WHAT if you were the last person on earth and then suddenly you came in contact with another?
What if you heard a heart beat for the first time?
Dancer and choreographer Jesse Martin examines these questions in one of six works Ochre Contemporary Dance Company is presenting in DNA – Simply Human.
“I think it’s fascinating that we all got a simple tagline ‘DNA-Simply Human, what does it mean to be human?’ and everyone came up with different ways to deliver the same message,” Martin said.
“It’s a big, diverse range of pieces.”
The 25-year-old joined Ochre at the start of 2014 after growing up in Ballina, south of Byron Bay, and studying at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts in Brisbane.
Martin said he was drawn to the indigenous and non-indigenous Nedlands-based company for its reputation to tell great narratives as opposed to abstract contemporary dance.
His own choreographic skills were put to the test last year for piece Ghost Gum during the Articulating Landscapes II season, describing the daunting experience as “like pulling each individual strand of hair out daily”.
“I had no time management skills whatsoever last time,” he said.
“I think I self-doubted a little bit, but then audiences took Ghost Gum quite well and it boosted me, not in an egotistical way, but more in a way that it reassured me that I do have something to say.
“I thought ‘Sweet, maybe I can do this as a career once I break my body in five years and have to stop dancing’.”
Martin’s 10-minute creation, set to a Hans Zimmer soundtrack of music from films Inception and Interstellar, is among other pieces choreographed by Penny Mullen, Gareth Belling, Matthew Tupper, Floeur Alder and Israeli guest artist Oded Ronen.
Martin will dance in his work, along with those by Mullen and Ronen.
“Oded was in Australia working in Sydney at the time and came over to create a piece for us,” Martin said.
“It was amazing to have an overseas choreographer, especially someone from the Middle East and someone who lives a completely different life to us while examining humanity.
“We had a lot of discussions about the difference of what he goes through day to day compared to what we go through in Australia.
“It was a learning curve in the studio, as well as creating some beautiful dance.”
What: DNA – Simply Human
Where: Dolphin Theatre, UWA
When: July 2 to 10