2014 marks the second phase of this specially tailored mentorship program for Eric Avery and Henrietta Baird, two Sydney-based artists, at the beginning of their choreographic careers. The program seeks to provide opportunities for them to develop choreographic skills through workshops, and to develop their own contemporary dance work in connection to their communities and through mentored residencies.
Henrietta’s project involved travelling to Wujal Wujal in far North Queensland, where she researched native plants within culture. This project has great significance for Henrietta: “It is important to go back to your cultural roots and document as much as possible as you don’t know when your elder generation are going to leave you. They are the ones with the cultural knowledge, which needs to be passed on to the next generation.” From this journey she hopes to generate a new ‘natural dance’ vocabulary. Henrietta will work with mentor Marilyn Miller throughout January 2014 to explore how movements made through storytelling can be reflected into contemporary dance performance, with the aim to eventually make a full length dance work.
Henrietta Baird will also undertake a Research Room Residency from 27 January to 16 February.
Henrietta Baird is from North Queensland and is a diploma graduate of NAISDA Dance College. Recently, together with Raghav Handa, Henrietta has been working on a piece for the Next Wave festival in Melbourne early next year.
Marilyn Miller has worked in numerous and varied capacities in the arts ranging from dancer, actor, choreographer, artistic director, arts administrator, mentor, consultant and festival director. She embarked on this journey as a 5 year old in Cairns of Kukuyalanji/Wanyi heritage.
Marilyn Miller. Photo: Mick Richards