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QL2 Dance’s Quantum Leap Ensemble will take the stage at the Canberra Theatre Centre this Thursday, Friday and Saturday with an innovative new performance—Filling the Space.
Quantum Leap—the youth dance ensemble of Canberra dance company QL2 Dance—takes to the stage on Thursday night to debut their 2019 production Filling the Space, choreographed by QL2 alumni James Batchelor and Eliza Sanders, alongside Artistic Director Ruth Osborne.
The work grew out of a collaboration between Ruth and James that explores the relationship between the human body and the architecture it exists within.
“Dancers are constantly inhabiting and energising space, whether in a studio, on stage or in a site-specific setting,” explains Ruth.
“When James let me know about the research he has been doing on the architecture of the stage at the Canberra Theatre Centre, I leapt at the opportunity to present his work and build a triple bill around the idea of space and dance.”
James was particularly attracted to the dynamic architecture of The Playhouse, which is inspired by Grecian and Elizabethan architecture to create an intimate atmosphere for performances.
“In our process we thought about the frame of the stage and the auditorium, how the space, on the one hand, performs certain functional roles and on the other creates a world for imagining, moments of ecstasy, social intensity and heightened reality,” he says.
Quantum Leap produces an annual season at The Playhouse with a theme that resonates with young people, but this year Ruth aims to take the ensemble’s work to even greater heights.
“We have delved into a more abstract idea that has opened the dancers’ attention to the spaces they inhabit and what their emotional response is to those spaces,” she says.
“Both technically and artistically we have challenged the dancers and they have embraced this challenge beautifully.”
Since beginning his dance career with Quantum Leap as a kid, James has become one of Australia’s leading youth choreographers, touring the country and internationally.
James usually dances his own choreography, so creating Filling the Space has allowed him to push the limits of his creativity.
“It’s more about giving the structure and tools and empowering the dancers to take ownership of what they do. This is one of the very special things about Quantum Leap, that you will see young people performing with an incredible maturity and passion.
“You can see that they are actually thinking a lot and are incredibly intelligent in the way they are dancing.”
Filling the Space is a tribute to 21 years of Quantum Leap, building links between now-professional dancers like James and younger students.
As the driving force behind the program, Ruth is always proud to see her former students share their passion and success.
“James and Eliza are outstanding examples of talented, committed artists who love to give back as much as forging exciting careers. They are fantastic role models for the Quantum Leapers and absolute joys to work with in mounting our major production.”
James himself attributes much of his success as a dancer to his experience with Quantum Leap and sees Ruth’s philosophy of taking youth dance to the next level in this new performance.
“I was empowered with creative freedom, but also learned to be responsible, focus and commit to what I do.
“It taught me how to think and be intelligent with my body and space and I think the professional atmosphere that Ruth creates elevates it beyond what you would perhaps think of youth dance.”
What: Filling the Space
Where: The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre
When: 7 pm 8 – 10 August, with a matinée show at 2 pm on 10 August
How much: Adult $35, under 27 $28, pensioner $23, child $15