[JAPAN/AUSTRALIA – WORLD PREMIERE]
by Rosie van Heerde.
A professional dancer for ten years, Australian choreographer Kyle Page has worked with a plethora of choreographic ‘greats’ including Meryl Tankard, Gavin Webber and Lucy Guerin. Over 2013/14 Kyle took up an Asialink residency, spending three months creating his own new work, Syncing Feeling with partner Amber Haines, in Varanasi, India. OzAsia Festival 2015 brings Kyle to Adelaide to present Spectra; a performance piece that combines contemporary dance, Japanese Butoh, live music and digital artworks.
The Clothesline speaks with Kyle Page, via email, about his career, the spectacle that is Spectra and his collaboration with Tokyo’s Batik Dance Company, installation artist Tatsuo Miyajima and composer Jiro Matsumoto.
“I began dancing at the age of nine after seeing my sister taking a few classes.” he says. “I quickly took to it and was soon dancing six days a week! From day one my family have been extraordinarily supportive of everything that I have pursued, forever driving me to and from class and flying me around the country so I could attend workshops and residencies. They continue to be my biggest fans and there is rarely an opening night that my parents don’t attend!”
Having performed in 17 countries around the world, Kyle has many memories and shares one of his most unforgettable performance experiences in Kriti Gallery in Varanasi, India.
“I was there on an Asialink residency with my wife Amber Haines developing a new duet titled Syncing Feeling. At the conclusion of the residency we held a showing in the small concrete garage we were working in. There were around 25 Indians crammed into this tiny space, none of whom had seen contemporary dance before! The response from that incredibly intimate performance will stay with me forever!”
How do you make decisions about which projects you perform?
“I work rather intuitively so when the right project or concept bubbles up there are many things that seem to fall in place to facilitate its development. I also work very collaboratively with Amber who has a wealth of insight and wonderful perspective, so if a project gets the go ahead from both of us it is generally worth tackling!”
Seeking new challenges seems to invigorate Kyle’s creativity.
“I am naturally quite ambitious,” he explains, “so I am forever seeking new challenges both personally and professionally. In terms of creating new work, I see myself as more of a facilitator than a director. If I can gather the right mix of people in a supported creative environment the work almost takes over from that point on. Of course there are challenges that are presented from time to time, but through the process of navigating challenges unimagined possibilities often arise.”
Artistically, is there anything you have yet to do/achieve/try?
“So many things!” Kyle says. “I am at the very beginning of a long road that will undoubtedly take many twists and turns along the way… I am really interested in remote residencies and all that they offer creatively. I recently sailed a Barquentine Tall Ship around Svalbard for three weeks as part of the Arctic Circle Residency which was mind blowing; to be so far away from the world with no phone or internet opened up a huge amount of creative capacity in ways that I could never have imagined.”
Can you describe the story that is at the core of Spectra? What do you most hope your audience will experience during the show?
“Conceptually, Spectra stems from the idea of ‘dependent origination’ – the idea that everything in existence is linked through causality. When you strip this down the essence of the work suggests that in every moment you are sowing the seeds of your future. For me this simple truth is both beautiful and empowering and I hope that in a very personal way audience members will recognise the power in every moment to shape what is to follow.”
Kyle explains the style and influences to be found in Spectra, its appeal and accessibility for the audience.
“Spectra is a marriage of many forms with each individual performer adding their own unique approach and physicality to the final work. The Butoh element primarily manifests through the intention and delivery of the movement, with a great deal of time spent investigating the essence of what is being explored. The cast is simply superb and the breadth of physicality that these six extraordinary performers bring to the stage ensures that there is something for everyone, no matter how well versed you are in contemporary dance or Japanese Butoh.”
This work contains dance alongside live music and digital artworks. How did installation artist Tatsuo Miyajima and composer Jiro Matsumoto become involved in this project and how will their talents contribute to the Spectra experience for audiences?
“You simply can’t beat live music on stage!” Kyle enthuses. “There is something ephemeral about the immediacy of live music that recorded music cannot provide. Jiro has worked with dancers for many years in Japan and understands the nuances of performance – with that comes a reflexive style that supports and enhances the performers.
“Tatsuo Miyajima is an incredibly well known installation artist in Japan whom I came to know after seeing an exhibition of his in Tokyo. I was immediately drawn to his very slick minimalist aesthetic so with the manager’s permission Amber and I took a series of photographs in front of his work in the gallery. I then sent the images to Tatsuo and after a month of emails and negotiations managed to convince him to join the project. Tatsuo’s design for the work, titled Forest Of Time, is incredibly beautiful and provides the foundation from which the works overall design will emerge.”
Have you worked with the Batik Dance Company before? How did this collaboration come about?
“Yes, back in 2006 as part of an Australia/Japan exchange. I was a dancer in Dancenorth and Gavin Webber was co-directing the work with Batik’s Artistic Director Ikuyko Kuroda. I was lucky enough to be involved in the project and have maintained contact with the Japanese cast members ever since!”
What artists/shows are you most looking forward to seeing in Adelaide during OzAsia?
“I am blown away to be in a festival alongside dancer and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui [performing Play with Shantala Shivalingappa] so can’t wait to see his work. I am also really excited to see Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker and Rioji Ikeda’s superposition.”
What is the best advice you could give someone on how to stay passionate about their work, no matter what they do?
“Keep seeking change and finding excitement in all that it brings. Change is constant so if you can view it as positive you will forever grow and find new things to be interested and passionate about.”
Kyle Page performs Spectra at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times on Tue 29 Sep until Thu 1 Oct.
Book at BASS on 131 246 or bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
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