10. 12. 2015

Engaging with Dance

This is an exciting new program that I am taking to the Riverland that will extend to other regional areas over the next two years. I have been working with Country Arts SA and the local communities to find out more about the dance that is already active and happening and looking at ways to connect this physical art form to the broader public. What really excites me about this program is the many possibilities to creatively find ways for people to interact with movement. Contemporary Dance is for me a style and art form that is open to interpretation by anyone who is willing to interact with it. This being the maker, dancer or viewer. How does contemporary dance engage us and what do we gain from watching it or being a part of it?

Well everyone’s opinion and view of it is different and there is ultimately no right or wrong response. This is why it is up for interpretation. It can inform a fascinating insight into what it means to be human without displaying literal meanings. It allows people to create their own stories and challenge them to think for themselves by drawing on their own life experiences.

As a performer this style allows us to explore dance with no boundaries both physically and creatively. Yet sometimes this kind of work can be seen as self indulgent or perhaps inaccessible to a broader viewing public.

How do we break this perception of contemporary dance in order to bring audiences in to experience the freedom of thought this style offers?

This is where my thoughts for this program have stemmed from. And a couple of ideas I’m playing with are to engage the public through physically learning contemporary moves via an interactive dance maze and also through a chance to be the choreographer via directed interaction with dancers in a public space.

Hopefully these interactive and fun activities can reach and engage with all age groups and show how dance can be accessible to anyone. Or at least get them thinking about movement in a different way.

We are in the process of building the dance maze at the moment and working with an architect to design a fun space to explore and create a dance phrase that everyone can learn. I will be documenting this process and talking about it more in this blog. As well as working closely with an App designer to assist people in verbal direction that goes with the dance maze. This will also allow people to upload and view others who have been through the maze experience.

It will be interesting to see who tries this and whether it changes their perception of abstract movement. I’m not sure what the outcome may be but hopefully a tactile experience can offer an easy way into learning and experiencing dance.

I’ll keep you updated and if you want to know more, LIKE our DanceXtend facebook page to keep informed of activities to come.


Image Credit: Pippa Dodds

Larissa McGowan



Country Arts SA recognises and respects that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.