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Jane McKernan, Jasmin Sheppard, Matthew Doyle, Rhiannon Newton, and Yolande Brown

Dancing the Drill 2020

2020 marks the 15th Anniversary of Critical Path as an organisation dedicated to providing research and development opportunities for the independent choreographic sector.

To celebrate this and to kick off March Dance we will Dance the Drill!

Dancing the Drill will convene around a weekend of activities in our home base, The Drill in Rushcutters Bay, will be given over to dance. The activities taking place will be an extension of our ongoing research and development work and a very different way for the public to engage with dance artists and their process.

You are invited to join open studios, conversations and sharing presentations.

Dancing the Drill is one of Critical Path’s contributions to March Dance, a month-long celebration of independent dance in Sydney, and has been made possible through the generous support of Woollahra Municipal Council Cultural Grant, Create NSW and Australia Council for the Arts.


Friday, 28 February

11:00am – 12:00pm
A window to Rhiannon Newton’s Process – Open Studio

2:00pm – 4:00pm
Jane McKernan – Open Studio

5:00pm – 7:00pm
Yolande Brown leads an Acknowledgement of Country and in conversation with Jasmin Sheppard (RSVP by Thursday 27th February)

Saturday, 29 February

10:00am – 11:30am
Welcome to Country, Breakfast, Matthew Doyle in conversation with Claire Hicks (RSVP by Thursday 27th February)

11:00am – 12:00pm
A window to Rhiannon Newton’s Process – Open Studio

2:00pm – 4:00pm
Jane McKernan Women’s Work Artist – Open Studio

Sunday, 1 March

2:30pm – 3:45pm
Sharing of Works In Progress, followed by Q&A – Rhiannon and Jane

Launch of March Dance (RSVP

* Please contact Critical Path directly to discuss access needs – or 02 9362 4023


Rhiannon Newton

For Dancing the Drill, Rhiannon shares some of the movement and writing material she is currently developing as a part of her Critical Responsive Residency. She will open up processes particularly related to her Long Sentences project. Involving text, memory, touch, scale, one-on-one formats and embodiment, the project reflects on the performative nature of the verb ‘to sentence’ to consider how actions in the present impact larger timescales. The project proposes ‘long sentences’ as useful formats for attending to complexity and thinking in longer durations.

Jane McKernan

Sydney based choreographer and member of The Fondue Set, Jane McKernan will investigate how to continue as a mid-career middle-aged dance artist in Sydney after living in the UK for 4 years. Her research has several strands, the first being research into coming back to the body as the site of her dance practice, and back to artistic practice as her primary focus, asking, ‘What is my dancing body now?’. Secondly, she will have conversations with other mid-career middle-aged dance artists around the subject of existence and continuation. Lastly, she will use The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett as a philosophic underpinning, and as a provocation towards moving and writing about the notion of existence, identity and uncertain futures.


Matthew Doyle

Matthew is a descendant of the Muruwari nation, born and raised in Sydney. He is a dancer, teacher, musician, songman and cultural consultant. He has performed all over the world with Musicians and Dancers and currently works in arts in education.

Rhiannon Newton

Rhiannon is an Australian dancer and choreographer. Her work brings together practices of embodiment, memory, sensation and repetition to untangle how bodies shape and are shaped by the world. Rhiannon’s works have been presented in various Australian and international festival, exhibition and performance contexts, including Dance Massive, Dancehouse, First Draft, Brisbane Festival, Under The Radar, Tanzhaus Zurich (Switzerland), Trois C-L (Luxembourg), Nagib On Stage (Slovenia) and Judson Church (USA). She has developed her practice in residencies throughout Europe, South-East Asia and North America and been a part of international exchange projects involving Croatia, Singapore and Switzerland. Rhiannon also works as a performer and collaborator with artists such as Mette Edvardsen, Martin Del Amo, Amrita Hepi, and Rosalind Crisp; caretakes the artist-run-space ReadyMade Works in Sydney; and facilitates platforms such as Talking Bodies and First Run Sydney.

