Spaces for Street Dance REPORT

The Spaces for Street Dance research and feasibility study was a year-long research on the diverse styles and cultures of Sydney’s street dance community, led by Dr Rachael Gunn (Macquarie University) and Feras Shaheen, in partnership with Critical Path and supported by City of Sydney.

The project culminated with the Report which provides important insight into the demographics and make-up of Sydney’s diverse street dance community. It foregrounds the voices of dancers in sharing their experiences of dancing in public space, revealing not only the positive impact on community-building, wellbeing, and artistic development, but also issues with abuse and harassment.

The overarching goal of the project is to develop a deeper understanding of street dance community practices, provide a way forward for improved use of city spaces, develop stronger relationships between arts and business, and highlight the valuable contribution of street dance to the cultural fabric of the City of Sydney.

The research has included a survey, focus group, and interviews, and has drawn on the expertise of a Knowledge Circle (Poppin Jack, Red Lady Bruiser, Azzam Mohamed, Eliam Royalness, Amelia Duong, Sammy the Free).

DOWNLOAD the Report as a single spread PDF 

DOWNLOAD the Report as a double spread PDF 

Or, see it as an Issuu file.



IMAGE CREDIT: Johnny Chaing Photography

Critical Path / Sharp Short Dance Space Grant

Critical Path / Sharp Short Dance Space Grant

Carmen Yih is the recipient of Critical Path / Sharp Short Dance Space Grant and will spend three days in the Drill Hall in January 2024 developing a new street-dance theatre work ‘M_N’ that tackles the impact of socio-cultural notions of masculinity on youth mental health.

I am honoured to be the recipient of Critical Path’s Space Grant in partnership with FORM Dance Projects’ Sharp Short Dance festival. As an emerging artist, the path to establishing a sustainable practice and artistic career is steeped in uncertainty, especially as a second-generation Chinese immigrant where pursuing a creative career remains relatively stigmatised. Critical Path’s support at this pivotal early stage of my career gives me the confidence and resources to experiment with my artistic practice, particularly in the realms of new media art and street dance theatre.

For Sharp Short Dance 2023, I directed a short film ‘Empty Your Plate’. ‘Empty Your Plate’ serves as an ode to the intimate connections fostered through shared meals and shared movement. In this film, I wanted to capture the sense of belonging, freedom and joy that exists within street dance cyphers. Moving to a new state with no existing connections, I found real friendship and support within the street dance community. I remain constantly inspired by the generosity and unapologetically authentic nature of the dancers in these communities. The film only had one purpose – to distil this sense of comfort within the limits of a 2:59 video.

I am planning to use my 3 days at Critical Path to develop the initial movement and sound scores for my upcoming street-dance theatre work M_N. This work draws from the lived experiences of two young men who have found belonging within street dance communities, to examine the complexities of socio-cultural notions of masculinity. Working with composers MQ and April Guest, we will use MAX/MSP, wearable gyroscopes and oral history recordings to create a sound score that draws directly from the dancer’s movement and lived experiences. Critical Path’s Space Grant comes at a critical time in my development as a choreographic artist and I am beyond excited to be researching and developing at the Drill Hall.

– Carmen Yih, dance-artist 

REFLECTION: Decolonising Time (Geraldine Balcazar, Stella Chen, Ira Ferris)

REFLECTION: Decolonising Time (Geraldine Balcazar, Stella Chen, Ira Ferris)

2023 Regional Research Fellow, Geraldine Balcazar collaborated with artists Ira Ferris and Stella Chen on a year long (and extending) research project: ‘Decolonising Time – Discovering a new relationship with time’ .

Shaping a new choreographic practice that prioritises process over outcome, they were asking; what shifts in the individual and social body could occur if we slowed down – as an innovative approach to choreographic practice?

Their dramaturgical thinking is a blueprint for the new working methodologies within dance and body-based practices. Methodologies that nurture and liberate the creative process, by finding tender ways of making work.

“We were led by deep listening of what present time asked of us in and out of the studio.” (Geraldine Balcazar)

Geraldine Balcazar’s visual diary of the research process.

“Walking on Bundjalung Country has informed the work and given me the opportunity to connect back with culture while sitting and deeply listening to country alone, with family and friends. I acknowledge the Bundjalung people, their knowledge and culture held on this land – for holding and informing the work and for taking me back to memories of my childhood growing up in my motherland Chile. I extend my deepest gratitude to my ancestors, the extensive land and cold ocean of Chile and my parents for paving the path to my arriving and being present in Australia.”

“Throughout this year’s Critical Path Regional Fellowship, I have been researching (through conversations) and experiencing (while walking on Bundjalung Country), a new relationship with time since becoming a mother during the pandemic- while living in a state border town.Stella Chen, Ira Ferris, our tiny humans and I have been collaborating on decolonising ways of working with time and discovering new choreographic methodologies. The work has supported us to be with time – not taking away or stealing from it. Throughout the year we created trusting relationships as we engaged through personal stories and radically slowed down attending to systems of care.”
– Geraldine Balcazar



Our invisible bodily labour made us a cooperative symbiotic host to other kins (our more than mammal kins). This is our natural environment, a space where it couldn’t be reduced to notes and it isn’t transactional, and the needs must be made all the time in order to maintain in a regulated state. This is a sacred space; pure and cannot be tamed.” – Stella Chen

In response to the “quantification of time in the relative measurement of money,” Stella Chen wrote a MANIFESTO



“To take a breath is to take a break. To break. Break a pattern, a condition, a conviction. Systems crumble under the slower time. Transformation requires softness. Change in gravity.” – Ira Ferris

Ira Ferris’ atmospheric reflection DEEP RHYTHM OF THE SEA explores the pressure of responsibilities and how our relationship to time either weakens or strengthens our ability to respond. (as a PDF)

Our discussions on time were often discussions on gentleness. Time before colonialism, industrialism, capitalism. Nature time. Nurture time. More attuned and sentient time. Responsive rather than responsible time.” – Ira Ferris

At the conclusion of the residency, Geraldine hosted a community gathering “TIME PORTAL” on Bundjalung Country.

Geraldine, Ira, and Stella continue exploring TIME through a choreographic project that links to deep diving.

Image #1 and Video #1: By Stella Chen
Image #2: By Geraldine Balcazar
Image #3 and Video #2: By Ira Ferris
Image #4: By Geraldine Balcazar



Giving and getting attention – invisible offerings.

There is performance practice as a sensing feeling action. I craft ideas, concepts, imaginings and memories of performance to reflect on and intuit my experiences with more precise intention based on movement, sound and touch. Performing often as habitual regular ontogenetic activity – somatic movement education, creativity and expression of my life as a mother, lover, dancer, director – practising performance.

In February, travelling from Angourie / Yaygirr wadyarr to meet Ria travelling from Naarm. to be in residence together at the Critical Path Drill Hall in the place of Gadigal people on Dharug Nura, was exciting and wonderful. We worked in the heat and summer storms, feeling the wisdom presence of remaining rainforest trees and palms on the foreshore reserve of the majestic Harbour.

Supporting my confidence and courage with resources of the fellowship invitation to return to the beauty / terror of the place of first settlement – iconic Sydney Opera House and Bridge – for reconnection with peers and mentors whilst reflecting on my formative years studying at NHSPA (Newtown High School of the Performing ARTS). Enlivening to host Rachel, Matt, Justin, Sam and Harley in our creative territory of play and discovery. These connections continued in July at Carriageworks for the Marrugeku Choreographic Lab – Dance & Cultural Dramaturgies in Contested Land.

Asking difficult questions of ourselves and the world. Ria and I attended to our long-time collaborative materials – micro macro nature, embodiment, vocal resonance, interlocking rhythms, craft animism, masking, trance, shadow puppets and collaboration with ancestors. Things took shape and blossomed. We sweated, got dizzy and found new mud and ground water songs.

– Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal, November 2023 


Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal has been awarded 2023 Australia-Asia Research Fellowship, supported by Create NSW.

As part of this Fellowship, she was collaborating with artists Ria Soemardjo, Justin Shoulder, Mathew Stegh and dramaturg Rachel Swain, focusing on water ecologies and experimenting with intimate audience-performer relationships.  Embodying the fluid evolution of lifeforms from ocean to land, human embryology, infant developmental movement and archetypes of traditional ecological wisdom. Tracking disasters that destroy communities and familiar environments. And mapping transient moving shelters – shelters rebuilding social interaction and shelters transforming over what remains.

Here you can watch the video (research documentation) filmed at the end of their 10 days fellowship residency at the Drill Hall on Gadigal land (Sydney). The artists, working with dramaturg Rachael Swain, continue researching their shared Javanese cultural heritage and First Nations ecological wisdom – drawing connections with sacred mythology, sea level rise, groundwater contamination, mud volcanoes and escalating flood fire disasters forcing migration, adaptation and innate resilience.

Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal is a choreographer working in performance and extending contemporary dance language through intercultural practice. Her imaginative and highly theatrical work has been made and shared nationally and internationally with a unique dance language forged in classical ballet, jazz, modern, Javanese court arts, Bali temple ritual, BMC eco-somatic improvisation and creative collaboration with First Nations Australian dance artists, most recently Blakdance and Marrugeku.

With vocalist, musician, textiles artist and long-time collaborator, Ria Soemardjo, Jade creates powerful contemporary performance rituals, drawing on their shared Javanese /  Australian ancestry, interweaving dance, live music and image. Their most recent iteration, Ngayomi (shelter), is a journey between audience and two performers, set in a dystopian future blasted by an apocalyptic mud volcano, in a newly regenerating landscape.

A powerful response to the devastatingly urgent ecological crisis, this work evokes a ceremony for the losses and horror of the past, grounded in personal (human embryology of body fluid systems, evolution from water to earth) and in communal hope for the future. In Javanese language Ngayomi means to protect and shelter.

The choreographic framework is influenced by the rich and intricate symbolism of the Javanese Wayang Kulit shadow theatre, which is a complex Javanese art form that integrates ritual, philosophy, comedy, and social commentary to tell stories of Archetypal characters and beloved Javanese clown figures through puppetry and music.

Dance and live music are skilfully integrated, challenging conventional separations of dancer and musician roles.  An eclectic array of bespoke musical instruments – at times distorted and amplified through water vessels, and simple resonators such as hand drums – are held by the soulful mesmerising soundscape featuring both Ria and Jade’s vocals.

The performers ‘host characters’ inspired by Archetypes of traditional ecological wisdom of Javanese Jamu Baku Aunties – Jawa (Java, Javanese) and Ngramu (mixing, gathering). The two Jamu street sellers dispense herbal concoctions and advice, carrying their Baku (basket) of ingredients on their backs – gently and playfully guide audiences into a direct encounter with small sculptural objects and props.

Audiences become implicated in the intimate ritual – an unexpected flipping of guest/host distinctions. Recruiting the audience into the ritual /storytelling world without them knowing turns the tables – they take charge of it. Switching roles – flipping the expected. Responding to the audience shows the unique needs of each group. Guiding people into a relationship of care and a world of resourcefulness.

Image #1: Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal and Ria Soemardjo during Marrugeku Lab 2023. Photo by Luke Currie-Richardson.

Image #2: Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal during the Drill Hall residency 2023. Photo by Samuel James.

Image #3: Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal during Marrugeku Lab 2023. Photo by Luke Currie-Richardson.



Meet our artists through their playlists. 

December 2023 playlist is by our Board member, Artist Representative – Azzam Mohamed.

Azzam, also known as Shazam, is a dancer, performer, and educator from Sudan. Azzam’s dance practice encompasses a range of styles, from traditional cultural dance through to hip hop styles, he is able to bring these forms together to create a breathtaking original dance fusion that echoes his history and at the same time showcases his incredible ability as a dancer.

