Australia

Restless and the fight to continue promoting inclusivity through dance

The Restless Dance Theater has changed its attitude and diversified Australia’s artistic landscape for decades, but significant funding cuts mean more help than ever before. ..

Since its founding in the early 90’s, Restless has been one of the leading dance theater companies in the country, not only in art but also in inclusiveness, set in a space for artists who live with or without disabilities.

At the heart of the company is its mission to revitalize the national scene. As the catchphrase says, devise an “unexpectedly real” performance.

Restless performance is a powerful experience that creates admiration, surprise and awe.

CityMag The cast and crew are enthusiastically rehearsing for the upcoming Adelaide Festival show, and are invited to do just that in the Restless’Gillies Street studio space. Rattling..

The room has an unmistakable passion and an electrical atmosphere.

The privilege of seeing dancers with disabilities perform is sadly rare, especially if they are given the main spotlight.

Artistic director Michelle Ryan says Restless is trying to change the story and provide “taste” to the industry.

“Most dance theater companies focus on physical perfection, but Restless sees difference and individualism as its strengths and celebrates diversity,” she says. “We aim to challenge the perception of who the artist is and what people with disabilities can do.

“Our approach is very supportive and task-based. Dancers can provide their ideas and gain insight into their worldview. [By extension,] Give ownership to what the dancer is creating. “

This kind of expression on stage is important for the ability to bring visibility to people who are often considered different.

“I think a lot of people underestimate people with disabilities,” says Michelle.

“There is an assumption that we do not have sufficient skills in a particular area, so I think it is always rewarding to exceed people’s expectations.

“I always say that you should expect excellence and not be surprised at it. There is a lot of talent there. You have to find it.”

Given their excellence in the dance theater scene, the Restless team was shocked last year to discover that it had been funded by the Australian Council for multiple years. Significantly cut..

Michelle says she felt like a mistake at first, given that she was the latest recipient Prestigious Dance Awards of the Council..

“The news is absolutely devastating and sends a lot of mixed signals. At first it took me a while to mourn, but then I had to find a way to build myself up and move forward.” Says Michelle.

“We haven’t found the exact path yet, but we continue to have hope for what the future will bring us.”

The company has since Ambitious crowdfunding project To help keep them floating for the next few years. It’s gaining momentum, but we need more.

“We will soon be in a really unstable situation,” says Michelle. “Unfortunately, we may not be able to achieve as much as we want.”

Crowdfunding is becoming more and more popular in the arts industry, allowing artists to fund projects in whole or in part with funds found outside of local, state, and federal grants. ..

From a major power in the industry Like the musician Amanda Palmer To Local watch brand RotaThe funding model allowed people and businesses to continue their work by pouring out financial support from an avid fan base.

Devoting to crowdfunding was a valuable learning experience for Michelle.

“In a way, this process has taught us the value of reaching out,” says Michelle. “And in general, people are willing to provide their support-especially when they know it will make a difference.”

Michelle hopes Rattling Encourage Adelaide Festival attendees to contribute to the restless crowdfunding plea.

Set in Kingpin Norwood’s bowling alley, the show is said to provide playful insights into the dignity of risk and the art of failure.

“When I started devising the show, I thought about how people with disabilities would often suffocate with the unjustified” help “of others. These efforts may come from a good place, but they can curb growth and independence, “says Michelle.

“”[This is particularly the case] When it comes to bowling … I think there is a prejudice that if you live with a disability you will automatically need additional help … people need a lane bumper or a device to roll the ball straight. I think I need to use one of them.

“But allowing someone to get some gutterballs can be a growing experience … Failure is a discovery in itself, an advantage that would otherwise have been overlooked. I believe in providing.

“I had to learn this myself as a young dancer. I was the type of person who had never tried anything outside my comfort zone … but started to take risks and failed Looking at the potential of the dancer as a growing experience, my view has changed. “

As a site-specific performance Rattling Reflects the company’s 2017 hits Intimate space And its 2020 features See through the darkness, Announced at the hotel and art gallery respectively.

The show aims to capture the essence of a 10-pin bowling experience, including the smell of shoe polish and popcorn, the sound of heavy balls rolling towards the floorboards of a wooden alley, and the adrenaline rush of strikes.

“I love site-specific works,” says Michelle. “The main reason is that it gives the dancers the opportunity to take them out of the traditional realm of the theater stage, which also makes it possible to bring credibility to the story we are telling. . “

Make a restless plan following the Adelaide Festival season Rattling On an interstate highway tour. We will also devise collaborative works with the Patch Theater Company and digital performances for the Dream Big Festival.

Despite the economic recession, Restless is optimistic about the future and Michelle wants to continue to promote dancers with disabilities.

“Our path may be weakening, but we have a lot on the card, and we’re excited to show everyone what we’ve planned,” says Michelle.

“If we can go beyond the current situation, I think we can be higher than anything else.”

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