Jane McKernan

Jane McKernan is a choreographer and performer. She is a member of the collaborative dance trio The Fondue Set, with whom she has co-created six evening length theatre works, including the Green Room Award winning, No Success Like Failure (2008). Her own dance work includes Mass Movement (2014), commissioned for the Keir Choreographic Award and Audience Choice winner; Opening and Closing Ceremony (2012), and Teacher Training (2019), performed at The Riley Theatre, Leeds. She has just returned from 4 years in the UK, where she was a lecturer at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, teaching improvisation and choreography.

Yolande Brown

Brisbane-born, Yolande is a descendant of the Bidjara Clan Central Queensland, and is also of Celtic/French extraction. Reconnecting with her traditional homeland and people and digging her feet into Bidjara earth has been pivotal in her journey to learn more about her ancestry and the rich Indigenous cultures within our country. A Bangarra dancer from 1999-2015, her career highlights are vast and varied, including dancing on Country and forging deep friendships with the Pitjantjatjara and Yolngu people, as well as sharing the dance floor with peers from the Australian Ballet with Rites, Amalgamate and Waramuk. In 2008, Yolande contributed to the development of the role of Lady Jane Franklin in Bangarra’s MathinnaYolande was honoured to receive the Deadly Award for Best Dancer in 2010In 2015, she played ‘Earth Spirit’ in Stephen Page’s feature film, Spear. This was a performance highlight for Yolande as she was pregnant with her son during the filming. Imprint was the first work she created for Bangarra as a part of Dance Clan 3 – Corroboree Festival 2013. In 2018, Yolande co-choreographed the critically acclaimed work Dark Emu. Inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s book of the same name, it became the most successful production in the history of Bangarra. In 2019, Yolande was excited to choreograph Nowhere in collaboration with Caitlin Comerford for Stompin’. Yolande started 2020 Associate Directing the production Black Cockatoo for Sydney Festival 2020 with Director Wesley Enoch.

Jasmin Sheppard

Jasmin is a contemporary dancer, choreographer and director, a Tagalaka Aboriginal woman with Irish, Chinese and Hungarian ancestry. Jasmin spent 12 years with Bangarra Dance Theatre, performing numerous lead roles such as ‘Patyegarang’ in which critics described her performance as “powerfully engaging, fluent dexterity” (Sydney Morning Herald). She choreographed one major work for the company, ‘MACQ’, on the 1816 Appin Massacres under Governor Macquarie which toured Australian capital cities, regional Australia and Germany. In 2012 Jasmin was nominated for an Australian Dance award for ‘Best Female Contemporary Dancer’, and her work ‘MACQ’ was nominated for a Helpmann Award for best dance work as a part of ‘OUR Land People Stories’ in 2017, and in 2018 received a Helpmann for best regional touring program. Other works include: ‘No Remittance’ for Legs on the Wall and ‘Choice Cut’ for Yirramboi festival, which was presented at Toronto’s Fall For Dance North Festival, 2019. Jasmin will premier her first full length work “The Complication of Lyrebirds” in 2020 at Campbelltown Arts Centre. This work was also supported by The Australia Council for the arts in conjunction with CAC and Native Earth Theatre Company, Toronto. In 2020 Jasmin will create works for: NAISDA Dance College, Sydney Dance Company’s PPY program, and Catapult Dance. Her work is passionate, political and has been described as “surreal and highly evocative” (The Australian).


Image Credits: The Drill Hall by Heidrun Löhr. Rhiannon Newton by Allison Laird. Jane McKernan by Heidrun Löhr. Yolande Brown by Jhuny Borja. Matthew Doyle by Karri Doyle. Jasmin Sheppard by Pati Solomon Tyrell.

Date & Location

Friday 28 February 2020, 12pm - Sunday 1 March 2020, 4pm

The Drill