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Fights And Flights

Fights And FlightsFights And Flights is the latest production from Perth contemporary dance company for young people, STEPS. As they are celebrating their 25th anniversary we caught up with artistic director Alice Lee Holland.

“There are a lot of opportunities for young people to dance around Perth, but what makes STEPS different is we are a contemporary dance company for young people. What we do is not teach young people to dance, but we give them an authentic dance experience which is immersive in the collaborative region of contemporary dance. They are young artists in our work. They are part of the process, they contribute their ideas, their movement, their thoughts and their stories to the process. They become central to the work. The big difference is we treat them like professional artists. We give them full respect and trust. We expect them to work and we encourage them to develop and work independently in that process as well. So they’re really carrying on from STEPS with a thorough understanding of what contemporary dance is, what creative work is, and what being an artist is all about. We don’t treat them like kids, but we do allow them to be young people and have all that energy, and use that enthusiasm and that rawness, and that passion. But they are independent young artists.”

For Holland, dance is a very special language. “For me dance has a capacity to reveal things that can’t be spoken. That level of depth and experience, that can’t be shared. Not something you can put into words. Allowing movement, space and time to say those things.”

Fights And Flights represents a intersection of kung fu, theatre and, of course, dance. “Always difficult to talk about the work as so deeply inside it. But it’s about how life can be difficult and very beautiful, and how those are connected. More specifically the work is about the battle you can have in life. When you make the decision to go into something it can be a struggle and you might not win. And the moments of what we call flight, there are two different variations. One is the excitement and the adrenaline, experiences of a moment. The other is more about peace and being of the moment. If you make those difficult decisions to go into battle, whether external or internal, you can reach new levels of satisfaction or peace in flight.”

“When we do a big production like this we always like to include an alternative physical discipline to extend our senior dancers and give them something else they can train in. Also to enhance the metaphor of the work and to give them something to help frame the dance. Kung fu is an obvious example of fight, but how we have used it in the work is we have used some of the moves to create flight. We use striking to create lifts and throws have little airborne movements there. It is an epic production, the biggest in the companies history. 55 dancers between the age of seven and 19 then five professional dancers – themselves returning company members.”

DAVID O’CONNELL

Fights And Flights is on at the State theatre Centre on Friday, May 9, Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 11. For tickets and session times, go to Ticketek.com.au.

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