25. 10. 2016

Mt Gambier Show

DanceXtend made it’s way to the Mount Gambier Show this weekend. We took both the Dance Jungle Gym and Be the Choreographer, as well as a fabulous group of professional dancers and some local dance volunteers. This was quite an epic 2 days, with dancers alternating between the Jungle Gym and the stage for Be the Choreographer.

I asked one of our professional dancers to give her feedback on how it all went. It is good to get a different take on how it unfolded and the response from another performer allows me to form a more rounded collection of thoughts and future possibilities.

Mt Gambier 20th- 23rd October 2016

Kialea-Nadine Williams

Day one

Travel day to Mt Gambier from Adelaide. Peter, Maddy and I taught a 1.5 hour workshop to the local dancers from MJ Dance and Envy Dance School. I lead the warm up and part of the improvisation workshop; the talent was impressive, so much so that I changed my tactics during the first two exercises of the warm up. I worked on technical and fun exercises that moved the dancers through the space, allowing them to explore a different way of moving in contemporary dance that wasnt lyrical.

The second part of the workshop was lead by Peter where we got the groups to use the application, experimenting with movement thinking laterally, to push this idea further I asked each group to travel across the floor using the instructions of the application so they could work on timing, pace, travel, levels ad musicality. I found some of the dancers became self conscience and lost confidence whilst moving across the floor, when spotting this we all reiterated that there is no right and no wrong its all creativity – we as teachers and workshop leaders were extremely happy that they were sharing their ideas with us.

During the crossings of the space using the application I observed that the dancers would naturally go to shapes and sequences that they were familiar with, I thought Id throw a spanner in the works! I lead an improvisation where the dancers had to move around the room leading with a body part, allowing that body part to manipulate the rest of the body creating a sensation rather than a generic shape. I added body parts in opposition allowing the dancers to spiral around the space not thinking about steps, we played with the speed, dynamic changes, levels and changes of directions. In hindsight I think this part of the workshop wouldve been better before the application as it wouldve allowed the dancers to explore this way of moving using the application.

Day two and three

Mt Gambier Show

This was my first time involved with this project, on day two I was getting my bearings and found that I spent most of my time on the stage and encouraging others to use the iPad application to be the director. I found the general public to be very intrigued by what we were doing, some of course were not overly nice but others wanted to be a part of what we were doing and asking lots of questions. The jungle gym was attracting young people roughly between 5-12yrs. The application was attracting a range of people, watching the dancers utilize the words and quickly put it into movement generally impressed people. It was wonderful to have some of the local dancers involved on the stage as a lot of people were drawn to the local talent and some of their friends wanted to test them! Highlight of the day a stilt walker went through the jungle gym, great to watch and also attracted a lot of people.

Day three

I spent quite a bit of time around the jungle gym and talking to parents, especially those who came to get a stamp for the treasure hunt. This was a good way to pull the kids into the jungle gym and to give the parents flyers, talk to them about what we were doing and giving them information on the application. Due to it being a Saturday the stage and jungle gym were both very busy. It was fun on the 2nd day due to lots of people and me being settled in the process, I felt more comfortable to deal with the general public and was able to judge good people to approach. The highlight of the day was a dad and his two daughters who were apprehensive about the jungle gym, the dad (Tim) straight up told his daughters that he would show them how it was done if they went in, it was great to see him show the example and have fun and then come back with his son! On both days the handling of the weather (tarps and marquee) was brilliant!

Larissa McGowan

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Workshop dates TBC


Dance Workshop


Larissa McGowan and Country Arts SA



About the Artist

Larissa McGowan

After studying dance in Brisbane and Melbourne, Larissa joined Australian Dance Theatre in 2000 and has since toured extensively with the company winning multiple awards for Best Female Dancer including a Helpmann and Australian Dance Award. Larissa appeared as a guest choreographer on two seasons of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. She has created work for WOMADelaide, Link Dance Company, Sydney Dance Company, Tasdance and premiered her first full length work, ‘Skeleton’ at the 2013 Dance Massive.

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.