This January 2024, Azzam is curating a high-energy hip-hop block party Sculptured Riddims: Street Fusion, part of 2024 Sydney Festival. In this art meets music and dance immersive experience, dance artists will share their creative responses to the twisting neon installation Hi-Vis, with each night showcasing different communities, cultures, music genres and dance styles — from club to street to Afro dance.

In the meantime, we were curious to hear what is usually on Azzam’s playlist…

“Here’s my playlist, curated with diverse reasons behind each selection. The common thread among them is my genuine liking, the tendency to revisit them regularly, their inclusion in my top ‘on repeat’ playlist, and the sheer pleasure of having them on constant rotation. Give it a listen, and I hope you enjoy it.”



TRACK #1: عم عبدالرحيم – مصطفى سيد أحمد

The title of the song is ‘Am Abdel’Alraheem’ (Uncle Abdel’Alraheem), performed by Mustafa Sayed Ahmed and penned by the Sudanese poet, Muhammad Al-Hassan Salem Hamid. The unparalleled artistry of storytelling in this song is truly captivating. Close your eyes while listening to Mustafa’s rendition, and it’s as if you’re immersed in a cinematic experience. Unfortunately, you might need to pick up some Sudanese slang to fully grasp the lyrical nuances. :p

TRACK #2a: J.cole – Let Nas Down
TRACK #2b: NAS – Made Nas Proud

In a similar way, when it comes to Hip Hop, I find joy in storytelling, immersing myself in the music, and naturally nodding along. The story behind “I Let Nas Down” which led to “Made Nas Proud” is dope, and it made me appreciate it even more. I resonate deeply with the theme of striving to make someone proud, grappling with self-doubt, and the inner struggle that ensues. It’s a poignant journey—one where you may question your efforts, only to be met with a response that lifts your spirits and instills a sense of pride.

TRACK #3: Kendrick Lamar – Duckworth

This track is truly remarkable—impeccably written with a captivating narrative. What elevates my admiration even further is the legendary 9th Wonder’s production, which involves sampling from three distinct tracks by artists from three different continents. It’s a masterpiece, and that’s all I can say.

TRACK #4: Bas ft. Adekunle Gold – Khartoum

Another thing I appreciate about Hip Hop is TRUTH TELLING. I don’t need to say much here, if you listen to it you’ll understand.

TRACK #5: Rapsody – Hard to Choose

Rapsody is one of my favourite MCs. Her pen, her delivery, and her voice just unmatched. Her musical approach is not “the popular” one or “the traditional” way which she is talking about in this track. It’s a nice reminder that your way is the way if you believe in it. Her album Eve is amazing, definitely worth checking and knowing the story behind it.

TRACK #6: Jill Scott – Golden

RIDDIM NATION – shout out Jamie Jazz, Funky Nai, Kween Gab, The Kid Joji, The Baddest Tony, DreadSoul Stan, and Chuck. This song reminds me of them.

TRACK #7: Lady Alma & The Rainmakers – Let It Fall (Harlum Mix)

I love this track for two reasons aside from how obviously it hits your soul. First, it gives a hopeful and uplifting vibe. Second, I came across a video of a South African guy named Nhlaka Nhliriz at a party singing it and dancing to this track. I won’t even try to explain, because I won’t do it justice so here’s the video for you to check out.

TRACK #8a: Heavy-K & Ami Faku – Andikayeki 
TRACK #8b: Heavy-K – Heaven ft. Intaba Yase Dubai 
TRACK #8c: Heavy-K – Lavo ft. Boohle & MSK

In the spirit of hope, and uplifting, this track and every track by Heavy-K will take you there. I’ll leave you with these for now 🙂

TRACK #9: fLako – Mating Dance

Shoutout to my crewmate Jamie Jazz for discovering this gem. Not only is the song fantastic, but the real reward comes when you listen to the entire track. Watching Jamie and his crew, HybridFormz, perform to this song intensified my love for it. Jamie, along with Taz and Pat, showcased a piece titled ‘HybridFormz’ as part of Out of Iso 2020 at 107 Redfern, presented by Intimate Spectacle.

TRACK #10a. ST GERMAIN – How Dare You
TRACK #10b. ST GERMAIN – How Dare You (Atjazz Remix)

This track stands out as my most-played favorite. It forms the core of ‘KATMA,’ a project I’ve been developing since the Choreographic Lab at Critical Path and PYT Fairfield. The rhythm, emotion, production quality, clever sampling, and the fusion of Ethiopian rhythms, Jazz, and House elements—both in the original track and the Atjazz remix—are, in my opinion, a musical delight. Words fall short to express how much I adore this track—hands down, my absolute favorite.


IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Anna Kucera



Saturday 9 December 2023, 11am to 2pm
Drill Hall, Critical Path


On Saturday 9 December 11am to 2pm in the Drill Hall, our resident artist Nebahat Erpolat will hold a 3-hour physical and somatic laboratory that integrates dance and object study in synergy with space. Suited for those interested in somatic movement, experimentation, dance, theatre, performance art, and breath work.

The aim of this laboratory workshop is to learn how to work with materials/objects, touch, movement, manipulating, constructing, connecting, embodying, observing, transcending. Participant will use natural materials and brought and found objects to develop physical, visual and dialectical investigations through intuitive connection with movement, space, and narratives.

This workshop is limited to 10 participants. To join, please email [email protected] by Fri 1 December 2023.

The workshop is suited for those working with dance/movement and all other forms of performance contexts; including musicians and inter-disciplinary practitioners interested in somatic and physical processes. No previous dance training required.

Tea and coffee will be provided. Please bring lunch, water, pen & paper to write on, and your curiosity. Wear comfortable clothing to move in.

Nebahat Erpolat is an award-winning choreographer who works internationally, drawing research material from her personal lived experiences as an Australian Kurdish-Turkish dance maker, performer, researcher, writer and curator. Her works engage critically on social issues, popular culture, digital futures and ecological environment, layering complex stories to present immersive dance works. For the past 20 years, she has presented in diverse settings such as, public spaces, on ancient sites, theatres, galleries, museums, nightclubs and universities, where the work is context specific to diverse communities. Her artistic practice is invested in forming inter-cultural exchange and she is interested in how choreography can create new performance contexts using space, body and objects from an intersectional framework to create highly experimental pieces that challenge power.

Nebahat Erpolat is a 2023 Critical Path Research Room Resident.




This month’s playlist is compiled by Lux Eterna, one of our 2023 RESEARCH ROOM residents who is spending three weeks in the research room to resolve her multi-channel dance video work The 8th Day filmed in April 2023 out in Lake Mungo.

Time and space of this residency enables Lux to test various projection assemblies, revisit footage used and unused to compile auto-ethnographic reflections and research notes on the pro-social nature in which dance, embodied co-emergence, and land based spiritual cosmologies may be considered new-worlding for the post-human. 

About the playlist:

“The call of the void is presently strong and provides me with the requisite solace for letting something(s) die. The only way is through and the hardest task is simply getting out of one’s own way. These songs have been plotted at a time in my life of much significant change, upheaval, loss, grief, rage and the spoiling of bloodlines regarding the atrocities being committed against the Palestinians and of my parent’s homeland in the Levant. This is a good playlist for those with good speakers and/or a hi-fi sound system: turn it up, lay on the floor and let the bass hold you.”


TRACK #1: Moderat  Annihilation (2018) OST (ending scene)

TRACK #2: Murcof  Oort

TRACK #3: Emel  Helm (Dream)

TRACK #4: Fairouz  Atinee-n-Naya

TRACK #5: Samuel Barber  Agnus Dei

TRACK #6: Carmen Daye & Stephen Julian Baker  For Whom the Bell Tolls (2011) Donnie Darko OST

TRACK #7: Mozart  Lacrimosa, 500% slower

TRACK #8: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds  Distant Sky 

TRACK #9: Andrea Casarrubios  Seven

TRACK #10: Prokofiev  Dance of the Knights in Romeo and Juliet

TRACK #11: Comes  Beckoning Breeze

TRACK #12: Lucrecia Dalt  Esotro

TRACK #13: Stuart A. Staples  The Fuck Box (2018) High Life OST

TRACK #14: Jiony  My Love for You

TREMOR: movement vocabulary (Research Fellowship 2023 by Helene Markstein)

TREMOR: movement vocabulary (Research Fellowship 2023 by Helene Markstein)

Our 2023 Research Fellow Helen[e] Markstein has put together a unique library of Parkinson’s movement vocabulary. This invaluable resource “widens choreographic potential by bringing Parkinson’s movement to the dance and wider community, demonstrating that disability movements are no barrier to creative movement work.”

As Helen[e] puts it, we are “firstly creative secondly disabled”:

The human body is so capable. To constantly be able to invent different ways of creative movement. To be told one is disabled means being told you are unable. Unable to do, to reach what able humans can. I would like to show that whatever the endeavour, creatively it can be attempted, supplying new and inspiring outcomes and furthering the acceptance of change for creatives who are firstly creative and secondly disabled. I hope to show other sufferers of this disease, that there can be interesting creative opportunity in the disorder itself, by working with what you’ve got.”

Helen[e] has used design principles from her practice as a scenographer to bring order in what is considered chaotic. She firstly digitally captured the many movements that exist in her Parkinson’s affected body (those involuntary and the corresponding voluntary reactions, such as concealment); then categorised and named them to finally offer them as a distinctive choreographic language to her dancer-choreographer collaborators. This movement library of PD gestures was used in the studio as “a starting point for choreographic investigation” and now remains an ongoing resource for the making of contemporary dance. By bringing Parkinson’s movement to the dance it “helps dance practitioners raise physical awareness” and expand their choreographic potential.

One of Helen[e]’s research questions was: Is it possible to make interesting choreography from involuntary disease movements?

“All my interest in movement life I have been in search of authentic body movement as a way to write original choreographic scores. With the PD diagnosis I have travelled from embarrassment, concealment, with the fear of no cure, never being able to make performance again, to a cautious observation, that developed into an about-face, for an unblinking (another symptom!) look at the creative opportunity this particular movement gives and how it could be used as a vocabulary to find/write/make performance.”

Working with and maintaining tremor was challenging for the dancers, which was something to embrace and transform into a creative opportunity:

“In the studio often it was observed and commented on how exhausting it was to maintain the tremor. We did quite a bit of work on this ‘Pausing’. It seems to go against a dancer’s grain, all this stopping, pausing and being bound. None of the dancers liked working with the bindings. At one point I was close to abandoning the restraints, worrying that it was all too much. But last minute looking at it, I thought it is so upsetting for the dancers, there must be something there to look at.”

You can access TREMOR: Movement Vocabulary HERE

And see some of the choreographic responses in the video below:


The video features dancer\choreographers: Anca Frankenhaeuser, Fiona James, Natalie Wadick, Natasha Padula. Guests: Patrick Harding-Irmer and Susan Weule.

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Still from video, by William Bullock



Meet our artists through their playlists. 

We were curious what our resident artists move to – what tunes they put on to warm up, which tunes are relevant to their work, which help them wind down. 

This playlist is by Diane Busuttil, one of our 2023 RESEARCH ROOM residents who is consolidating and archiving her expertise as the founder and key facilitator of Creative Caring, a movement-based organization that offers dance programs for seniors (50+) that increase physical and mental health through inclusive social engagement and creative exploration. 

“I’ve chosen the music that I listen to when dancing and/or beginning a creation. The music I play and share through the projects I do with Creative Caring caters to the needs and generation of the people I work with, so they are mostly “golden oldies” from the 50s and 60s. As much as I love most of this music, I choose to listen to other music in my own time. Most of the list here are from my vinyl collection, which is my favourite way to listen and dance to music.”

TRACK #1: I got you under my skin – Neneh Cherry
I love the message. I love the rhythm. I love the power of this highly political track. Back in the day, I commissioned Jane Beckett who was one of my teachers at Bodenweiser to choreograph my audition piece for the University of Western Sydney’s Dance BA course. I selected this track by Neneh and was successful in the audition. The choreography was complicated and intricate. Jane was totally into popping and locking way before her time. Many intricate and isolated body parts were needed to link to each other in intimate rhythmical ways.

