagram update saying they were ‘behind on everything’ and I completely know what that feels like. Somehow my ‘behind’ never translates to ‘disastrously too late’ and so I’m going to notch that up to a good sign that I’m keeping my head just above the water line!

Life is full. And for that I feel extremely grateful.

Here’s an update on what has been filling my cup of late:

  1. We All Dance (QPAC, Royal Ballet and Micah Projects)

A ten week workshop series facilitating dance and movement sessions for Micah Projects clients. This community access and participation project, delivered by Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) to coincide with the Royal Ballet’s visit to Brisbane. Seven groups in Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich worked towards a big community performance event held at QPAC on 2nd July 2017. Just quietly, ‘big’ doesn’t begin to describe the size and scale of the project, it was EPIC! (To use a phrase my 8 yr old likes to throw about!)

This project challenged me in many new and wonderful ways. The rewards of which I am still processing and feeling immense gratitude for. I feel like it has helped me to continue to develop my group facilitation skills within a community development project, and it proved once again that dance and movement holds great power to connect, engage and empower.

The trust we built within the group, the challenges and fears we conquered (individually and collectively) and the final public performance – so many great triumphs for all involved. And the biggest ‘take away/s’ from the We All Dance project? A tangible reminder of the profound impact human can bring to everyone’s lives.

There’s no way I can talk about this project without singing the praises of the inspiring and dedicated support staff that work within Micah projects. So much respect for the quiet heroes that work within the wonderful community organisation – Micah Projects.

2. The Beauty Index (Denmark, WA)

An inspiring week-long intensive in Denmark (WA not Europe) for Annette Carmichael’s community dance project, The Beauty Index. The cast is made up of 17 Men from the local region of the Great Southern. Amazing right? Yes indeed! And what a fabulous bunch of lads – from farmers to chefs to nurses and cabinet makers – and everything in between. More about this project later, but for now here are some images to inspire you.

So grateful for the warm and welcoming community that greet me with open arms when I visit. Being involved in local artist (*cough* celebrity) Annette Carmichael goes along way of course! But it is lovely to be greeted with smiles and warm embraces in the supermarket and/or in one of the many yoga classes all the same. 2017 marks the third year I have been visiting Denmark (WA not Europe!) to work on one of Annette’s projects. What a ‘cup filler’ and ‘soul lifter’ it is too!

Time and time again, all around me, I experience and observe the palpable and tangible affects that community projects have on all involved – communities, participants and facilitators alike. This thing we do … community arts and cultural development … it is pretty special alright.

Gratitude.

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Hey there 2017…

Last year was really focused on making new connections, saying ‘yes’ to anything that popped up and spending time getting amongst as many things as possible. And I’m happy to say that there have been many wonderful opportunities that have emerged from that time last year spent in active observation.

The Beauty Index: Men

Annette Carmichael in Denmark (WA – not Europe!) continues to work tirelessly in the lead up to her 2017 project and I am so thrilled to continue working with her as her Producer.IMG_0127

There is nothing like the gift of sitting within a project that has such strong roots in the community and this one is woven deep. The connections and conversations are so authentic, the interest and energy palpable, and that in itself is infectious in the best of ways. Look out for more on this project as it unfolds!

No Difference

Supported by The Arts Centre Gold Coast, No Difference is a disability-inclusive community dance project lead by Philip Channells (Dance Integrated Australia), Gavin Webber (The Farm) and Marisa Burgess (Gold Coast artist and ex-Moulin Rouge). In February 2017, we came together for a week-long creative development period to play with ideas and concepts and to deepen our understanding of each other as individuals and as a collective group. At the heart of this project is acceptance and respect – to ourselves – and of each other.

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Kayah and Travers (Photo: Sam James)

There were many highlights to this week, but getting to work alongside some amazing individuals and talented artists never really feels like ‘work’. To find out more about some of the team – click on their names here: Lauren WatsonKayah GuentherTom HoganSam JamesPhilip Channells and Gavin Webber .

eMErgence

Now that the MetroArts 2017 program is LIVE (woohoo!) we can begin to start sending some good vibes out in the development of this ‘baby’.

Pref #1 (original to come) Credit: Jonathan Sinatra

Photo: Jonathan Sinatra

eMErgence is a series of movement based workshops aimed to develop a deeper understanding of how improvisations can provide a structure for reflections on our daily life. 

….and together with a group of diverse artists we will embark on some practice-led research over the second part of 2017. You, yes you(!), will have opportunities to come and experience these workshops with us – so stay tuned for more information.

It’s going to be a special one….

 

 

 

What’s up, Doc?

It’s been a great few months! I’m very happy to report that it’s been a pretty action packed few months with a wonderful mix of doing and dancing.

I’ve been busy working with Annette Carmichael (Denmark, WA) as her Producer on her next community dance project. We’ve been busy raising the resources (read: writing multiple grant applications) and planning the initial stages of The Beauty Index.

The Beauty Index, will be a collaboration with men from the Great Southern region to develop a site-specific dance performance that will investigate the experience of beauty within a world dominated by unpredictable violence and acts of terrorism.

The performance will investigate a series of questions: How does the creative power of humanity respond to terrorism? How do these world events affect regional Western Australia? What is the role of beauty and the arts in the face of random acts of terrorism?

(except from Annette’s project synopsis)

I’ve also ‘lurched’ into a tutoring position at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for the Bachelor of Creative Industries faculty. It’s for a first year foundation unit (read: compulsory unit) called ‘Making Connections’. The unit looks at creative enterprise and ideation theory and then asks students to apply that knowledge to develop a group project concept and pitch. Lend Lease has partnered with QUT for this uniimg_8953t and are inviting proposals from students  to be included in their plans for the Brisbane Showgrounds King Street redevelopment precinct.

