Dancers create bold new worlds in North Melbourne

Book your tickets to see some of the world’s most gripping contemporary dance on your doorstep this Melbourne International Arts Festival, as Arts House presents a jaw-dropping program in North Melbourne.

From physical theatre that tests the limits of everyday office supplies to a thrilling dance duet in a space that grows ever smaller, four epic performances are set to enthral and entertain this October.

Antony Hamilton, Artistic Director of Chunky Move, will present Token Armies, an ambitious work featuring varied lifeforms, animatronics designed by the experts behind King Kong and Walking with Dinosaurs, and other unexpected elements.

Epic in scale, with 23 performers involved, this world-premiere event is already one of the most talked-about works at this year’s festival.

‘Creature Technology has developed some really incredible visual elements for the work, building a unique world that audiences are invited to inhabit,’ said Antony.

‘Thematically, Token Armies probes our tactile obsession, and the prominence of tools and the hands that use them in our real world, and looks at how we could find a utopia without these bodily extensions.

‘The work also looks at how we negotiate a shared space and existence with other lifeforms.’

Antony said that part of the beauty of contemporary performance is the excitement that the work you are about to experience will be transformative, but there is every chance it could also be perplexing.

‘Performances like Token Armies are important because they give us another prism through which to view the human experience, where we can reflect on things that language can’t always describe,’ Antony said.

‘The practice of dance and movement has an embodied reality that reveals something about the bodies we inhabit and are inextricably bound to. It’s only in the practice itself that this can be known and experienced.

‘The French “enfant terrible” choreographer Jerome Bel once said, and I’m paraphrasing, that art-goers are akin to gamblers. My advice is that it’s best to expect the unexpected, and come to the artform with openness and curiosity.’

While at Chunky Move, Antony aims to expand the company’s role amid the dance sector, champion the work of artists from Melbourne and beyond, and hopefully launch a fellowship to support an outstanding artist.

Councillor Rohan Leppert, Chair of the Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio said Arts House capitalises on partnerships to present ground-breaking contemporary performance and nurture our city as a cultural capital.

‘Arts House is our city’s creative engine room, where we support artists with funding, studio time, technical equipment and production expertise to develop new work into high-profile performances,’ Cr Leppert said.

‘The upcoming events in North Melbourne are a testament to the hard work of many talented creative people, including Melbourne International Arts Festival’s outgoing Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway.

‘I encourage Melburnians to dive in to this extraordinary program, and I look forward to seeing more great work from the festival’s new artistic directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek from 2020.’

Token Armies by Chunky Move runs from 16 to 20 October. Overture by Jo Lloyd, Split by Lucy Guerin Inc and High Performance Packing Tape by Branch Nebula all run from 2 to 6 October.

For more information, visit Arts House.