TRACK #2: Blue Monday – New Order
This track the extended mix always gets me into repetitive dance vibes.

TRACK #3: Personal Jesus – Jonny Cash
Floor work floor work slide, roll, fall, release!

TRACK #4: Feeling Good – Nina Simone
More floor work

TRACK #5: Yimenda-Papaguneray (Turtle Song) Emily Wurramara
Light up beat vibes from a voice that I often listen to. I use a few of her tracks when I’m teaching and find her voice very uplifting.

TRACK #6: A Tooth for an Eye The Knife
This track gets me on the dance floor… rolling and shaking.

TRACK #7: The World and the Sun  – Moon Duo
As does this one. I really love letting loose to this and using the clear beat of the track as a tool for repetition. I often try things out in a repetition mode before sliding into other choreographic patterns. Repetition is a moving meditation for me. Listening to Moon Duo is like a caffeine shot… they always get me going.

TRACK #8: Djarimirri – Gurrumul
Gurrumul his music and voice always soothe me so I play this when I want to think, rest, be grounded etc.

TRACK #9: Demons – Alison Russell
I like the smooth rolling nature of this track. I’ve only recently discovered her.

TRACK #10: Outside – George Michael
This song alway makes me happy for so many reasons. Firstly I love George Michael, the person and his music. This song is a giant middle finger to the authorities that caught him in the toilet block. He’s written this song to empower himself and proclaim a no fear status of his situation. I like that. This may seem off track but artist Ai Weiwei does the same thing with his art – directly subverting what authorities accuse him of and creating powerful artworks from it. These are the artists I admire most.


IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Darinka Marun

what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by El Waddingham

what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by El Waddingham

Meet our artists through their playlists. 

We were curious what our resident artists move to – what tunes they put on to warm up, which tunes are relevant to their work, which help them wind down. 

This playlist is by El Waddingham, one of our 2023 RESEARCH ROOM residents who is exploring the role that witchcraft and dance as ritual has played in movements of female and queer empowerment. Using an embodied experience, theological investigation, and conduction of interviews with practising witches, they hope to emerge from the Research Room with an authentic understanding of why women have relentlessly been drawn towards magic throughout history. 



TRACK #1: Gold Dust Woman Fleetwood Mac
The song that inspired this whole journey. It makes me feel like a Goddess, angry, vengeful and divinely feminine.

TRACK #2: Marea (we’ve lost dancing) Fred Again
Such a joyful song. It takes a time of unspeakable pain for most artists and turns it into a disco party. This song brings the sunlight into the studio for me because it reminds me of beautiful Brisbane (where I’m from) sunset parties in the hot QLD summer.

TRACK #3: KILL DEM Jaime xx
1920’s gangster but make it house. It’s expansive, makes me think and move bigger.

TRACK #4: Mermaids Florence + The Machine
Grand and sirenic with these massive drum beats that feel like they rock the whole earth. I based a lot of my research on witchcraft and women in history on how this song makes me feel.

TRACK #5: Eat Your Young (Bekon’s Choral Version) Hozier
When the world ends this song will be playing.

TRACK #6: Apricots Bicep
What I put on first whenever I get into the studio. Makes me dance like no other song does. Weird and quietly heartfelt, which is what I like to think my choreographic work is.

TRACK #7: What Kind of Man Florence + The Machine
As you can tell, researching and making art about witches involves listening to a whole lot of Florence + The Machine. This one reminds me of the countless stories I’ve started to unearth about the abuse of women during witch trial-era Europe.

TRACK #8: Kesha Eat the Acid
I think Kesha has had one of the most interesting trajectories as an artist, and this song is a really simple declaration of pride in the ever-changing self. She’s a woman who inspires me to explore the multiplicity that we all should be allowed to access in life.

TRACK #9: Spellbound Siouxsie and the Banshees
I first discovered this song when I was 15 because it was featured on the soundtrack of American Horror Story: Coven, one of the first TV shows that I came across with witches represented as powerful, complex and unapologetically flawed women.

TRACK #10: Les Fleurs Minne Riperton
Makes me feel like I’m frolicking through a field of wildflowers in Spring. Whenever I get a bit lost in computer-land during my research, I chuck this song on and instantly feel brought back down to Earth.


IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Karrine Kanaan

what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by Lisa Crowe

what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by Lisa Crowe

Meet our artists through their playlists. 

We were curious what our resident artists move to – what tunes they put on to warm up, which tunes are relevant to their work, which help them wind down. 

This playlist is by Lisa Crowe, one of our 2023 RESEARCH ROOM residents who is delving into the trajectory of Jamaican dancehall culture; in particular the contributions of women within this culture and their influence on the NSW dancehall scene. By examining Jamaican women’s roles in dancehall, her research explores their approach to body autonomy and freedom of expression, and aims to offer insights into the significant role women play in shaping and reshaping dancehall within NSW.



TRACK #1: Cool As The Breeze/Friday – Chronixx
I love the imagery Chronixx uses in his lyrics to describe the sights, sounds and Summer warmth of Jamaica. I’m also pretty sure I watched this video on loop for many days after first seeing it.

TRACK #4: My Life – J Capri
J Capri is always a go to for female dancehall expression and I feel like My Life is a frank and honest account of wants, expectations and red flags.

TRACK #6: Love I Got For You – Shenseea
An earlier Shenseea track. A song that can stay on repeat with ease, and also a perfect pace for drilling and exploration practice.

TRACK #7: World Cup – Popcaan
Another nostalgic choice. World Cup, like Yaadie Fiesta was a song I first heard on a trip to Jamaica. Even after learning many-a dancehall move to it, and (willingly) hearing it many times in transit with my fellow dance peers – it’s still a banger that will get me out of my seat.

TRACK #8: Grandmaster – Govana
Govana’s tone and the song’s instrumentation is so epic. This one motivates me to practice the hectic new school dancehall footwork.

TRACK #9: Bubble It – Spice
Bubble It is another of those songs that makes it difficult to sit still while listening! And whether through music, fashion, or other endeavours, Spice is unapologetic and ever expressive in nature which in turn, (in my opinion), invites you to do the same.

TRACK #10: Money Mix Riddim – Good Good Productions
Riddims are a significant part of dancehall culture and this particular riddim had some epic artists on it – which is why I couldn’t choose! It’s also part of my playlist because, the opportunity to witness some of the creators of dancehall dance representing to Fresh Cash and Poco Man Skank (songs on the Money Mix Riddim) at a Jamaican party setting like Uptown Monday, was an epic dance moment for me.



IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Alex Fenna



Kristina Chan (Biripi Country) is working with composer, music researcher, co-founder of experimental arts publication ADSR Zine James Hazel, and with dancer, choreographer Sophia Ndaba to investigate what it means to collaborate with the more-than-human forces. They are exploring dance that acknowledges a ‘pluriverse’ conception of the world, getting beyond human-orientated ways of conceiving the world through art.

Midway through the fellowship, our Producer Ira Ferris reached out to Kristina to share a bit about their process and reflect on where the project is at – what’s behind and what awaits.

IF: How would you describe what your project is about, in a few words?

KC: We are interested in other agencies that are entangled within the mix of any creative process such as field forces of sound, bodies, vibrating matters, spaces, bodily resonances, biospheres. By paying attention to these things, we are hoping to inspire new processes and ways of working together.  

IF: What inspired this project, this collaboration, in the first place?

KC: Having worked for many years as a choreographer on collaborations that feel forced through fast deadlines and pressures such as performance outcomes, I want to look deeper into the alchemy that happens in a creative process but is too often overlooked, not valued for the ‘magic’ that happens.

IF: What was your original plan for this investigation, this research, and in what ways did this shift since, if it did?

KC: This was our original plan however we are finding many offshoots of inspiration, fascination and conversation that this research is evoking such as: Musical heterophony which is “a type of texture characterised by the simultaneous variation of a single melodic line” (Wikipedia). This has us thinking about exploring multiple timelines at once in choreography, music, and the three of us working on the same research but in different locations.  



IF: Who are you working with? Who are your collaborators and what do each of them bring to the project that is invaluable to your process?   

KC: Sophia Ndaba – Dancer/Choreographer and James Hazel – Composer/writer. Both of these people have so much experience in their respective fields and both have very open honest ways of talking freely. We are all connecting through quite esoteric topics and have interest in these topics, and common interest in making work that evokes an atomposhere/feeling for the audience to experience.

IF: What shape does your collaboration take, in practice? 

KC: The three of us are working from three different locations, so we are gathering weekly via zoom. Our zoom meetings started as broad conversation and each of us brought to the table what is of interest for us right now, whether it felt related to the residency or not. Our conversations have been quite fluid but at the same time very aligned with each others interests, and have inspired tasks that we set for each other such as recordings, mind  mapping, movement ideas. We give each other ‘tasks’ each week then bring them back to the meeting to see how we can overlay the outcome in a “heterophony” style. It is rare to have this much time to develop conceptual relationships with collaborators over such a long period of timeIt feels like this is a very rich way of working, building a language and dreaming together, which could very much lead to further collaboration to build a work in the future.





IF: What are some of the research materials (resources) you go through in exploring your idea? This could be texts, images, personal experiences, films, artworks, etc etc… What’s on your desk/desktop?

KC: All of the above, we are not limiting ourselves to what we bring to the conversation. Sometimes what we bring may feel off topic at first, but somehow it always ties back in. 

 IF: As you mention, you have been working online a lot. What other spaces do you find inspiring for this work?  

KC: Going into nature to make recordings and observations. And we will soon, in a month time, come together in a physical space – the Drill Hall.

IF: What mediums do you use – apart from the movement/the body – in order to inspire and generate your choreographic thinking or choreographic process?   

Text, sound, mind map, recordings

IF: What sounds do you work with in researching/dreaming/making this project? Or what sounds would best describe your project/process, sonically? 

KC: I like to listen to sounds of crickets. Haha seriously, I have a recording of this and play it on repeat,.  

IF: As researchers, we work with the unknown and unexpected; a process of discovery. What is the most exploratory aspect of this work, for you? Where do you feel yourself most challenged and intrigued by what might come out of it?    

KC: I feel challenged by how the conversations we are currently having could be translated through choreography in a meaningful and honest way. Although, I feel confident in being in this space of the unknown, for now, and trust that the work is in the research and the conversations, and that the body will follow 🙂 

IF: What has this process brought to you and your life so far, as an artist and as a human (if the two need to be separated)? 

KC: It has brought me back into my practice, after being away from it for a couple of years, due to covid, having a small child and living regionally.  

IF: What is ahead of you in the next few months?   

More zoom meetings, more tasks and experiments, leading into our week at the Drill Hall in person.  



Top: Kristina Chan, Dancing the Pluriverse

Middle: A diagram of what Hetrophonic might ‘look’ like

Bottom: A record of our chat notes from one of our zooms



Yinaagirbang (many women) are guiding me and holding me as I sing and dance with space afforded to me by the Critical Path fellowship. 

Being in Wiradjuri Ngurambang, sharing food, sharing language and sharing dance with Aboriginal women in Kandos and Mudgee creates a warmth in my belly and gives calm to the busyness in my head.  Making fire, reading the stars, singing, dancing and walking in Wiradjuri Ngurambang with my children and my husband is medicine. They are core collaborators in my research. They are connected to me through blood and skin, muscle and bone. My dance flows through them like a river. I seek a deeper knowing of my grandmother’s Wiradjuri language, of my language. I seek to understand better the connection between my language and my dance. Listening to Country, feeling vibrations from Country and being in spaces with other Wiradjuri speakers is supporting me.  My research is Spirit centred. Insights and moments of unlocking happen in the silence between conversations, during dances and mid song cycles, sitting with fire and drinking tea. I’m mid-way through my fellowship and at 51 I feel mid-way through this life. Lots has happened and there’s lots to come. Where do my songs and dances belong? Is there a holding space for them? Are there many holding spaces for them?  Bala-dhu waga-nha yindyamarra yinaagirbang buwa-ga-nhumi-nya. Bala-dhu waga-nha yinaagiribang mawam-bul. Bala-dhu waga-nga yinaagiribang dhurarra – I dance with Yindyamarra for all of the great women who have come before me. I dance for the women who are with me now and for the women who will come after me.

