Local and international dance practitioners are descending on Sydney's Carriageworks to present an extensive and dynamic program designed to expand engagement with choreography in Australia.

The 2020 Keir Choreographic Award (KCA) public program, led by an array of national and international KCA jury members, panelists, guests and industry leaders, runs concurrently with the performance season in Sydney from 9 – 14 March and includes panel discussions, workshops and free morning classes. 

The extensive KCA program aims to connect leading international practitioners and theorists on the jury for the award with Australian artists and audiences, providing a vital context for related and relevant discourse, reflection and debate. Presented at Carriageworks, choreographer and dancer Brooke Stamp and artist Sarah Rodigari are Guest Curators for the public program in Sydney.

The Keir Choreographic Award itself is a national biennial award dedicated to commissioning original works and promoting innovative, experimental and cross-artform practices in contemporary dance. The eight artists and collectives selected for the 2020 Keir Choreographic Award are: Alison Currie & David Cross, Angela Goh, Riana Head-Toussaint, Amrita Hepi, Jo Lloyd, Zachary Lopez, Lewis Major and The Farm.

The eight commissioned works will be presented at Dancehouse, Melbourne, 3-7 March 2020. Four of the works will be selected by jury to be performed at Carriageworks 12-14 March 2020. The jury will announce the recipient of the $50,000 Keir Choreographic Award and the $10,000 Audience Award on 14 March.

The public program includes performances, panel discussions and workshops with KCA jury members and industry-leaders such as acclaimed Brussels-based choreographer Mette Edvardsen. Many of Mette Edvardsen’s recent works have been developed using language as material, looking into the relationship between writing and speaking, between language and voice.  The workshop ‘Choreography as Writing’ will explore choreographic and writing practice, drawing from her recent catalogue of works.

Penelope Sleeps, Mette Edvardsen’s opera with composer and performer Matteo Fargion will enjoy its Australian premiere at Carriageworks. Edvardsen’s latest work deconstructs the myth of the Odyssey by reconsidering the long years separating Penelope from the return of Ulysses. Here opera is a departure point, stripped of its traditional narrative devices and grand gestures. Dangling on a border somewhere between opera and dreams, Penelope Sleeps makes and unmakes the configurations expected between women, others and the world.
Image: 2019 KFDA Mette Edvardsen & Matteo Fargion
@ Werner Strouven RHoK

Sydney based choreographer and performer Lizzie Thompson will host an in conversation with Mette Edvardsen to launch the publication of Time Has Fallen Asleep In The Afternoon Sunshine – a book on reading, writing, memory and forgetting in a library of living books.

‘Touch of the Other’ is a workshop with a public outcome led by renowned Tokyo-based choreographer and dancer Takao Kawaguchi. During the 1960s, controversial sociologist Laud Humphreys studied in meticulous detail the codes and choreographies of male-male sex in public restrooms. ‘Touch of the Other’ investigates the aesthetics, erotics, and politics of these places, known to their users as "tearooms".

Director of Dance and Arts Programs at the Maison Van Cleef et Arpels, Paris Serge Laurent will give a short presentation on his history of curatorial practice within performing arts at institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Following this, a broader discussion about curatorial practices for dance and museums will take place with Dr Erin Brannigan, Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of New South Wales, Hannah Mathews, Senior Curator at Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne--based choreographer and dancer Shelley Lasica and Louise Lawson, Time-based Media Conservation Manager at Tate Modern.

A writing workshop is also programmed into the packed schedule, held by Claudia La Rocco, critic and reporter for The New York Times from 2001-2015 and currently Editorial Director of Open Space, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s live and online commissioning platform. The workshop ‘Creative Differences’ addresses critical writing, creative writing, and performance texts asking “are they really are such different creatures?”

To close the program Claudia La Rocco will present a collaboration with dancer and choreographer Lee Serle: ‘this is what we did, this is what we are doing’. This conversation between languages, pasts, and presents will explore ideas of co-existence, cycling through strange and intimate bodies and questions of authorship.

For further details and bookings (many sessions are free, but require registration) visit the Carriageworks website: https://carriageworks.com.au/events/keir-choreographic-award-2020-public-program/

The 2020 Keir Choreographic Award and program is presented by Carriageworks, Dancehouse, Keir Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts.