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Future Generation: Alison Plevey

Emma Macdonald

Why get bogged down in words when you can express yourself through movement?

Alison Plevey is pushing the boundaries of modern dance, and in a most Canberra way, has founded the Australian Dance Party. A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts with a first class honours degree in Arts and Dance, Alison is a choreographer, teacher and improviser based in Canberra and regional NSW.

In the wake of last year’s Federal Election, she founded her dance company inspired by Canberra’s political culture and identity. Alison strives to communicate contemporary issues, human stories and bring dance performance into non-traditional theatre spaces and environments – such as the Mount Stromlo Observatory or grimy streets of Fyshwick.

She collaborates with artists, scientists, academics and business to engage and encourage broad audiences to embrace and value arts and creativity. She received a Critics Circle Award in 2016 for establishing the Australian Dance Party, has a swag of performances in the pipeline and maintains a connection to regional NSW as co-director of dance theatre company Lingua Franca.

Forget artistic musical scores, what gets you boogying without fail?

Some good old school classic 70’s dancefloor disco I can do anytime and anywhere.

Why are people generally embarrassed to express themselves through dance?

Hmmm, yes, wow I forget this is a thing! I think because it is revealing of other layers of self. You reveal yourself to yourself and the people around you in a primal moment of letting go. You are exposed emotionally, socially and physically through this all-encompassing physical experience.

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How do dance and choreography express more complex social and political ideas?

This is a question I tackle and enter every time I make a new dance work. I think it begins with a responsiveness of an artist to content, to receive, translate and process these important concepts that can connect to each of us. It involves a creative rigour and discovery or research either physically in the body or through other tools.

The language of the body with the addition of other performance elements becomes a mode to speak of these findings, where the stories and issues are expressed either literally or abstractly.

What would your most ambitious choice of location for a performance?

I’ve just come back from the coast and was dancing on the beach there a lot. So I think the ocean (if only we had one in Canberra!). Dealing with the waves would be chaos but also very beautiful knowing the elements of risk, rhythm, sound and motion already present.

Read the entire Future Generation series here

Photography by Martin Ollman

This article originally appeared as part of our Future Generation editorial in Magazine: Future for Winter 2017, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author

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