– Jo Clancy, 2023 Critical Path First Nations Fellow 

Jo Clancy is a Mother, Daughter, Sister and Aunty to many. She is a First Nations Choreographer, Dancer, Teacher and Mentor. A Wiradjuri woman born and living on Darug and Gundungurra Country. Jo commenced her full-time dance training at NAISDA Dance College in 1990 and went to Western Sydney University, where she became the first Aboriginal person to gain a BA in Dance in NSW. She founded her company Wagana in 2007 and is currently Head of Cultural Practice at NAISDA. Her works include Bangalang for the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival, Glasgow, Sum of our Ancestors for Dance and the Child, Copenhagen, Gaurii for the Commonwealth Games Art and Cultural Festival 2018 and Wirawi Bulbwul for Dance and the Child 2019. Wagana have been the Australian representative at the Honolulu Festival in Hawaii since 2016 and fosters an ongoing Sista collaboration with the Raven Spirit Dancers, Vancouver.

Jo Clancy has been awarded 2023 First Nations Critical Path Fellowship, supported by Create NSW.


Image credit (top): Smoking my Wagana women with our family burl. Photo by Brigitte Grant.



Nicole Schild (Central Coast & Dandenong Ranges) works with academic, musician and installation artist Dr Louisa Magrics (Newcastle) to explore the new possibilities for choreographic methodology enabled by a ground-up interweaving of dance with soft sculpture/crochet design. Nicole and Louisa, who are our 2023 RECONFIGURATIONS regional research fellows, are interested to explore how working together and separately in diverse bioregions impacts the content and processes of the work.

Midway through the fellowship, our Producer Ira Ferris reached out to them to share a bit about their process and reflect on where the project is at – what’s behind and what awaits.

IF: How would you describe what your project is about, in a few words?

NS: Short answer: we are exploring possibilities for interweaving body movement with sculptural crochet. Lou is a fine artist who uses crochet to construct large scale installations and wearables, and the inquiry is a creative synthesis of our respective practices. In our recent studio intensive, the wearables came to be more centred in our process, revealing themselves as info-rich modular spaces or dwellings for an individual body.

IF: What inspired this project, this collaboration, in the first place?

NS: We were originally inspired by the unique properties of this interdisciplinary collaboration and its potential for generative synthesis. Part of it may be that we are both involved in various music collabs, and have a similar approach to instigating and engaging with collaborative opportunities that has been shaped by playing in bands.

IF: What was your original plan for this investigation, this research, and in what ways did this shift since, if it did?

NS: Our plan hasn’t shifted so much as begun to find its form. We are now constellating our research around a concept we have affectionately named TIMMY (Threads In Motion: Moving Yarns). We were expecting the unexpected, and we have entered the unexpected territory of focusing on wearables. There are many ways this can take us choreographically, including looking at modular systems, topologies of the body and multisensory bodily holding.

IF: What steps are you taking in researching your topic? What shape does your research take?

NS: Essentially, it is a PBR (Practice-based research) inquiry rooted in the space of tacit knowledge. There is also an experimental systems orientation, in terms of creating space to explore different variables leading to fluid epistemic outcomes. Concrete steps or elements have included iterative making in our respective studios, conceptual conversations, reading and journalling. We have also been engaged in photo documenting as an iterative process (moving from lofi to elevated photographic tech) and a mode of visualising future directions.

IF: What are some of the research materials (resources) you go through in exploring your idea? This could be texts, images, personal experiences, films, artworks, etc etc… What’s on your desk/desktop?

NS: Outcomes of our own process feed back into the process as research materials. Photos are a good example of this, being an experimental outcome that can be metabolised by TIMMY as the basis of further experimentation. This can also be seen in the testing of material elements as components of other artworks. For example, a new wearable element custom made by Lou for TIMMY was trialled in performance by incorporating it into a show with the band I’m in (Ungus Ungus Ungus). Rather than such instances of performance being a research outcome, they are part of the PBR process, creating valuable research resources in the form of phenomenological data and visual images.

IF: You are now roughly half way through your project. What has the timeline of it been so far? What were some so called milestones in it?

NS: A big milestone was the PBR intensive we completed in early July at Lou’s studio, which led to a significant tangible outcome in the form of photos. It was a welcome surprise that the photographer we engaged felt creatively invested, and so what could have been merely documentation has turned out to be valuable material for feeding back into the research. Tons of intangible data was also generated in this intensive, which we are excited to develop.

IF: What has this process brought to you and your life so far, as an artist and as a human (if the two need to be separated)?

NS: There is a sense of enrichment, and fresh insight into different ways of thinking about and approaching practice. It’s exciting to be able to spend enough time systematically playing with ideas to arrive at a place rich in material and conceptual possibilities, which we have recently come to and will continue refining. Participation in the larger Action Research Group with other RECONFIGURATIONS fellows, that Critical Path is facilitating, has been important in feeling a sense of containment and direction, as well as accountability.

IF: What is ahead of you in the next few months?

NS: More PBR investigation, and we are looking at developing a lecture-style presentation as a culmination of the fellowship. There may be an opportunity to write a book chapter for a publication concerned with creative collaborative processes.

IF: Lastly, I am curious what sounds you work with in researching/dreaming/making this project? Or what sounds would best describe your project/process, sonically? In other words, if your project or your process had a soundtrack, what would it be?

NS: Local producers and bands making rhythmic sounds environments designed to move bodies. For instance:
Ribongia feat E.T le Creature — Intro
Bumble — Good Egg
Mr Bill feat eliderp & Sophro — Too Complicated
Hello Tut Tut — 3am
Ungus Ungus Ungus — Hall of Mirrors




PHOTOS: Nicole Schild in wearables by Dr Louisa Magrics. Photos taken by Lee Illfield.



Performance maker and designer-scenographer, Helene Markstein is collaborating with Anca Frankenhaeuser, Fiona James, Natalie Wadick, Natasha Brusic, and Susan Weule on a project titled TREMOR, part of our 2023 RECONFIGURATIONS regional research fellowships program.

TREMOR takes cues from Helene’s personal experience with Parkinson’s Disease and translates its unique involuntary movements into the original dance scores and vocabularies. Seeing what dancers/choreographers can develop from Parkinson’s TREMOR, Helene and her collaborators are advocating for “a constantly capable body”.

I hope to show those creatives who are firstly creative and secondly disabled, that there can be interesting creative opportunity in disability itself. Although thought incurable, crippling, and a disability, this work demonstrates that there are ways to make it bearable, and creatively exciting. What is more, this creative process helps delay the onset of severe symptoms of this disease.” – Helene Markstein

Midway through the fellowship, our Producer Ira Ferris reached out to Helene to share with us a bit about her process and reflect on where the project is at – what’s behind and what awaits.


IF: What steps are you taking in researching your topic? What shape does your research take?

HM: I have been observing and video-capturing the movements my body makes. Working with the video footage takes obsession and memory to keep at. The re-watching, waiting and reflection take time. Apart from that, I search the internet constantly, over all my areas of interest. I draw. I pursue anything that comes. I try to be open to what directions things invariably take. Transposing. I try to move things, change contexts. Be ready when that happens; be quick enough to catch it, whatever it is. My process always involves refining, refining, no matter what medium. I throw everything into it, then I start pruning away until it has the form I am satisfied with. I work with what I have and keep open to what comes my way from any direction. I am a designer so I am used to throwing ideas around from right way up to upside down. Which means I probably won’t know until we are finished and are looking back, how it all fell out.

IF: How does the topic – the nature of the topic – affect the shape of your research process?

HM: In developing the Parkinson’s vocab, I’ve been playing and working with ‘the spiral’ (a winding up or a winding down). I have always been interested in the Fibonacci Series/Golden Ratio. I know exactly when it entered my choreographic brain space, because my husband received a birthday card with it on the cover and somehow it made its way to my desk. I began drawing, trying to abstract the form to see what happens. One day while I was drawing, I have noticed that my fingers, then hands, then arm were taking this same shape when in the cramping curl of dystonia, one of the many symptoms of the Parkinson’s movement. Wow! I had this interesting movement idea right in my body. Up until that point, I was more or less ignoring and denying what my body was doing. Looking back, this was the start.

IF: What is your research methodology like? Do you read? Journal? Work in the dance studio? Have conversations? Where do you begin and what happens then?

HM: I read… and Journal… not daily. But I do date. I have been known to use the kitchen, bedroom, or living areas to try out movements. I have lots of conversations, luckily with a few people who know and/or share my varied interests. I can begin from anywhere or anything. When something strikes me, I spend some time thinking about it, tossing it around in my head or sharing the ideas with my partner, or daughter, then either write or take notes on the phone, ipad or computer and it grows from there – not always to fruition or completion and some ideas last for years. Ideas resurface for a while shifting slightly. Some ideas appear to be ‘all of a sudden’ when actually they have been bubbling away for years.

IF: What are some of the research materials (resources) you go through in exploring your idea? This could be texts, images, personal experiences, films, artworks, etc. etc… What’s on your desk/desktop?

HM: Chaos.

IF: Who are you working with? Who are your collaborators and what do each of them bring to the project that is invaluable to your process?

HM: I am working with Anca Frankenhaeuser a contemporary artist who is a delight to work with and brings her mastery, maturity, humour, talent, and experience to every part of the project. Fiona James is a dancer, teacher who also brings a wealth of experience and curiosity. Fiona helped with the making of the body-parts. She has a useful way of thinking about things with a scientific background. Her humour and generosity of spirit, she will always make things work. Natalie is x-student of Fiona and a teacher of contemporary dance. Natasha is a dance student interested in choreography and brings her own stamp of individual style to the project.

IF: How does this collaboration look like in practice? How are you collaborating together?

HM: This project was something different for Fiona and Natalie to work on. It was a constant challenge for them to work with me, finding it difficult to accept I wasn’t looking for anything specific, only giving them material to inspire movement. I was most interested in what happened after they took my movement. They wanted to ‘please’ me. I was looking for a response to my Parkinson’s movement. Also this was not a performance to work towards, so it was an unusual collaboration. I was asking for movement bits, not dance phrases necessarily and was happy with anything they could find, give me. We had an understanding that we would all decide collectively on what pieces would become the part of the vocab that could be put forward for performance. The only way to do this practically was for me to make videos, that we all could comment on, chose or discard. It proved impossible to get everyone together in the one space.

CP: In your research process you have been digitally capturing Parkinson’s unique involuntary movements, then giving this footage to the dancers/choreographers to see what original dance scores and vocabularies they could create out of it? In this process, you wanted them to work independently from each other, rather than as a group. Why was this important to you?

HM: When either two or three dancers were working together they tended to move similarly. That was a challenge for me. I was insistent that the dancers find their own responses; make their choice of elements and principles to work with. I was interested in where their movement would go.

CP: What are you responding to the most, from what they are giving you?

HM: I look for what holds my attention, for whatever reason. It can be evocative, simplicity itself, or complete chaos, possibly mystery. It can be amusement, light or dark, what touches me or somebody else. I am captured when I am left with trying to understand, or wanting to know more.

IF: What space/s do you work with? What spaces do you find inspiring for this work?

HM: I hired space from Katoomba Ballet Art, a repurposed Masonic Hall that has been renovated for ballet school purpose. A week at The Drill was inspiring and we all look forward to having another day or two in August, depending on other work commitments for everyone coming down from the mountains.

