Uncaged Opens with US Premiere of “Attractor” from Dancenorth Australia



What: Dancenorth Australia / Lucy Guerin Inc, “Attractor”
Presented by: White Bird Uncaged, Ronni Lacroute Lead Sponsor
When: Thursday – Saturday, October 26-28, 8:00 pm
Where: Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97201
Sponsors: Nancy & George Thorn, Willamette Week
Tickets: Starting at $25, available at whitebird.org. Discounts available for groups/students and seniors.

“Channels a sense of frenzied possession…the dancers are brilliant.”
-Dance Australia

White Bird is proud to launch its 2017-18 Uncaged Series  with the North American premiere of Attractor, a collaboration between Dancenorth Australia, Lucy Guerin, Gideon Obarzanek (Founder of Chunky Move) and the Javanese music duo Senyawa. Attractor premiered earlier this year, in February 2017 at Asia TOPA XO State, Arts Centre Melbourne where it received great praise, being called an “electric experience” and “a highly successful collaboration that is evenly balanced and rich.” (The Age, Australia). Attractor recently received Australia’s 2017 Helpmann Award for Best Choreography.

During its 20-year history, White Bird has presented Lucy Guerin’s and Gideon Obarzanek’s work numerous times to great acclaim, including the North American premieres of Chunky Move’s “Tense Dave” (2004) and “Two-Faced Bastard” (2009) as well as Lucy Guerin’s “Weather” (2013).

Attractor is a unique, ecstatic music and dance ritual performed by 8 dancers and 2 Javanese musicians. The work aims to show how music and dance can propel each other into heightened states of energy, tone, rhythm and form. It is intended to create an atmosphere which turns the performance into an experience for the audience. The sensational music by Indonesian music duo, Senyawa propels the exceptional dancers into wild physical abandonment and ecstatic release that transmits to the audience as a visceral empathic experience.

During the performance, pre-selected members of the audience will be called onto the stage to join the dancers, dissolving the demarcation between dancer and non-dancer, audience and performer, professional and the amateur in a cross-cultural, shared ritual. By crossing these thresholds, we collectively succumb to the inherent power of music and dance, and experience how they can propel each other into heightened states of energy.

The work was born out of intrigue after Director, Gideon Obarzanek travelled to a village in eastern Java to observe a traditional trance ceremony. He pondered why he and other seemingly non-religious people are drawn to this type of ceremonial performance. He concluded that dance and music can create transcendent states for participants, through which they become a part of something bigger than themselves.

Based in Java, Indonesia, the music duo Senyawa embodies the aural elements of traditional Indonesian music whilst exploring the framework of experimental music practice, pushing the boundaries of both traditions. Their music strikes a perfect balance between their avant-garde influences and cultural heritage to create truly contemporary Indonesian new music. Their sound is comprised of Rully Shabara’s deft extended vocal techniques punctuating the frenetic sounds of instrument builder, Wukir Suryadi’s modern-primitive instrumentation, such as his handcrafted ‘Bamboo Spear,’ a thick stem of bamboo strung up with percussive strips of the animal skin alongside steel strings. Amplified it fuses elements of traditional Indonesian instrumentation with garage distortion. They have collaborated and performed with many notable musicians such as Yoshida Tatsuya, Otomo Yoshide, Lucas Abela, KK Null, Keiji Haino, Rabih Beiani, Greg Fox, Arrington De Dionyso, and many others. Their next album is due to be released in early 2017 with Pioneer Works, Brooklyn USA.

Dancenorth is a contemporary dance company based in Townsville, Tropical North Queensland. An epicenter for artistic exchange and collaboration, Dancenorth balances a dynamic regional presence with a commitment to creating bold, adventurous and critically acclaimed contemporary dance. Under the Artistic Direction of Kyle Page, Dancenorth delivers an ambitious and far-reaching program, including the creation and presentation of new work, national and international touring, professional development opportunities for dancers and choreographers as well as national and international residencies and research projects. Parallel to this is Dancenorth’s education and cultural engagement program, “The Enrichment Projects,” which provides the framework for a wide range of reciprocal activities. Bound by an overarching ethos of inclusion, each branch of the Enrichment Projects has been designed to Inform, Impart and Inspire.

Born in Adelaide, Australia, Lucy Guerin graduated from the Centre for Performing Arts in 1982 before working with Russell Dumas (Dance Exchange) and Nanette Hassall (Danceworks). She moved to New York in 1989 for seven years where she danced with Tere O’Connor Dance, the Bebe Miller Company and Sara Rudner, and began to produce her first choreographic works. She returned to Australia in 1996 and worked as an independent artist until 2002 when she established Lucy Guerin Inc in Melbourne to support the development, creation and touring of contemporary dance works. Lucy has toured her work extensively in Europe, Asia and North America as well as to most companies internationally, most recently, Lyon Opera Ballet (France), Skanes Dansteater (Sweden), The Young Vic (London) and Rambert (London). Her awards include two New York Dance and Performance Awards (‘Bessies’), a Helpmann Award and two Australian Dance Awards.

Gideon Obarzanek is a director, choreographer and performing arts curator. Gideon founded dance company Chunky Move in 1995 and was CEO and Artistic Director until 2012. His works for Chunky Move have been diverse in form and content including stage productions, installations, site-specific works, participatory events and film. These have been performed in many festivals and theatres around the world including Edinburgh International, BAM Next Wave NYC, Venice Biennale, Southbank London and all major Australian performing arts festivals.

White Bird’s presentation of “Attractor” is supported by WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation), the National Endowment for the Arts and Oregon Arts Commission. White Bird Uncaged 2017-18 is made possible through major support from Ronni Lacroute and the NEA. White Bird’s 20th season (2017-18) is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and the Arts Education & Access Fund; Work for Art; The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, , Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trusts, Starseed Foundation, and WESTAF.

Uncaged Opens with US Premiere of “Attractor” from Dancenorth Australia