Sue Peacock is preparing to unveil the world premiere of contemporary dance performance Reflect, produced by Performing Lines WA.
Sue is acclaimed as one of the most inventive and original choreographers in Western Australia.
In her latest offering, Sue draws on cinematic techniques to create images that are irreverent, poetic, reminiscent and whimsical. A white road that goes nowhere. Five people in their underwear. Hawaiian shirts are back in fashion and a girl in a blue dress twirls in the distance. Sounds of the 70s morph to the 30s. Suddenly everyone is well-dressed and behaving badly.
Collaborating with award-winning designer Andrew Lake and sound artist Ben Taaffe, Reflect echoes another moment in time; a slippage between the present and the past.
Sue has maintained movement as the primary focus throughout the production, following her strong belief in the power, potency and simplicity of communication through human movement. Her emphasis signals a return to pure choreographic form and experimentation with an individual edge.
Sue has a standout cast consisting of local Western Australian dancers such as Tyrone Robinson (One Night Echo by The Duck House) and Kynan Hughes (Sydney Dance Company, The Ghost’s Child by Sally Richardson). Reflect will premiere in the Studio Underground at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia from 3 to 11 of May.
Sue spoke to us about her outstanding career to date and the innermost workings of Reflect.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut and/or a trapeze artist.
When did you know you would work in the arts?
I made a decision when I was 18 to defer my Uni course and start full-time dance training. I got my first job with the Australian Dance Theatre when I was 20, I guess that was a more definite indication that I was going to work in the Arts- it’s not something I ever took for granted.
How would you describe your work to a complete stranger?
That really depends on who the person is…It’s a contemporary dance work with video projections. There are five very good dancers performing in it. My work is often about people and how they relate to one another- this looks more specifically at how we remember things and how that affects us our actions or decisions.
What do you love the most about working with Performing Lines WA?
That I don’t have to stress so much about the business end of things and that they keep the same ridiculous hours that I do. Despite being the ‘managers’ they also have a very important artistic sensibility.
How hard is it to be authentic in the arts nowadays?
I think very few things are original- it’s more about how you think and how you put things together, this is what separates your work from someone else’s. It’s very important to be honest about what is your idea and what is not- I also think referencing other artists can sometimes make for very interesting work.
Is there a mission to your work?
That I learn something and that it is better than the last one.
What are some challenges you have faced during rehearsals?
Working with a new cast and having to replace people. There are countless questions about the work, the direction, its relevance etc., every day.
Have you enjoyed collaborating with Andrew Lake and Ben Taaffe?
It’s always a pleasure – they are passionate, committed, are good at what they do and they ask great questions.
Where did your inspiration from Reflect come from?
Watching light reflect off moving bodies and thinking it looked like seeing the dancers’ thoughts.
Can you describe an "average" working day for you?
We start at 9 and work till 5 – there’s family before and after, sometimes in between. After 5 we consider what we did and how we could do it better for the next day and pretty much nothing else is average.
Who in the industry most inspires you?
Many, for different reasons and in no particular order – Meg Stewart, Anne Teresa de Keersmaker, William Forsythe, Wim VandeKeybus, Jonathon Burrows, Alain Platel, Pina Bausch, Nannette Hassall, Leigh Warren, Kate Champion, Lucy Guerin, Helen Herbertson, Graeme Watson, Andrew Morrish, Joao Fiadeiro, PVI Collective, Hal Hartley, David Lynch, Wim Wenders
What is the best thing about your job?
Working with a great bunch of people doing what we all like doing – it's a privilege.
What’s the worst?
Having to stop for lunch or the end of the day when you’re just about to work something important out.
What are the top four skills you need in this industry?
Persistence, courage, patience and, obviously, skill
What advice would you give anyone looking to break into the field?
Be clear about why you are doing this and try to remember that when things get difficult.
How do you know when you missed the mark?
I feel disappointed with myself
Why should people come along to see Reflect?
Because it takes you somewhere other than the everyday.
Dates: 3-11 May 2013, 11am, 4pm, 6:30pm or 8pm (times vary)
Venue: Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, William Street, Perth WA 6000
Bookings: 1300 795 012 or through Ticketek
To see what Reflect has to offer, watch the video below.