IF: What are some of the obstacles and/or challenges that you are (or have been) facing and how do you go about confronting them, navigating them?

Technology was a pain. Try and try again. Technology continues to be a pain. But waiting hours for renders gave me time to dip in and out of the writing. To go and interrogate and define what choreographic material I could develop from elements and principles of design. Also, the dancers I worked with said they struggled with not being certain if what they were offering to me was what I wanted. Working with impro, was not necessarily their comfort zone because they were used to working with music or emotional reaction and this seemed to them more of an academic approach. I needed to go with that flow. I was grateful and happy with their generosity of spirit in what they came up with.

IF: What mediums do you use – apart from the movement/the body?

HM: Design, reflection, video, stills, cloth, light, costume, television series, books, walking, talking, arguing.

IF: How do these other mediums influence/affect your choreographic thinking or choreographic process?

HM: I like to see everything as a metaphor for movement, therefore everything influences. I also like to work with what I’ve got – whatever is in front of me. A script played underwater… has me currently trying all movement in slow underwater moves. Try it… it’s fun.

IF: You are now roughly half way through your project. What has the timeline been so far? What were some, so called, milestones?

I have divided the process in three parts. Part 1 was driven by the need to kick-start the process for all the dancer/choreographers. I set up a small studio in my apartment and videoed myself, capturing the involuntary movements I was making. This needed to be done quickly, so I made a list – the equivalent of a shotlist – that gave the moves names, so I could efficiently go through the movements one after the other, eg. all seated moves, all standing, all hands etc. Documenting all the movements that were new to me over the past two years, instigated by the Parkinson’s. And where possible, what had triggered them or caused the desire for concealment through embarrassment. I then shared this videos with dancers who reacted encouragingly, preparing small phrases, some of them explaining how they used the elements and principles of design.

I then secured the studio space in a busy Katoomba ballet school’s hall – negotiating times with all the dancers, emailing them all the list of RAW moves that corresponded with the video and also naming these moves. Some work was done at the dancers’ homes that gave rise to other moves that were named by the dancers. We were also designing the Body-Parts such as the large foot and hand, for the dancers to work with. And we needed to make them workable and easily attached. Fiona James was a big part of this collaboration, assembling, making, trying and remaking, and this involved travel to and from, down and through the mountains. Later on, Critical Path supplied the studio space and this was very useful for Anca Frankenhaeuser to work in, giving a solid block of time (with successive days) to follow through ideas.

Part 2 of the process involves working through all the video sections of each dancer’s moves. I started by using the Part 1 Capture List. Identifying and matching movement actions with video sections took time, and I am at the very beginning of it. Again and again the technology let me down. I’ve been wondering if I should use the footage with glitches (tremors?). It has a wacky appeal. The overwhelming enormity of the task striking at me gave the rise to any shortcuts possible.

After collecting so much material I needed time to reflect on what I actually had. I realised I had captured enough material, the only way to digest it all was to familiarise myself with it, break it all up, name it. I needed to analyse and systematize my raw data material to identify the vocabulary. To be able to see what had come out. I needed to set up all the sections each dancer had worked on, corresponding to the first video’s raw list. This would make Part 3: showing the potential, demonstrating how these ‘bits’ work together in a choreographed composition suitable for performance, using the sequence of steps and movement compiled from the gathered material. Would they be interesting? As a group we would need to watch and decide if or what could be useful to develop further as performance material.

IF: What are some of the biggest discoveries you made so far? Surprises? Unexpected turns your project took up until now? Something you didn’t anticipate at the beginning and it felt as an unexpected revelation?

An unexpected turn was the need to refine the names of movements in Part 2, sometimes using two movements or more, as one group of moves. This was interesting… because, of course, everything flows from one to the other. The project is beginning to own itself the deeper I go into it. At the bus stop waiting… a revelation struck me. Relieved me actually. This is research. I don’t need to, or it is not required of me, to completely follow through with some things, I can indicate what direction they are heading. Going further is for another time.

IF: Have your initial thoughts around your topic – your field of research – changed, and in what way did they expand, if they did?

HM: Given that this is a research… as far as creating is concerned, it doesn’t matter what turns it takes, it will bear fruit, inevitably arising as raw choreographic language. My heartfelt thanks go to Critical Path and Create NSW who supported this project, making it possible.

IF: What has this process brought to you and your life so far, as an artist and as a human (if the two need to be separated)?

HM: It certainly has taken my mind off the Parkinson’s… which is quite funny. It has made me feel less self conscious … also funny. Such a relief, this has carried into my everyday life; to be able to walk into and around a studio space where movement of all sorts is the accepted norm. As an artist I am still struggling with the abstraction of the spiral. It’s a daily battle with the medications. They are known for making people confused, which is not what I need to be, doing this type of process.

IF: What is ahead of you in the next few months?

HM: The long and arduous work of assembling video footage. My practice always includes playing with the visuals. I learn from this. At the moment there are two long videos being made. For the Part 2, each capture is broken up and is being re assembled. An absolute patchwork of movement language. The Part 3 is an endless showing of the phrases or pieces that demonstrate the perfomative value. Sharing with the participants and reworking the ‘Parts’ from their input. I am interested in what the dancer/choreographers make of how I put the footage together.

IF: What sounds do you work with in researching/dreaming/making this project? Or what sounds would best describe your project/process, sonically? Or, if your project or your process had a soundtrack, what would it be?

HM: Percussive. Parkinson’s has a driving percussive motor, TREMOR. My body responds to everything that has that beat.

IF: What’s on yours and Anca’s playlists as you work on this?

Mine includes:

  • Michael Nyman – Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds
  • LP – “Forever For Now” (Live In Sun King Studio 92)
  • Florence + The Machine – Big God Dance Fever
  • Handel Lascia chio pianga BEST VERSION EVER Antonis Papacostas
  • King Arthur, Z. 628, Act III: Chorus. “See, See, We Assemble” – Dance
  • LACRIMOSA – Requiem for a friend


And this is Anca’s: 

  • The Homeless Wanderer (Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrow)
  • Marcevol (Renaud Garcia Fons)
  • Sirpale (Kimmo Pohjonen)
  • Dance Me to the End of Love (Leonard Cohen)
  • Á Travers Les Parole (Geir Inge Lotsberg)
  • Quiet Sea (Imogen Manis, David Jones) 


what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by Lucy Doherty

what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by Lucy Doherty

Meet our artists through their playlists. 

We were curious what our resident artists move to – what tunes they put on to warm up, which tunes are relevant to their work, which help them wind down. 

This playlist is by Lucy Doherty, one of our 2023 RECHARGE Space Grant residents who is at the Drill in August 2023 developing a choreographic work ‘Afterlife’ inspired by three dresses made and passed down from her late grandmother. Lucy’s work investigates the stories these garments hold and explores ideas and skills that are passed down from generation to generation. An area of focus and interest within her choreographic investigation is the practice of sewing, a skills held both by her grandmother and mother.

“I’m interested in exploring how working with fabric and the practice of sewing might inform movement creation and vice versa.”

‘Afterlife’ is an exploration into grief and connection, and this playlist by Lucy Doherty includes songs she has been working with during the research, development, and creation process so far.  

TRACK #1: AC3 – Phondupe
For setting a sacred space  

TRACK #2: Like a Particle of Dust – Night Gestalt & Klangriket
For waking and opening the body  

TRACK #3: Hibernation Station – Hilyard
For floating  

TRACK #4: Mists Inhabit This Place – Brambles
For integration  

TRACK #5: Spirits – Brambles
For connection to the otherworld  

TRACK #6: Easy – Lionel Ritchie feat. Willie Nelson 
I recently asked my auntie for a song that reminded her of my mum and this is what she sent me 

TRACK #7: I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair – Ella Fitzgerald 
I recently asked my auntie for a song that reminded her of my gran and this is what she sent me 

TRACK #8: Entrance – Boogrov
For processing and honouring  

TRACK #9: When – Subheim 
For breathing in the sweetness of life  

TRACK #10: Holding Space For The Unimaginable – Kira Kira
For, as the title suggests 


IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Lorcan Power 

what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by Karlia Cook

what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by Karlia Cook

Meet our artists through their playlists.

We were curious what our resident artists move to – what tunes they put on to warm up, which tunes are relevant to their work, which help them wind down. 

This playlist is by Karlia Cook, one of our 2023 RECHARGE Space Grant residents. She is in the Drill Hall in July 2023 researching the cycling relation between people, communities, waters, trees and animals – the totality of existence and connection between every living being. The residency fosters a space of listening and learning as she journeys to connect to her Māori culture and uncover ancestry across seas.

“The development of this work is an important step in my path as an artist and a women, as I ask my ancestors to journey through me with movement and storying.”

Here is Karlia’s playlist: 


TRACK #1: Both Sides of the Moon – Celeste  
I’m obsessed with moons and this song is very beautiful to listen too in the studio in the morning when I’m waking up my body. 

TRACK #2: Yere Faga – Oumou Sangaré (Natureboy Flako Version)
This song gets me into the mahi. So energising so fun.  

TRACK #3: Healer – Sampa The Great (feat. Zaachariaha)
Sampa always bringing the fem energy to fill me up and soften my day.  

TRACK #4: Rainforest – Noname
Noname is always playing in the background while I’m making. She’s my queen.  

TRACK #5: Echoes of Time – Natureboy Flako  
This artist I always play when I want distant rhythmic/ambient sounds in the background. 

TRACK #6: Point and Kill– Little Simz (feat. Obongjayar)
Simz brings the fierce energy into the room and this song is a bop. 

TRACK #7: Five Easy Hot Dogs – Mac Demarco (full album) 
This whole album is just smooth sounds with no lyrics and I need that milkyness in the studio.  

TRACK #8: T2JD – Cavs  
Percussive rhythms bring the energy.   

TRACK #9: A Splendour Only Partially Imagined – Civic Grace
Beautiful calming ambience that makes me feel like I’m underwater 

TRACK #10: Cardigan Song – Kikagaku Moyo  
A sweet morning song that fills the space with sunshine melodies. It feels fitting in this space by the seaside.  



what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by Ryuichi Fujimura

what moves you: ARTIST PLAYLIST by Ryuichi Fujimura

Meet our artists through their playlists.

We were curious what our resident artists move to – what tunes they put on to warm up, which tunes are relevant to their work, which help them wind down.

This playlist is by Ryuichi Fujimura, one of our 2023 RECHARGE Space Grant residents who is in the Drill Hall mid July 2023 to revisit and renew his solo work “How Did I Get Here?”, first part of his HERE NOW Trilogy,  originally made a decade ago to mark his 50th birthday.

Here is Ryuichi’s playlist:


TRACK #1: zephyr by Fonica
Fonica is a now-defunct Japanese electronic music band which has released only one album (ripple). When I work in a studio, I often play their album at the beginning.

TRACK #2: Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell (2000 self-cover version)
In “How Did I Get Here?” (one of my solos) I use this song but a different version sung by Frank Sinatra which, I must admit, is not a great rendering but it suits my solo. Hundreds singers have sung this song, but to me the best version is the slow ballad version Joni Mitchell released in 2000.

TRACK #3: I sing the body electric from “Fame” (original motion picture soundtrack)
The movie “Fame”(1979) is one of my favorite movies and I use the intro and outro of this song for “Fall! Falter!! Dance!!!”, another solo of mine.

TRACK #4: You can’t always get what you want (Soulwax remix) by The Rolling Stones
I sometimes use a pop song to propel storytelling in my work. I use this remix version of this classic tune in “Fall! Falter!! Dance!!!”

TRACK #5: Maroon by Taylor Swift
According to my iPhone, I have played this song more often than any other songs in 2023. I love Taylor.

TRACK #6: Modern Love by David Bowie
“Fall! Falter!! Dance!!!” was partly inspired by the movie “Frances Ha”. This song is played effectively in the scene in which Frances, a young dancer, runs and dances along a New York street.

