Dance and art entwine with Co3 and AGWA partnership

Co3 artistic director Raewyn Hill. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d449638
Co3 artistic director Raewyn Hill. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d449638

HOW do you learn to express emotion when you have never seen what an emotion looks like?

Co3 artistic director Raewyn Hill aims to explore this and more during a two-year cross-arts partnership between WA’s newest contemporary dance company and Art Gallery of WA (AGWA).

Hill and her dancers will spend one week every month over the next two years creating a contemporary dance piece at AGWA in response to the gallery’s architectural spaces and artworks.

Visitors will have the opportunity to watch the creative process during the week with a final performance completing each work in development.

“A lot of my works start from a visual arts base, so it’s always been a real dream of mine to create in a gallery space,” Hill said.

“With Co3 being a new company, we’re always looking at ways to create; this suited that philosophy of meeting contemporary dance in unexpected places.

“I’m very passionate about breaking down the mystery for our audience of how we create work and wanted to experiment with being really transparent about our process.”

The partnership developed over several conversations with AGWA director Stefano Carboni, and launch work, Reason for Being, will be developed this week in the gallery’s concourse as part of the 2016 Perth International Arts Festival.

“Because this is the first one, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge the space created by Polish architect Charles Sierakowski,” Hill said.

“He was inspired by the Bauhaus philosophy of form follows function and wanted to create a space with resting spaces between the galleries to stop visitors experiencing gallery fatigue.

“So I wanted to start playing around with the idea of form follows function in terms of the structure of the work.”

Hill then took inspiration from the experience of helping a vision-impaired man at a train station, and her five-year-old niece Sadie with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, who does not speak but communicates through sound and her own movement language.

“If you are blind from birth and have never seen anger or struggle or joy in the way sighted people see it, how do you articulate it?” Hill said.

“I have three vision-impaired people coming to the gallery during the week to work with the six dancers and myself to explore that question.

“Working out in the open where everyone can watch instead of a closed studio will be a pretty revealing process; it’s not like you find magic every minute of the day.

“There’s a real process in exploring and unravelling an idea to get to the core of it.”

Work in development is 10am-4pm (break 12.30-1.30pm) February 17 to 20, final rehearsal 10am-1pm, February 21 and performance and Q and A, 3pm, February 21.


What: Co3 – Reason for Being

Where: Art Gallery of WA

When: February 17 to 21

Entry: Free