April 5, 2016

Media Release, 5 APRIL 2016


Sydney, Australia:  Carriageworks and the Keir Foundation today announced a new partnership with Critical Path, and revealed details of their 2016 public program as part of the 2016 Keir Choreographic Award (KCA). Carriageworks, Dancehouse and the Keir Foundation announced Atlanta Eke – the winner of the inaugural Award in 2014 – as a new addition to the judging panel. New judge Atlanta Eke joins the impressive jury for Australia’s first major contemporary choreographic award, which also includes Bojana Cvejić, Pierre Bal-Blanc, Sarah Michelson and Phillip Keir, founder of the Keir Foundation.

The Keir Choreographic Award’s Sydney public program includes a series of thought provoking performance lectures and panel discussions with international leaders in contemporary dance. Documenta 14 curator and Director of the Contemporary Art Centre – Brétigny, Pierre Bal-Blanc who is based in Athens and Paris, will take part in an ‘in conversation’ discussion on the subject of Exhibiting Dance with Stephanie Rosenthal, Artistic Director of the 20th Biennale of Sydney and the chief curator of London’s Hayward Gallery.

A panel discussion of dance practitioners from across Asia will be hosted by Claire Hicks, Director of Critical Path, exploring the topic of Where is choreography now? Hicks will be joined in this discussion by Daisuke Muto (Japan), Helly Minarti (Indonesia), Bilqis Hijjas (Malaysia), Kim Seong-Hee (Korea) and Chow Ka Fai (Singapore).

Key issues in contemporary performance and how the practices of making, performing and attending reinvent performance and dance today will be explored in Choreographing Problems: a performance lecture from Bojana Cvejić. The lecture will be hosted by Dr Erin Brannigan, a Senior Lecturer in Dance at the University of New South Wales who joins Cvejić, a Brussel-based performance theorist and performance maker.  This lecture will be a podcast and available for download from Monday 8 May 2016.

Rounding out the public program is an Afternoon Tea with Sarah Michelson offering local Sydney artists the opportunity to meet and discuss their practice with 2016 Keir Choreographic Jury member Sarah Michelson, a British choreographer and dancer who lives and works in New York City.

The biennial Award is dedicated to the commissioning of new choreographic work and to promoting innovative, experimental and cross-art form practice in contemporary dance. Award entry requirements call for professional artists with an established practice to enter by submitting a five-minute video with a choreographic idea of 20-minutes in duration. The eight finalists for the 2016 Award were selected in November 2015 by an independent national and international jury and were then tasked to each create a new piece of original work.

The eight finalists for the 2016 award, who hail from across Australia, include: 2014 Keir Choreographic Award finalists Sarah Aiken, Melbourne based choreographer, performer and teacher originally from Belligen NSW and James Batchelor, Canberra-born, award-winning choreographer and performer; Chloe Chignell, emerging choreographer and recent DanceWEB scholarship recipient; Ghenoa Gela a Sydney based choreographer and performer from Torres Strait Islands whose recent work includes MURA BUAI [Liveworks, Performance Space]; Australian choreographer and performer Martin Hansen, now based in Berlin; Alice Heyward, seen recently in Xavier Le Roy’s work Temporary Title [Carriageworks] and Maria Hassabi’s Intermission [Australian Centre for Contemporary Art]  Rebecca Jensen, a New Zealand artist, whose work was presented in Next Wave 2014 and Dance Massive 2015  and Paea Leach who has worked as a performer and collaborator in Australia and Europe and  was  most recently commissioned by Chunky Move’s Next Move 2014 season.

The eight commissioned works will have a premiere season at Melbourne’s Dancehouse from 26-30 April 2016. Four of those works will then be selected by the jury to participate in the Sydney season of finals presented by Carriageworks from 5-7 May 2016. The artists compete for the accolade of the award including a cash prize of $30,000 for first prize and $10,000 for an audience choice prize that will be voted by Sydney audiences.


MEDIA CONTACTS: For further information and interviews please contact Rae Begley,, 0419 890 888 or Kym Elphinstone,, 0421 106 139.

