Mature-aged dancers share secrets in intimate show
SURPRISING places. That's where a performance by the Vulcana Women's Circus in association with WaW Dance Group may lead you. The performance, 'As If No-one Is Watching', promises a show of great colour, movement and sensitive insights at the Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm, this week.
'As If No-one Is Watching' is part installation and part exuberant performances that combines for a dramatic and soul-searching event. Using the spectacle of circus and the rhythm of dance, generations of women share intimacies from the private realm of secrets and desires and make public their expectations, frustrations and triumphs.
The first part of the show invites the audience, using a smartphone app, to listen into the women's inner voices, to what these women keep silent about, while the performers execute their silent monologue on stage. Then, the second act unleashes the performer's voices and their actions, taking up space and pushing against barriers.
The collaboration with WaW - led by Wendy Wallace and Wendy McPhee and comprised of mature-women - means Vulcana's ethos to promote positive images of women is richly enhanced in this show.
Performer Anni Webster is one of the dancers enthusiastically preparing for the show. The 68-year-old former physiotherapist and academic, now a seven-year modern dance veteran and seasoned performer, attributes WaW for enriching her life with a whole new, creative element.
Indeed, her face grows animated as she declares the experience of her new-found skill as a "late-life renaissance".
Anni describes her upbringing as an uncoordinated youth in which resided a natural inner rhythm that moved with the music.
As we sit chatting at Brisbane's Powerhouse Arts Centre, Anni puts her hand to heart, smiling as she says: "I was terrible at sports, but I always had a good ear for music."
The petite mother of three and grandmother of two paints a picture of her pre-retirement life: a busy, typical life of women who have studied, worked full-time and brought up children.
But at 60 and moving into semi-retirement, she attended the Ideas Fest at Southbank, Brisbane, and met with the concept of dance as a creative skill infused with both physical and mental healing powers.
"I was keen to start up," she says.
"Hell, you are never too old to dance."
Anni went onto join up WaW and credits the group for transforming her life. The group's leaders, the two Wendys, have impressive dance careers spanning several decades and they have taken their students into worlds they never imagined.
Anni describes her dance experience as liberating with the friendships she has made as important, and as healing, as the exercises' therapeutic benefits.
Contemporary dance, she says, has made her more flexible, and having to memorise dance routines is great for the brain.
"The space we dance in is very supportive of us," she says.
And she says, as older women, the dancers get to share about the ups and downs of life.
"The aches and pains, the grandchildren, relationships - everything," she says.
For Anni, two things, have contributed enormously to making this a great time in her life, a passion she shares on her website.
"Creative writing and dance," she explains.
"I admire those with an appetite for awe.
"A wonderlust - an ability to find the numinous in everyday life. I also love philosophy, strange as that may sound. It begins with wonder and can lead us to surprising places".
AS IF NO-ONE IS WATCHING
Thursday, September 27 - Sunday, September 30
Thursday to Saturday 7.45pm. Sunday 7.15 pm
119 Lamington St, New Farm
(07) 3358 8622
Adult $40 and concession $30 Concession (plus transaction fee of $5.95)
Ring the box office (opening hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm, Sat 12pm - 4pm) on (07) 3358 8600
Visit https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show for online bookings