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Women at Work: Alison Plevey

Amanda Smith

It’s easy to understand why we as a city might be suffering from ‘Voter Fatigue’.

After a record-breaking Federal Election lead up and looking down the barrel of the ACT elections in October, it’s somewhat amusing that Canberra’s newest contemporary dance company, Australian Dance Party (ADP), draws its energy from the political furore of recent years.

Alison Plevey, lead choreographer and founder of ADP says the name is a play on Canberra’s identity but is anything but conventional, often producing work that is showcased in any space but a traditional theatre space. Alison is without a doubt one of the most switched on and socially aware people I’ve ever had the pleasure of chatting with. Not only is she totally down to earth and easy to approach, she’s also actively trying to get people out and engaging with each other.

Strings Attached, Nishi Playhouse 2016. Photographer: Lorna Sim

Strings Attached, Nishi Playhouse 2016. Photographer: Lorna Sim

With her first class honors degree from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and an impressive trail of accolades, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Alison’s talent for performing is truly entrenched in her character.

“When I reflect on my life, there’s not really a time when I didn’t dance,” says Alison. “For me, it’s so much a part of who I am and how I experience this world. I also just happened to have a talent for it and a real love of being creative and engaging with people and putting myself out there to find my own voice. I wasn’t necessarily the best communicator verbally so I found my voice and creative expression through my body and dance.”

SPROUT, art, not apart 2016. Photographer: Lorna Sim and Cole Bennetts

SPROUT, art, not apart 2016. Photographer: Lorna Sim and Cole Bennetts

Alison explains that ADP hopes to be a refreshing antidote to political disinterest with their unique way of challenging political issues through contemporary dance productions.

“One of the philosophies of Australian Dance Party is to activate the public space and unexpected spaces through the arts,” she explains. “Really put it out into people’s experience and not make it such a ‘high art’ or exclusive experience that people think they don’t understand or can access it.”

“For me, dance is so important to the way we interact as humans…I think that’s suppressed a lot of the time because people don’t deal with it or they do it in a nightclub under really dark lights and that’s the only time they do it.”

“We have such great spaces in Canberra, like the lake and the galleries and New Acton. The Efkarpidis brothers are great supporters or anything wacky or creative that will bring people out of their homes and get them to engage with each other. They’ve done a great job of creating that cultural experience.”

Autumn Lantern, Enlighten festival 2016. Photographer: Lorna Sim

Autumn Lantern, Enlighten festival 2016. Photographer: Lorna Sim

ADP’s next show, Nervous, takes place over three warm nights in early December at the charred remains of the Yale Colombia refractor at Mt. Stromlo, and is a collaboration effort for the ages. The group is teaming up with a team of ANU neuroscientists as well as a speciality lighting director to create a laser light environment and an electronic music producer, which promises to be a spectacular night for both those who love dance and those who pretend not to.

the essentials

What: Nervous, by Australian Dance Party
When: 1 to 3 December 2016
Where: Yale Columbia Refractor, Mt. Stromlo Observatory, Canberra
For more information and to book tickets, click here: australiandance.party

Feature image: PARTY, Australian Dance Party dinner. Photographer: Lorna Sim

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Amanda Smith

Amanda is a lunch enthusiast and Canberra local with a love of all things curious. With a background in photography and current studies in journalism, she hopes to produce work on the human condition and what makes us so intricate. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her eccentric family and buying bread, dip and olives from the Old Bus Depot Markets for lunch on a Sunday. More about the Author

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