Arts House and Footscray Community Arts breaking down barriers through dance

Arts House and Footscray Community Arts breaking down barriers through dance
Kaylah Joelle Baker

Shows and events at North Melbourne’s Arts House are well and truly underway in 2022 with a collection of colour, music and movement being at the forefront of its enthusiastic comeback.

    Arts House Artistic Director Emily Sexton believes there is no time like the present for artists to finally have their moment and voice given back to them.

“We’ve heard a lot in the past two years from certain parts of the community about what we have been going through – from politicians, the media and a range of experts – that is all valid, but personally I’m so ready to hear from artists who are thinking through this crisis with a different lens,” she said.

Not exempt from the hassles of rescheduling, after creating the show during last year’s lockdown, is North Melbourne local Lucy Guerin Inc’s Flux Job.

Hitting the stage from March 16 to 20 with an Auslan interpreted performance scheduled for March 17, the performance will centre around four dancers walking the line between individual and shared experiences.

And after seeing an early run of the show, Ms Sexton said, “it’s a work that will remind people just how vital live performance can be.”

“There is a special thread of power and vulnerability in this show; the performances are exceptional, with lots of super interesting choreography and quite dramatic, gothic, romantic moments,” she said.

“Then there is a central section of storytelling that is very touching. I can see the meeting of creative minds in this show very clearly.”

As Arts House continues to develop its “blockbuster” programming for the year, Ms Sexton is “excited” for audiences to see other stories around topics that don’t involve the pandemic. A topic that has become all-consuming and “overwhelming”.

“You can expect to come into the North Melbourne Town Hall and feel really connected to your community, to new ideas, and to something bigger and more sublime that what you’ll be able to find in your own house.”

Also following suit with bringing live performance back to audiences and leaning on dance to encourage the community to celebrate artistic performances, is Footscray Community Arts.

Kicking off the year with an event that extends outside of its building, the Footscray Community Arts lawns will play host to L2R Dance who are presenting a Block Party on Saturday, March 12.

Filling the grounds with electric hip-hop culture, L2R Dance founder, CEO and artistic director Jacinda Richards believes in the potential dance and their Block Party can have on the community.

“Dance is an empowering exchange – it breaks down social barriers, embraces meaningful connections and brings us all together,” Richards said.

“We want to show how dance plays an important role in the lives of our young dancers, including our current ‘Igniting Legends’ who are passionate leaders committed within their cultural communities.”

The Igniting Legends program is a 12-month paid internship that was given to “emerging artists” to aid in building their artistic skills and strengthen their pathway into their prospective careers.

Among the interns is Ugandan actor, model, dancer and singer Urlik Mageza, whom audiences will be able to support at the Block Party when he performs a collection of songs that will feature on his soon-to-be-released music EP.

L2R Dance Block Party will run from midday to 7pm and bookings can be made through the L2R website.

A barbecue lunch and food trucks will be on-site for audiences to enjoy while being entertained by hip-hop jams and battles, DJs and live music.

Bookings for L2R Dance Block Party: l2r.org.au/block-party •

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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