China comes to Regional audiences with dance performance, Matrix

It’s been created and performed in China, is on-route to Brisbane and now the immersive dance experience ‘Matrix’ will continue to clock up the kilometres with shows in regional Australia.

Queanbeyan and Cairns audiences will be among the first to see the brand new work, which is a collaboration between Expressions Dance Company and BeijingDance/LDTX.

Queensland tourist hotspot, Cairns, hosts the Australian premiere of the double bill on 1 November, while Queanbeyan, in south-eastern New South Wales, has performances on 7 and 8 November.

Defined as a “cultural or social environment or context in which something develops”, ‘Matrix’ is the result of an immersive creative development in Beijing in August and September, producing two new works by multi award-winning Australian choreographer, Stephanie Lake, and the highly-acclaimed Chinese choreographer, MA Bo.

Created in just five weeks, with 20 dancers from two countries and two cultures, overcoming language barriers, differences in physiques and artistic sensibilities, ‘Matrix’ is two breathtaking and vastly different dance works.

EDC’s six ensemble members are joined on stage by the 14-strong company of LDTX creating a wildly ambitious and dazzling display of dance virtuosity.

It is EDC’s first tour to Cairns since 2014 and the fourth time EDC has performed in Queanbeyan.

A dramatic scene from MA Bo’s work Encircling Voyage in Matrix
Photography Credit: Yin Peng

As part of Expression’s commitment to enriching local communities and empowering the next generation of dancers and makers, the company will be holding a series of workshops, Q+As and Masterclasses during the tour.

“In the seven years EDC has been coming to Queanbeyan, we have seen a tangible rise in the interest in dance in our community,” The Q program manager, Stephen Pike, says.

“The workshops have been such a sought-after and unique opportunity for the professional development of local dancers. They are now so popular, they fill up very quickly each time.

“It’s no co-incidence that the last EDC performance here was a full house, the company is held in such high esteem and has built a genuine connection with the Queanbeyan/ Canberra audience. Now we wait with great anticipation to share the stunning international collaboration which is ‘Matrix’.”

EDC artistic director, Amy Hollingsworth, said ‘Matrix’ was a true collaboration “immersing in each other’s cultures, sharing imaginations and creative energies”.

She said the double bill highlighted the varying styles and personalities of the choreographers, and would showcase the range and versatility of the dancers.

“Ma Bo’s piece is an emotional, intricate, undulating work with powerful imagery and evolving textures,” Hollingsworth said.

“Stephanie’s piece is a delicious dichotomy of hyper-physical yet incredibly detailed movement. It is sophisticated in both rhythm and structure.”

Matrix EDC
Confetti scene from Stephanie Lake’s work Auto Cannibal in Matrix
Photography Credit: Wang Xiao-jing

While only a handful of the Chinese dancers spoke fluent English and only one of the EDC dancers spoke Mandarin, Stephanie Lake said the language barrier was easily overcome.

“There was so much that was communicated non-verbally through gesture, tone of voice, action. It was a true testament to the universality of dance. It was a really heart-warming experience,” she said.

“I thought there would be many more challenges than there have been, that the language barrier would slow things down or be prohibitive, but it’s been no trouble at all.”

EDC has long been passionate about sharing dance with regional communities and offering tangible, long-lasting opportunities to local artistic minds. It’s a philosophy that sits perfectly with new artistic director, Hollingsworth, who grew up on a farm in country Victoria.

“For us, it’s about creating a genuine lasting legacy, not just a one-off performance. We want to sow into the local communities,” she said. “The arts are for everyone – the way they connect us and give us shared experiences and reflect how we all think and feel.

“Instead of just turning up and showing people a piece of performative art, we want to connect with people face to face and have conversations, and also have the opportunity to learn from our audiences.

“I remember what it was like on the farm, I was always craving experiences. So for me, the chance to connect to the next generation of dancers, designers, artists and choreographers is very special.”

‘Matrix’ tours to the following cities: 
  • Beijing – 20-21 September 20
  • Tianjin – 22 September
  • Cairns, Cairns Performing Arts Centre – 1 November
  • Queanbeyan, The Q – The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre – 7-8 November
  • Brisbane, QPAC – 13-16 November
  • Hong Kong, City Contemporary Dance Festival – 19-20 November

For more information on Expressions Dance Company’s (EDC) upcoming performances, visit their website.

Press Release supplied by EDC. 

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