Benjamin Hancock

Australian premiere: Chunky Move’s ‘Keep Everything’

Since the 1990s, Chunky Move has produced works that defy contemporary dance conventions, pushed creative boundaries, and created new languages (in movement). Their new work, ‘Keep Everything’, follows in this distinctive tradition.

Each year, Chunky Move commissions a new work as part of their Next Move series, created by emerging Australian dance talent to nurture a new generation of established artists.

Chunky Move’s latest production, Keep Everything by the acclaimed choreographer Antony Hamilton, is a collection of things that don’t fit — ‘a scrapbook for the stage’.

Hamilton, who has created Keep Everything for the 2012 Next Move commission has previously created I Like This for the 2008 Next Move program, which saw success in performances in Sydney, San Diego, New York and Macau after it’s premiere Melbourne season.

This new work, which runs from 14th June to 23rd June, is supported by llighting designer Benjamin Cisterne, audiovisual dynamo Robin Fox, and award winning sound designers Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes (more famously known as The Presets).

Taking centre stage are VCA dance alumni Alisdair Macindoe and Benjamin Hancock. We catch up with both of them in-between rehearsals for a quick Q&A.

What’s ‘Keep Everything’ about?

Alisdair: The show is a glimpse into the mind of a wizard lord approaching a group of dinosaurs who are playing scrabble!! More seriously, you could say that it is a work that reflects upon our desire to make sense of things.

Benjamin: When performing in a work you never really get to read the work from the outside, being one of the performers you begin to create your own journey through the piece. With this solo journey you tend to create a different world to what an audience or a fellow performer may be experiencing. For me the work has three compartments, a journey and bleed of information followed by many shifts between different behaviors finishing with a complex movement sequence.

When did you decide you wanted to be a dancer? 

Alisdair: Age five.

Benjamin: I started playing sport – all quite individual sports like karate and gymnastics. From these I noticed I liked to move but I found I wanted to be more creative. I took up dance as a subject at High School and found that I really liked contemporary. My teacher suggested I apply for VCA, which I have recently graduated from.

Alisdair Macindoe
Alisdair Macindoe

What is the most challenging aspects of being a dancer these days?

Alisdair: For me it has always been flexibility.

Benjamin: For me the challenge is to be able to shift through my different abilities and offer what is appropriate for each project. I have an interest in exploring different processes, but the hard thing with that is to be true and on top of each of them. To give them all equal value.

How did you get involved with Chunky Move? How is it different to other dance companies?

Alisdair: My first job with Chunky Move was dancing for Antony Hamilton and Byron Perry. I had danced with them previously. Chunky Move is renowned for new and innovative work.

Benjamin: I was asked by Gideon to be apart of Assembly in September last year. Over my 4 years out of VCA I found that Gideon saw me in other works and also in classes held at chunky. I think it doesn’t hurt to show interest to who you would want to work with. Since graduating I have mainly been working with independent choreographers. my only other company dance work has been with Lucy Guerin inc. I had an amazing opportunity to perform in Untrained which also consisted of a small cast. Both shows toured within Australia which was pretty fun.

How has the VCA shaped your career? 

Alisdair: The interests and skills you acquire studying are the backbone to your career. The trick is to always study! School is the best place to learn how to study.

Benjamin: VCA has given me the tools to go out in the industry. I had opportunities to create my own work and I am now continuing my exploration in my own practice. But I think the best thing is that VCA dance is right where the action is, we had external teachers who are makers and creators in the industry which is so exciting, they get to see you early on and then the potential to work with them after graduating is much easier, because they know what you have learnt and especially they have an understanding of how you move already. And finally I had the great opportunity to choreograph on the 2nd year students last year, this was such a rewarding experience to be supported in an area that I want to continue to pursue.

A version of this article originally appeared on Channel, the Faculty’s previous publishing platform.