TRACK #7: The Swan (Carnival of the Animals: XIII) by London Cello Orchestra
That famous dying swan song.

TRACK #8: Remodel by Alva Noto
If I had indefinite amount of money, I would ask Alva Noto to compose music for my work.

TRACK #9: Thursday Afternoon by Brian Eno
My favorite bedtime song before Podcast was invented.

TRACK #10: A Stream with Bright Fish by Brian Eno & Harold Budd
The Pearl which contains this song is my warm down album.




IMAGE CREDIT: Ryuichi Fujimura in promo shot for ‘Fall! Falter!! Dance!!!’. Photo by Alex Houy.

March Dance 2023 Wrap-Up Article

March Dance 2023 Wrap-Up Article

by Matthew Prest
May, 2023



This was the 5th year of March Dance, and the focus of this year’s festival, building on previous years, was to provide a platform or a context for the independent contemporary dance community in Sydney to present work, to develop new work, to develop practice, and to hopefully foster a sense of connection and community.  



This year I took on the role of ‘festival manager’ for March Dance under the guidance of Critical Path and DirtyFeet. As I took on the role, I had a lot of conversations with people from the sector, and there seemed to be some uncertainty about what March Dance actually was. Many things happen under the March Dance umbrella with residencies, presentations, talks, workshops, and an open call for artists to present or develop self-funded and self-produced work. I come away from my experience delivering the festival with many thoughts and questions about the model and what it might be going forward, reflecting on how to nurture a context or a scene. Community and context are so important to an artist, particularly independent artists. To me, this is the main thing that March Dance offers, creating connections between the things that independent artists initiate. 

I have a background as an artist working in contemporary performance and experimental theatre, and at certain times in my career I’ve felt part of a vibrant scene and at other times not. For an artist, particularly a performing artist, being part of a scene is how you develop. Putting your work out there, not into a vacuum, but into a context where it is in dialogue with other work getting made, other artists, influencing each other, inspiring each other, building on other work that has been done, evolving the form and giving your work as an artist its meaning and relevance.  



It’s tough, particularly in a sprawling, expensive, distracted city like Sydney, to stage a production as an independent, to put it out there in isolation, into the abyss without the context of a curatorial program, arts organisation or festival. It’s about more than just the difficulties this poses financially (although those difficulties are real and not something March Dance has been able to address). If you’re presenting in isolation, it’s also tricky to get your bearings on where your work sits in relation to other artists and your art form, and what you’re making your work in relation to. 

A vibrant scene allows room to fail, to learn from what doesn’t work and to know what you are aiming for. A vibrant scene allows room to fail and to recover as opposed to fail and disappear. Without a scene, it’s hard to build on what you’ve done, and for a community of artists to build on what each other has done.   

A festival like this gives context to a diverse range of works happening in dispersed locations across a city. This context can link what would otherwise be disparate isolated events, placing one artist’s work in dialogue with another. This is a benefit for both artists and audiences alike. As a punter, but of course, with my festival manager hat on, I experienced this throughout the festival, from the beautiful work of Charemaine Seet, her dancers and Melissa Toogood tackling Merce Cunningham and Doug Elkins at Surry Hills Community Centre to Vicki Van Hout riffing lyrical at Talking Bodies Campbelltown Arts Centre to the grassroots, eclectic scratch night of One Night for Dance at Dance Maker’s Collective, Seven Hills to the epic improvisation of Optimal Stopping by Lisa Maris McDonell and the La Infinita Compañia and Proper Motion at Merrigong.  



I experienced it on a perfect early-Autumn Sunday in March, riding my bike to the Botanic Garden’s to catch Rufus Lowe’s Dysmorphia, a short 15-minute site-specific work that ran on a loop with the harbour as a backdrop. The piece had a fun 80s aerobics aesthetic, as it explored Lowe’s interest in society’s damaging ideals on gender and the stereotypes forced upon both cis and trans siblings. As is often the case with performance in public space, it was as much about the intervention and relationship to site as the performance or choreography itself. In this sense, the intrigued, bemused, responses of passer-by were as much a part of the work.  

From there, I headed off to The Drill Hall at Critical Path, to see a work-in-progress showing from theatre maker Michelle St Anne, called The Table Test, vignettes from a larger work called The Reckoning, based in part on the book by journalist Amy Remeikis. This collection of evocative imagery and text, choreography and sound rich in its themes of feminine performativity in a patriarchal society was exciting to see, both as a window into St Anne’s process as a maker, but also this ambitious and important work that no doubt has more of a life to come.  



From there I headed on my bike to 107 Projects Redfern, for Natasha Sturgis’ Clambake, a complete takeover of the 107 space, utilising dancers, musicians and DJs across three spaces of 107 in an immersive dance experience that let the audience wander and discover the work. At times it felt like a nightclub, at other times an art gallery; it was exciting and intriguing and left me wanting to see more – hopefully, it has another outing.  



That Sunday afternoon spoke a lot to what March Dance offers and what it can be for artists, art goers and the general public. A chance to experience work at different stages of development, artists at different stages of their careers, in various venues, locations and sites, offering different ways for an audience to engage and experience dance. 

Five years in, March Dance is a work in progress itself. There may be an opportunity for a different model, one that can build on the festival’s strengths so far, strengths of inclusion and shared practice, while simultaneously creating a platform that is more sustainable and more supportive of artists longer term.  



Image #1: Reina Takeuchi in performance of Clambake. Photo by Nat Cartney for RollingMedia Productions
Image #2: The 8th Day by Lux Eterna. Photo by Lux Eterna.
Image #3: Happy Hour 15. Photo by Natalie Cartney for RollingMedia Productions.
Image #4: Happy Hour 15. Photo by Natalie Cartney for RollingMedia Productions.
Image #5: Living Room Theatre, The Reckoning. Photo by Natalie Cartney for RollingMedia Productions.
Image #6: Clambake by Natasha Sturgis. Photo by Natalie Cartney for RollingMedia Productions.
Image #7: Linda Luke in Happy Hour 15. Photo by Nat Cartney for RollingMedia Productions.

Interview: Devika Bilimoria

Interview: Devika Bilimoria

2023 Experimental Choreographic Resident
in conversation with Ira Ferris

Devika Bilimoria, a multi-disciplinary artist from Naarm, was our 2023 Experimental Choreographic Residency (ECR) recipient in partnership with Performance Space, exploring the next stage in the development of their durational performance installation Offerings which is described as “a ritual-like game of dice” where randomisation is used as a key choreographic agent to reorient and agitate the postural and material elements of ritual. In its past iterations, Offerings was a solo performance but Devika has long contemplated the possibility of opening this work up to other performers. The ECR residency provided the opportunity to trial this new idea out, and she invited artists Shareeka Helaluddin and Leo Tsao to join her in the process and see the work translate into their bodies. Towards the end of Devika’s two-week residency in the Drill Hall, on April 19, our Critical Path Producer Ira Ferris set down with them for a long and detailed chat about the origins and the new stages of this work.


IF: Your work ‘Offerings’, which this ECR residency is based on, brings together chance practice of dice rolling with elements of Hindu ritual. What inspired you to look into the relationship between ritual and chance? 

DB: The instigation of this work comes from a moment I had with my grandparents in a temple in Birmingham, England. My background is Indian from Gujarat, and my grandparents moved to England from Kenya about 60 years ago. They are practicing Hindus and have been frequenting this temple for a really long time. It’s quite a large and ornate temple with luscious carpet, chandeliers from the ceiling, and lots of sculptural idols. One of the sculptural idols is called Shiva Lingam. It is the most abstracted representation of Lord Shiva, who is known as the Lord of Destruction but also creation of the universe. This one was a black stoned waist-height Shiva Lingam. And… one of the Hindu practices of worship is called ‘puja’ which is the offering of flowers or the bathing of particular sculptural idols. For example, in a temple, where there’s a Shiva Lingam we’ll offer fruits and flowers and then pour milk and pour water and recite particular mantras while doing so. What was striking in this particular temple is that there was a yellow garden hose wrapped around this Shiva Lingam, and to the side there were cartons of plastic milk bottles. And I was watching people perform the puja, perform the bathing of this black sculpture, and it looked quite absurd. Like, picking up a garden hose to do this other gesture from a different sort of tending. And using these plastic bottles as a vessel to transfer the milk onto the deity. I wondered: What’s going on here? How is this possible? How is this allowed, this feels quite unorthodox. It had me thinking about how rituals change, how objects around ritual alter through time and through, I guess, industrialization. And it had me probing, what else could be altered; what is important in the action of ritual? And it was then that I locked into the gesture of offering. I recognised this is what is important – what’s happening with the body within the ritual. Doesn’t really matter what the vehicle happens to be, whether it’s the hose or the bottle; it’s the gesture. So, I started to become quite obsessed with the gestures of offering…


IF: Which is a performance of offering…

DB: Yeah, the performance and the body’s relationship to idols and how we orient ourselves toward idols. Like, how is body organized in ritualistic spaces? Particularly, I was interested in how else the body can perform puja or offering, that is not sitting down cross legged facing an idol. I was quite interested in the posture. Some of the postures I play with happen within ritual and some don’t. For example, in puja I wouldn’t be on my side singing Alanis Morissette throwing palms of honey. Though, I might kneel but I would never be on my side. So, I was interested in the gesture of offering through a randomised score which allows for an unorthodox manner of offering.


IF: You have identified four key gestures of offering. What are they?

DB: I have identified four gestures that come from my experience with puja, but they also exist across cultures and contexts. There’s a non-secular but also secular realm in which they occur, and I really enjoy that – from the quotidian gesture of pouring milk onto cereal to pouring milk onto an idol.

So, the four gestures I’ve identified are: Bowing, Placing, Pouring and Throwing. For instance, throwing of rice could happen in a Hindu ritual as we’re reciting names of the Lord, but there’s also throwing rice at a wedding which is kind of a common thing. And with ‘bowing’; I see it also as a form of pouring – there is something about the gesture of bowing that is a pouring, that is related to surrendering; this kind of emptying of the self through the head, meeting the earth and shifting of gravity.





IF: Where does the element of chance come into the whole picture? Do you see something chance-like in ritual, or something ritualistic in chance-based practices?

DB: So ‘chance’ arose through a wonderful spidery brain mapping moment. Once I had identified these gestures of offering, I became interested in their etymologies and how else do they take place in the world. ‘Chance’ entered this work through the gesture of ‘throwing’. I was thinking about things like throwing dice, or throwing rubbish. Lots of it was initially about rubbish, throwing things away. But in association to throwing dice, chance came up and I started researching chance-based practices in Western art, such as Fluxus and Dada movements which have been crucial to challenging conventional modes of making – challenging orders, hierarchies, ways of thinking… And so, going back to your question – what do I see as the kind of crossover between ritual and chance? For me, it is an element of indeterminacy. That’s what I was really really interested in. And you know, lots of project research covers quantum theory but also traverses ideas of how and why rituals came about. And some of that research suggests that they are a way of housing time. That time is chaotic, that the world is chaotic, and creating rituals is a way of creating a home in time, which is something that Byung-Chul Han, Korean philosopher, speaks about. Many people understand aspects of ritual as delineation of sacred and profane, imminent and transcendence, and I was really interested in how these dualities can coexist in making a work where something can be imminent but also transcendent. And yeah, indeterminacy is a really important factor in this because chance is all about indeterminacy and not knowing. And life is too. It just is.


IF: And in the Western world we are made to believe that things are certain. We are educated to have answers to everything and rewarded for it. And it’s interesting that the Fluxus artists you are mentioning were interested in spiritual or ritual-like practices, such as Zen Buddhism. They were questioning the western trope of scientific certainty, looking towards the unknown and therefore uncontrollable. And this ‘lack of control’ takes me to the question about the materials you perform with and how they affect your choices. But before we go there, for those who haven’t experienced your performance, could we describe its dramaturgical arc: what happens in the space, what are we seeing or witnessing?

