Tamsin, Sarah and Claire- Choreographers of Cerebral Cortex. Photo by Cam Robinson.

Cerebral Cortex

By Tamsin McLinden, Claire Leske and Sarah Bruce

Cerebral Cortex is a triple bill consisting of three unique and contrasting works presented by emerging artists in both choreography and dance; Tamsin McLinden, Claire Leske and Sarah Bruce. We are students of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) and have selected the recently introduced dance elective subject – Independent Contract – this semester. Independent Contract allows dance students the freedom to explore an area that particularly interests them, with the support of the staff and facilities of the VCA. We were all interested in using this subject as an opportunity to choreograph and publicly produce our own work and so we decided to join forces to create a triple bill and enter it in the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

The three works we have created are all very different from each other, and we hope that there will be ‘something for everyone.’ This opportunity has given us the chance to grow as choreographers, and experience the challenges and joys of producing our own work.

Informed Cluelessness, Choreographed by Claire Leske
The idea for this work began to develop during election time last year. I was overwhelmed with the dramatic political statements people, who normally had little interest in the news and whose priorities did not include current affairs, were professing. I was amazed at how suddenly people’s views became so bold and impassioned.

These thoughts stayed with me as I travelled overseas during the summer break. I began to despise other tourists, their ignorance and sense of ownership was at times humiliating. When I saw a lady climbing the stairs of a 1,000 year old heritage listed ruined temple in a denim mini skirt to get ‘the perfect photo’ I realised ignorance was the point of interest for me. Ignorance about the world and context that is outside of our day-to-day bubble.

There are so many opportunities to educate ourselves on current affairs with constant information flooding our daily life, but how much of it is valid, well researched, unbiased? And how much are we actually taking in? Do we watch The Project because ‘it makes all the bad news fun’? Then when it comes time to make decisions about our lives and future by casting a vote, do we draw on the limited knowledge we have and compensate by making profound and passionate arguments?

See Through, Choreographed by Sarah Bruce
Throughout my time choreographing, I have developed a strong interest in both the real and imagined world around us. See Through is a solo work I choreographed on myself which explores a personal view of my imagined kinesphere. I looked at two different views of the kinesphere, the inside and the out with two contrasting sections. To develop movement and the basis for the work, I experimented a lot with video footage I took myself, capturing any texture or colour that caught my eye.

See Through came together to represent what we feel and experience on the inside is not necessarily what you will see from the outside.

Girt By Sea, Choreographed by Tamsin McLinden
Girt By Sea is a dance theatre work that explores our identity as Australians and the stereotypical characteristics that we are perceived to have. The work questions whether these stereotypes are in fact accurate, and if so, is that a good thing? Or should we be taking a long hard look at who we are, and how we want the world to perceive us.

I started the process by interviewing each of my four performers about their hometown and their thoughts on different aspects of Australian culture. Each performer in the work is from a different part of Australia (Brisbane, Canberra, Geelong, Mildura and I am from Perth). During these conversations we realised that in each of our hometowns there were similar types of people, attitudes and ideals. The piece then began to develop from our own ongoing observations of Australian people.

The characters presented in Girt By Sea were created based on the traits and characteristics that we as young Australians see in people around us… and quite often in ourselves!

Informed Cluelessness
Choreographed by
Performed by
Sound Design by

See Through
Choreographed and Performed by
Sound Design by
Set Design by

Girt By Sea
Choreographed by
Performed by
Sound Design by
Production Team
Stage Manager
Lighting Design by

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