A handful of students will be chosen to pitch directly to Lend Lease with a chance to secure some resources to roll out their project idea in early 2017.

What a cool first year project!!! It almost has me enrolling in the course to be part of that opportunity!

Lets just say that the re-entry into tertiary environment has been ….interesting. After all it has been some *cough* substantial period of time *cough* since I was a student myself *cough splutter cough*. Just quietly, it was long before the age of having individual laptops and tablets. I used to have to make a booking to use one of a few computers in the library.

Another highlight of the past few months is getting re-acquainted with my ‘moving self’. With an intention to keep a regular studio practice going in collaboration with a couple of artists I’ve met here in Brisbane, we have been meeting fortnightly (sometimes weekly, if I’m lucky enough) in the studio. A beautiful mix of improvising, writing, moving and reflecting. It’s been a very grounding time with some possibilities starting to emerge. It feels like a reawakening to channel the movement within and exploring the space (in)between mind and body.

Oh yeah – and look out for an artist profile that the lovely Nina Levy wrote for Dance Australia. It was part of a Careers Special she compiled for the magazine and you can read a bit more about all the juggling that happens in my neck of the woods.

You can find the Dance Australia article here.

 

 

 

2016 is well underway….

What a year this has been already! I can feel a great groundswell of energy forming…there have been many wonderful and exhilarating experiences and conversations so far and I feel really positive about what lies ahead.

I’ve been Dancing, I’ve been Mothering, I’ve been Producing, I’ve been Experiencing (life), I’ve been Yoga-ing. And what a great time. Something that has resonated with me lately is the benefit of investing in yourself. I think if you invest in yourself, you become a better Human. That is, you have better relationships, you make better decisions… maybe you will also make better ‘Art’? It all starts with YOU. You have all you need but you have to find the time and space to listen to what you have from within. In the busy lives we all lead – this is not always a priority and we can be at risk of losing that connection with ourselves.

Having the past few months to consider my art making, my process and what defines my practice has been so valuable. In and amongst domesticity, I have been considering what might lie ahead. I’m percolating ideas and I’m considering options. I’ve had the time and space to throw ideas around (sometimes just in my head, sometimes with my Hubby and sometimes with others. Woohoo!) and then I have let those ideas swirl around within me. There’s been no hurry to force them to do anything more than swirl around – bumping into each other, growing and morphing as they desire. How glorious!

Not until I’m ready (or when I remember) to, do I reflect on how the ideas are getting along. However, the time is drawing closer. The time where those lovely ideas will begin to transform into lovely actions.

Time and space. Two very big, beautiful, glorious luxuries. Luxuries worth carving out for yourself, might I add.

If you have ideas of your own that you want to begin to transform into action and you would like some help to do so – here’s how you can find me:

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Hello Queensland!!

In mid-2014, my little family and I made the trek across the country from BME (Broome) to BNE (Brisbane). Yep, towing our camper trailer and camping along the way for two blissful weeks.  It was so awesome to have the opportunity to see parts of the Northern Territory and Queensland as we set course for Brisbane … on a one-way journey.

What an adventure!

Ed + camper

It’s been lovely getting to know the city and we can proudly say we now have our own little ‘patch’ of Brisbane. Sounds pretty grown up and adult right? (Please don’t let that ‘adult talk’ fool you!)

As for work, I’ve taken a slight break while I focus on settling the boys into our new life here – but I’m heading tho Denmark (WA in the next couple of months to work with the amazing Annette Carmichael on her new project – The Creation of Now. Uber exciting.

I’ve also met some great artists in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and look forward to making and developing some more connections in the not too distant future. There’s so much going on here!

Please contact me if you would like to connect, have a cuppa or ‘chew the fat’…

Sandi

Because of You…. ALL.

It has been some months since the experience of Because of You… came to a close. However plenty is still replaying over in the mind.

Because of You… the cast and crew, we accomplished someting beautiful and life changing.

It was an amazing experience that far exceeded my own expectations – and could not have been a success without the most amazingly flexible, understanding, supportive and dedicated cast (both young and old).IMG_3207

Because of You… the audience, we realised we could engage across all generations.

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Then came the people who walked through the doors and experienced the giant robot and sunflowers and saw something that stirred them. Whether it was a 12 month old child wandering into the performance space to dance with us, or a Grandma, or even the 20  young daycare kids that had to kneel on their chairs to see the whole show. All remained engaged throughout. And at the end – you didn’t want to leave the space!

Because of You… the creatives, we have touched many people through the power of live performance.

IMG_3688smAnd the patient and amazing group of CREATIVES that supported my concept and helped me see it into something REAL. Thank you for asking all the right questions – and for finding the answers with me along the way. Most of all my mentor – Felicity Bott – who all along believed that it would be something beautiful and offered her knowledge and learnings so generously. And Annette Carmichael who never stopped listening and reminding me of the scale of the undertaking.

To my family – young Eddie and hubby Rob. You made your debut in contemporary dance!

Because of You…my family, I dreamt this in the first place.

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Here’s what the audience said:

AMAZINGLY courageous and ambitious. Well done.

It was incredible…the humour, the tenderness, the grittier moments. Great footage. I found it to be a very emotional experience. Well done. 

The parent child playfulness – loved it. Loved the innocence.

Wow that was such a gorgeous touching performance. Really gave me goosebumps…Fantastic! The Mulberry Tree children did not move once they were so engrossed with all.

15 minutes of this for every parent each day would result in a better world.

Performance photo credits: Eddie Tran @ ET Studio