DB: The work is called Offerings and it’s durational performance installation that takes place upon a cleared floor that could be set in a gallery or a theatre. The arc is an endless durational game of dice that is comprised of multiple directives which I like to call a score. The way the score is generated is through rolling of two dice which I roll seven times, and based on the numbers rolled I create an instruction made through seven categories.


IF: Then based on that score you enact an action by entering a demarcated space which is outlined within the larger space… What are those seven categories that you’re working with? And how did you come up with them?

DB: The categories are: posture, direction, gestures, materials or items, the vessel, a constraint category, and a vocalization category. This whole work has been made over a year. And these categories were mostly there right from the beginning. Except the vocalization category, which came in later in the iterations although I was thinking about it for a while. I’ve never done vocalization before. My practice is visual based, but I have a training in theatre as well as dance. So, I have some voice training, but I’ve never used it in my art practice. And I realized that I’m missing a very crucial part of the Hindu ritual, which is mantra or recitation.

I’m not a practicing Hindu anymore. I’m quite secular, but spiritual secular, if that makes sense? And I have memories and lingerings of this practice within my body, because I grew up in a really pious household. And this artwork is kind of questioning what is it to have these ancestral choreographies in my body, as ritualistic traces. I had a desire to jumble and mix those orders, and also question the hierarchy of the body and the orientation of the body. The forwardness in the backwardness; what it means to be ‘facing’ something. So, in Hindu ritual you’re always facing something, you’re always oriented toward an idol or a god. But I wanted to know what happens when there is no god, there is no idol, there is no specific orientation toward. And so that’s where one of the categories – direction; the four directions – comes in.

A crucial part of the work is about finding a place to question the boundaries of ritual, to question how it is experienced by the person performing ritual, but also how it’s seen. I’m not making another ritual. That’s not my intention with this work. It is performance-based and art-based, but it’s also task-based. I think that’s what’s important to the energy that’s brought to the space. And that task is to offer these randomized collections of categories that come from ritual into the void.





IF: So the offering is enacted through randomization, which comes back to that question of chance and its relationship to ritual… 

DB: Yeah, I love what randomization as a chance method does with the puja elements of order and structure. That randomization uses that order and structure, but also rearranges things. Randomization is how I came to respond to that question of how else can I orient my body in space, with familiar materials that come from the Hindu worshipping practice. And those materials are: flowers, honey, kumkum, rice, ghee, milk, and fruit. And so, this work is an accumulative installation. The demarcated space begins very sparse, empty. For me, it represents the void. And through repetitive action of rolling dice and enacting the score, offering the material into the void, the accumulation takes place. So: I roll the dice, a seven-word score is determined by this randomization, I enter the space, I offer the items, I exit, I roll the dice, another seven-word score arises, and I go back in the space and offer again. And then it just keeps going back and forth between rolling the dice and enacting a newly generated score.


IF: Which creates a very acute sense of rhythm or rhythmicality. Is the length of each action same or similar? Is the length determined by any of the categories?

DB: Yeah, there are two kinds of timely categories. One arises from the constraint category which has: eyes closed, backwards, lingeringly, mouth open, hastily, and no hands. Some of these elements exist in ritual and some don’t. The other is felt through the vocalization category: sing, recite, hum, tone, silence, breath and noise.



IF: This work evolves, or accumulates, over a long period of time. Sometimes you perform for about three hours and one of the things you are interested in, within your practice, is duration. Working with time as an element or a material. I’m curious about this interest, and what happens to your performing body, and to the work as an entity in itself, when we allow for that length of time?

DB: I really like looking at duration in this work as another form of chance. I think that something collapses in duration. I think some people might call that entropy.

I was curious about what happens if the materials remain over time, contrary to the bathing aspect of puja. So, in my experience of puja, you offer these materials and they have a lifespan of maybe just a few minutes or a day. You might put some ghee on top of the Shiva Lingam and then wash it straightaway with water. So, there’s this kind of cycling that happens; it’s quite short. And I wanted to know what happens to these materials if they don’t get washed away. What happens if they sit there together? What happens if I walk on them? What happens if I lie on them?


IF: So you see the durational part of the performance pertaining to both you being in the space performing actions, but also this moments in between the performances when the materials are left in the space without the presence of your body?

DB: Definitely. It’s so much about material trace, gestural trace, intercultural trace. Every single item has that in the world. So, this could be thought of a microcosm of that.


IF: Is this where the littering aspect comes in, as well? At the beginning, you were talking about the connection between throwing dice and throwing rubbish. And what is left in the space could be read as a mess, or chaos. In one of the posts that you have done on Instagram the other day, you did speak about working with chaos.

DB: Yeah, very much so. And that’s what I really love about this work and going back to that idea of play between the unbridled and the uncontrollable, but also the constraint and the structure of the score. The score offers a strong structure. Like you said, there’s a strong structure that you can witness. The rhythm of the performance. Which oscillates between making a score – embodying the score; making a score – embodying the score. But what I love so much is that chance itself is not about complete openness. Structure is very important to creating improvised works – you’re setting up the space and the parameters for the improvisation to take place, or the unknown to occur, which is another way that I see the demarcated space and the void. Like, the void is the place where the unknown can occur, can arise.






IF: This unknown now increases as you bring two other bodies into the space. That just opens it to a whole other dimension of uncontrollability. Which is what this current research residency here at Critical Path with Performance Space is all about expanding this from a solo work into the work with two other bodies. So firstly, I’m interested when within the development of this work have you started entertaining the urge to involve others? And what does that do for the work? Why does that matter, I guess, for what the work is about? Because as a solo, the work is so intimate, so it’s an interesting choice to open it up.

DB: Some previous works of mine have focused on participation. And I see participation as a really interesting social form of art. I like the way it brings people’s bodies together, with intention. There is an implication and a responsibility that takes place amongst bodies, that I really enjoy. And in the infancy of this work, I was thinking how it would be amazing to do it as a participatory experience where people could create their own little ritual. Come in and throw the dice, make a randomized moment, and then create their own experience of a randomized ritual. So, it’s something that’s been in my mind for a while  How can it be with other people? And then, I was delivering a crit at uni and someone said, ‘why don’t you do it with more people? I can see it with more people.’ And I was like: Yeah, totally. Let’s do it with more people. How do you do that? How does that happen? So, when I saw the call out for your Experimental Choreographic Research residency, I thought this could be a chance to make this happen. And it was.

So much of this work is about what is already existing in my body, so I wanted to bring in other bodies to see how this work could be read or felt through people who may have experiences with Hindu ritual or may not. And it’s been unimaginably wonderful. I have been smiling so much, watching other performers in the space with me; seeing the humorous elements of the work that feels so internal and deeply personal. To see it translate into someone else’s body; it’s quite magical. And there are so many surprises.


IF: Tell me about some of the surprises.

DB: So, I’m working with Shareeka Helaluddin and Leo Tsao. Shareeka is a stunning sound artist, and also works on FBI radio presenting ‘Race Matters’. And Leo is a choreographer and a video artist and gorgeous performer. They are a really great combination who have brought an open presence and sensitivity to the work.

There’s so much room for improvisation and responsiveness in this work, and one of the things that stood out to me was: when does the score begin and when does it end? And how does someone read the score and interpret it with their bodies? So I’ll read out one of the seven-word scores that could be: on front, south, throw, rice, hands, lingeringly, mantra. And so, watching Leo start at the edge of the demarcated space on his front immediately, really enthralled me. When I’ve been performing it, I would walk in and then take the position of being on front. But it was so beautiful to see someone just dive in, get ready for the chaos, be on front of their body pushing through all the material that was already there – pushing through milk, pushing through the red kumkum powder. Just that sort of embrace of the chaos and the mess. Leaving traces that I haven’t yet made.


IF: So the work opens up for you, in terms of what can be done, what can be imagined? Including other performers opens it up to the other kinds of ideas and imaginations that are not necessarily present in your body, but are now becoming present because of being shared and seen through the action of others?

DB: Yeah, yeah. There’s definitely a drawing out of internal imagery or imagination or experiences. 



IF: And I’m also thinking how this inclusion of others may refresh the work, or your experience of it… Because the full number of potential combinations is not that large, is it?

DB: It’s about 131,000.


IF: What!?! Of these ones? 

DB: Yeah. 131,721, I think. Yeah, those are the potential possibilities of seven-word combinations.


IF: Oh wow, I didn’t think there would be that many, looking at this page of yours that lists the categories. Ok, well then the thought I had is totally irrelevant. Because one of the things I was wanting to say was that maybe given that the number of combinations is relatively limited, you may start getting bored performing this piece over and over again. Or you might start outsmarting yourself because it’s likely that you’ve already come across these combinations, these scores, multiple times. So, adding other people to perform alongside you could open up the work for you, so it becomes less known again; so you become interested in it again. But if there are so many combinations then this thought does not apply. 

DB: I love that you are saying this, though. Because it reminds me of this awesome moment I had while performing the work last year. And it’s related to that question you had about duration and what happens in duration. There was a moment when I performed this work last year – on the last day, last hour – where I encountered this feeling of hollowness. I didn’t know what I was feeling. I was like: What is this feeling? It felt as if I was not here. Although I had grounded myself and did all the presence-ing work I usually do. In the work I ring the bell prior to each dice rolling, as a way of clearing the tempo and energy from the previous offering.


IF: So the bell is like an alarm to centre you back into the beginning? To empty you?

DB: Yeah, yeah. Another form of demarcation. Because when I do an offering, it’s very sticky. I’m very deep in there and the residues of what has just happened are resonating in my body quite loudly.

So, this time I rang the bell and I was like: What is going on? And then I realised: Oooooh! I’ve reached this! I’ve reached the place of pointlessness! And it was beautiful because I had written about it, theoretically, but I didn’t know that it was arising at the time, and then I recognized it!


IF: So that place of pointlessness felt like you didn’t know where else to take the work? Like a dead end?

DB: No, I was still focused on doing the work, but I was no longer clear why am I doing this work? Cosmically, geologically, socially, politically, personally. All of these didn’t register anywhere.


IF: That would be a scary place to be in?

DB: Yeah, but also beautiful.


IF: Like, I could stop now?

DB: No I could stop. More like, I know that I have to keep going and that there’s a job to do, but it was… Maybe pointless is the wrong word. Maybe it is that it was: Oh, this feels arbitrary.


I think it’s the thing of repetition. I think that’s what it is. You know when things are repeated over and over again, you get that weird sensation of: what is this, I don’t know where this belongs anymore? Because there was so much drive and so much reason and purpose behind it. And I was thinking that part of the collapse in the durational aspect of it would be reaching a place of pointlessness.


IF: Like, collapsing of the purpose … I have also contemplated the idea or a sensation of ‘transcendence’ in relation to this work. It felt – perhaps because of that repetition – that the work could be meditative for you? Because there are these clear sections that are physicalised in a repetitive manner – sit down, roll the dice, write down the score, stand up, enter the space, enact the score, exit the space, sit down, roll the dice, and so on – which could lead to that transcendental state of losing yourself so to say; losing the consciousness of yourself. So, you are now just performing the action.

DB: It’s interesting because that very much did happen after every session. I would definitely feel otherworldly. But there’s something about the bell. And there’s something about my way of rolling the dice. So when I roll the dice, I’m Devika. I’m just being casual. I’m just rolling the dice. It’s not heightened or stylized. And then when I perform the task, all I’m focusing on is delivering the offering. That is all I’m doing. Responding to the instructions that I have been given. I’m not trying to be ritualistic or ritualise anything. While I’m in the demarcated space, it is a performance body in a way but I’m not performing ritual as such, I’m just performing a task.


IF: Which is interesting to consider… You know, you say that while you’re rolling the dice outside of the demarcated space, on its edge, you are simply Devika and not performing. But the thing is that you are still performing, because we still see you. The attention is still on you. And that’s for me where you bring to our attention the mechanics of the performance – performance as a form of ritual. Seeing your work made me realise how ritualistic the performances are. The way we enter the space, the floor on which we perform which is like a pedestal or an altar, in some way… So in your work, it is as if we are seeing both behind the curtain and in front of the curtain. We see you on the edge of the performance space performing this decision-making process which informs what will happen when you eventually enter the space. And still we don’t know what that decision was, we don’t know what the score is. Are you imagining that we are guessing?

DB: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of guessing that happens. And I really like that this score-making process is quite private. There was a rendition that I did last year where I wrote the scores on a wall so everyone could see it. And it was a whole different game. It was actually more of a gaming, because then…


IF: … then we would judge you…

DB: Yeah!


IF: … are you performing it correctly.

DB: Yeah. Yeah. And I quite liked it because it brought the viewers into the stakes of what was happening. But then through deliberation and many conversations, I realised it’s an indexing that’s happening twice. And it doesn’t need to happen twice. It happens purely with the body. So just performing it is enough and keeping the score to myself is important for the surprise and the uncertainty that is experienced in the viewer.


IF: One person who saw the development the other day told you, in fact, that they prefer not knowing the score. Do you know why that was, did they explain? 

DB: I think it’s just about the mystery, and that guessing game. Because it’s reading. I think what’s happening when we go to shows and performances, is that we’re always reading. But there’s a very active kind of reading and curiosity that takes place in this work. And I think that’s what they were enjoying.





IF: Another thing I wanted to ask, in relation to working with two other performers… I was wondering whether there is communication between the three of you during the performance? Or are you interested in the randomness of non-communicating, and the incidental harmony or incidental chaos that is created through that?

DB: Yeah, that’s beautiful. Because that’s so much of what I experienced on Sunday when we were all together. There were these moments of, yeah, incidental harmony. Like at one point, we were all facing north, humming. There’s just an extra level of chance and coincidence and meeting and encounter. In the solo work the encounter is something else. But in a group work the encounter is multiplied by the number of people, and also the density of the space. And the accumulation is three-fold now; so it becomes faster and quicker. 

In terms of communication… We are each in our own world with the scores. We’re making and delivering our own scores, independently and simultaneously. We don’t communicate verbally with each other or look at each other directly. But we see each other with our periphery and relate to each other in the space. So there is a level of consideration of how to place yourself in that relation – Do you go and join that other body? Do you stand next to that body? Do you choose to be contrasted and stand at a corner? There are all these different ways of approaching how one enters the demarcated space. Because there’s so much decision making in this even while its chance based. I just love that. Choosing the decision for indecisions.


IF: Yeah, the human agency that is playing out. Because you could give these scores to a robot to simply enact, but instead you have this human consciousness of performing an action.

DB: Definitely. And lots of that is: desire. The one thing that this work reveals is your desire for what score you might want to show someone. You might think ‘Oh, okay, this person is in the audience, I think they would like this or I think they would like that’. Or I really want to have a score that does this or that. For example, when I first showed you the work, I had ‘lingeringly’ twice and I was like: Oh, not ‘lingeringly’; everyone’s going to think I move slow every time, and having that one repeated is not what the work is. It’s much more textured than that. So, I recognise that at times I desire to do something hastily because it’s funnier or I want a funny combination. But I can’t choose that. I mean, I can choose. I can choose to defy the whole score. But I just love how it reveals…


IF: Controls you in some ways. 

DB: Mmmm. But also reveals what you want … And that you can’t get that.




IF: And in terms of the size of the demarcated space. Given you have involved a couple of other bodies, did that mean that you have expanded the parameters of the demarcated space, or is this the size of the space that you perform in solo as well?

DB: I think it might just be slightly bigger. Yeah, I think it’s just slightly bigger. And also, you know, within this residency, I had a list of ways that I wanted to work with people. Thinking about the different aspects that could be shifted. Like thinking about shifting the scores, shifting temporalities, shifting the space. Wondering if we all offer into the same space? Do we offer into our own spaces? Do we have our own collection of items each?


IF: Do you each have two dice? 

DB: We all have our own dice, yeah. But I was considering: does someone else throw the dice for you? Does someone else make the score? 


IF: This could become a part of the category as well. 

DB: Totally. Exactly. This is a part of the participation that I kind of want to move into. Like, does an audience member become a participant and then maybe this work doesn’t even move until somebody else creates a score for me, or us. It can kind of happen in these different ways. And I like that it’s going back to dice, you know; there’s so much chat about AI and I like that this is kind of old school and with the body. 




IF: Another curiosity I had is the decision to leave this tiny bit open [points to the gap in the demarcated space where the tape is not sealed], so it looks like a potential entrance or the doorway. And from what I experienced the other day when you showed us a 20-minute version of the performance, which contained a couple of actions, you have never actually entered through that space or crossed it. So can you tell me a bit about the decision to keep that open?

DB: There’s something about it that’s like inviting something in or out. I don’t know what it is. It’s like an energy exchange.


IF: Between the outside and inside?

DB: Yeah. It’s about this porousness that I’m really interested in when we think about what is sacred, what is profane; what is inside, what is outside, what is imminent and what is transcendent. It’s just something I’m testing out. Because I don’t want to close it. Today I set it up again and I was like, do I want to close it off? And it’s like, no, I really liked the breathing room and I like that there’s also an inquisitiveness about it, and it brings to the attention how people assume what a gap is or that a gap has a function. And it doesn’t have to have a function. And in this new development of the work – the one I am going to share with you and a few others tomorrow – I’m thinking about a way to open up the possibilities of what is contained and what is opened. And I’m using the tape as a way to play with that. That’s like a whole new thing; this thing of boundary playing.


IF: So I have a question… Because, in one of the actions you were performing the other day, you were walking backwards and as soon as you stepped on the line, you immediately stopped performing the action. So if you were to find yourself moving backwards and coming across that bit of the space that is like an opening, where there is no tape, would you keep performing?

DB: That’s a good question. I don’t know. I like that question, though, because I do see that this green tape is a specific demarcation and that I do want to drop off the offering there. The offering drops off at the green, when I’m out, and it begins when I’m in. I think this hole is an experiment, just to see what happens. 


IF: Now that you mention the word ‘experiment’, I wanted to ask you a bit about the importance and benefits of residencies like this one by Critical Path and Performance Space which support the experimentation and research, without the pressure of an imminent outcome. Could you reflect a bit on what these kinds of opportunities to simply experiment mean for artists?

DB: So this work Offerings is conceptually tied to the notion of gaps and holes. And I really like that this residency feels like a bit of a hole in my life, a bit of a gap. It’s like a gift. There’s something about its parameters that allows for thinking and making. Residencies are like that. They are filled with so much unknown, and so you can fill them with so many things. You can fill them with pairings of things you didn’t know about, or things that you want to try out. And this one made it possible to engage other artists and to experiment with other artists who have different practices as well. I didn’t want to engage with strictly dancers because I was interested in an untrained body that has experience with ritual.


IF: Which you see in choreographic terms in a way, because of those gestures that are a choreography in itself.

DB: Yeah, definitely. And so, yeah, this has been so generative. And especially this space, there’s just been so much support. And, there’s possibility in the way that the floor has been made, the different types of lighting that can be considered, which spurs other ideas as well. But I think that being here has actually materialized a vision. You know, I’ve had this vision where I want to share this with other bodies and to see what happens and to watch the dispersal of energy between bodies and material. And yeah, this residency has been so generous in offering that.

And also, it’s scary to try new things that may fail. And I think that’s a part of what a residency is about; to offer this really great testing ground.


IF: I’m very curious about the gap. Can you expand a bit more on what you mean by that?

DB: The gap is another way of looking at ideas of indeterminacy. It also speaks to what theorist Margaret Iversen states as the gap between intention and the outcome in art making, which is crucial for chance practices and risk taking. So for example, I’m a painter and I kind of know what I want to paint and I paint it. So the gap between my intention and what I actually do is quite closed. But in this situation where I have an intention, and I’m given time and space, there’s so much more that can take place that I don’t know what the outcome is going to be precisely. And so that kind of stretching between intention and outcome, or known outcome, that is a gap that is crucial to chance making in art practices. There is a suspension in knowing and not knowing what might happen. It all comes back to indeterminacy.


PHOTO CREDITS: All images are by Sarah Kukathas taken during Devika Bilimoria’s development-sharing at Critical Path, April 2023.

The Experimental Choreographic Residency is a partnership between Performance Space and Critical Path.   




Is an evocation and publication.

Via private WIKI, a diverse team of inspiring choreographically and digitally involved artists have imagined SciFi futures and subsequent physical realities for our human bodies.

More about the publication:

(The texts below will be online from November 13th 2022 until December 2026)

The following invited artists drafted their contributions directly into the, iterating in front of each other, editing or adding to each others work through permission-less and playful hyperlinking.

Additionally, M@ approached this question as a movement based enquiry titled Our Bodies Are Only Ours When We’re Dancing. Hoping that choreography-as-a-technology may help us take our bodies with us into the future.
Romain Hassanin, Bgirl Raygun, and M@, worked together in a studio, dancing and thinking, co-authoring a contribution to the publication titled The Future Arrives At All Costs.


This project has been supported by:




Images:  Hero image designed by Iris Shen for the publication – How Will We Take Our Bodies With Us Into The Future?

Massaged by the Medium

Massaged by the Medium.
Inventories of Affect.

Is a book project by artists across UTC +7 through +12 working to make felt the embodied effects of our (chronic) digital condition. It asks, What is what we’re doing, doing back to us?

Click here to download PDF public release beta (11mb)

The site of all digital experience is the interface, the realty [sic] where digital technology and human biology are inter-actors upon one another. As we wield the interface upon digital assets, so does the interface write itself into our movement and into our thinking.

If we shape our environment and then our environment shapes us, let us consider that;

  • The screen is breathtaking, the medical term for this is screen apnea.
  • Confirmation bias is a currency, googlemaps’ political borders adapt to your IP address1.
  • Predictive text is a misnomer for think-assist… thus writing-to-think does itself becomes a tandem act of mundane cyborgism.


A button is a luxury in the default of touchscreens.

A playlist is not a mixtape. An email is not a letter. This PDF is not a book.




Inspired by “The Medium is the Massage” we shift focus from the cultural ramifications of the electronic age to those of our digital age. With modality also informed by “Understanding Comics”, “At Large (with reasonable doubt)” and “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”.

If we are what we repeatedly do then we are input to a global fibre optic network. If we are the sum of our environment then we are peripherals carrying out tasks decided by overlapping algorithms, optimised towards opaque incentives.

This book encourages playful reasoning from first principles to help us make apparent and bear witness to second order effects.

Digital can extend human will, but it is also an alien lifeform, a social phenomena, the material condition of our shared context. We are doing this. And what is that doing back to us?

Lead: M@

Designer: Travis DeVries

Editor: Chloe Chignell


Indigenous Dramaturgy in Dance: Research Findings

The Critical Path: Indigenous dramaturgy in dance project has created space for action research in the framework of a fully engaged and culturally grounded approach to considering and supporting Indigenous Australian dramaturgies in dance.

Project managed and curated by Jasmine Gulash Producer, First Nations Critical Path

Article prepared by Tammi Gissell (BA, PTP (Hons) Collections Coordinator, First Nations Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences

Marilyn Miller, Raymond D Blanco, Kirk Page, Jasmin Sheppard, Henrietta Baird, Lily Shearer, Vicki Van Hout, Jacob Boehme

Shana O’Brien, Amy Flannery, Kassidy Waters, Jye Uren

Peta Strachan, Matthew Doyle, Jo Clancy, Katie Leslie, Neville Boney, Aroha Pehi, Tara Robertson



Read Indigenous Dramaturgy in Dance: Research Findings

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