, 7 MAY 2016, 2PM & 8PM – Book tickets $35


SUN 1 MAY 2016, 11AM Carriageworks

Exhibiting Dance:  Pierre Bal-Blanc, Documenta 14 curator and Director of the Contemporary Art Center, Brétigny in conversation with Stephanie Rosenthal current Artistic Director of the 20th Biennale of Sydney and the chief curator of London’s Hayward Gallery

SUN 1 MAY 2016, 2PM Carriageworks

Where is choreography now? Panel discussion hosted by Claire Hicks [Director, Critical Path]

MON 9 MAY 2016, 6PM Carriageworks

Choreographing Problems: a performance lecture from Bojana Cvejić podcast available.


BOJANA CVEJIC. Bojana Cvejić is a performance theorist and performance maker based in Brussels. She studied musicology and holds a PhD in philosophy. Her latest books are Choreographing Problems: Expressive Concepts in Contemporary Dance and Performance (Palrgrave Macmillan, 2015), A Choreographer’s Score: Drumming and Rain with A.T. De Keersmaeker (Mercator, 2014), and Public Sphere by Performance, co-authored with A. Vujanović, (Bbooks, 2012). Cvejić teaches at various dance and performance schools and is co-founding member of TkH editorial collective. She has been the jury member of European Cultural Foundation Princess Margriet Award and Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart.

PIERRE BAL-BLANC. Pierre Bal-Blanc is an independent curator and art critic based in Athens and Paris. He is currently curator for the Documenta14. He was director of CAC Brétigny (Contemporary Art Centre – Brétigny). There from 2003 to 2014, echoing the societal thought of Charles Fourier, he has run the “Phalanstère Project,” a series of site-specific proposals aiming at critical rethinking of the logic behind accumulation of art works. His exhibition sequences La monnaie vivante/Living Currency adapted from Pierre Klossowski essay (CAC Brétigny/Micadanses, 2005–06; Stuk Leuven, 2007; Tate Modern London, 2008; MoMA Warsaw and Berlin Biennale, 2010) and Draft Score for an Exhibition(Le Plateau Paris, Artissima Torino, Secession Vienna, 2011; Index Stockholm, 2012; catalog Draft Score for an Exhibition, NERO Publisher Rome, 2014) negotiate the current and historical analysis of the body and the strategies related to performance in visual arts.

SARAH MICHELSON. Choreographer Sarah Michelson’s work has been presented by The Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA, BAM, PS 122, The Kitchen, The Walker Art Center, Chapter Arts (Cardiff, UK), On the Boards, Venice Biennale, SommerSzene Salzburg, Tanz im August (Berlin) and Zurich Theater Spektakel Festival. She has received three Bessies, 2012 Bucksbaum Award, 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award, 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2008 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, 2006 Alpert Award in Dance and Der Foerder prize. Sarah Michelson has created several evening-length works and modular works including her most recent works tournamento (2015) for the Walker Arts Center, for The Whitney Museum of American Art (2014); Devotion Study #3 (work in progress), MoMA for the Some sweet day series curated by Ralph Lemon (2012); Devotion Study #1, The American Dancer, The Whitney Museum of American Art (2012) and Devotion, which premiered at The Kitchen, New York (2011).

ATLANTA EKE. Atlanta Eke is a dancer and choreographer working internationally. Atlanta was a DanceWEB Europe scholarship recipient 2010 in Vienna, and received Next Wave Kickstart 2011, Dancehouse Housemate residency 2012 in Melbourne, and ArtStart Grant recipient. She performed for Sidney Leoni in Undertones at Tamz in August Berlin and Marten Spangberg Page 74, ImPulsTanz Festival Vienna. Atlanta performed in Jan Ritesmas Oedipus My Foot throughout Europe as well as participating in Allianz-The Agora Project (Performing Arts Forum). Her solo MONSTER BODY has been presented at the 2012 Next Wave Festival, SEXES Festival Performance Space Sydney, 2013 Dance Massive Festival Melbourne, MONA FOMA Festival Hobart, MDT Stockholm, BACKFLIP Feminism and Humour in Contemporary Art, Margaret Lawrence Gallery and the Fierce Festival in Birmingham. Atlanta presented her work Untitled at the NVG for the Melbourne Now exhibition, she performed the work of Marina Abramovic and Joan Jonas at the Kaldor Public Art Project #27: 13 Rooms in Sydney and is currently performing in Maria Hassabis work Intermission for the Melbourne Festival. Atlanta premiered her works Fountain at Chunky Move, and Organ, made in collaboration with composer Daniel Jenatsch, at Liquid Architecture Festival. She is an Arts House Culture Lab resident for her work I CON and is the recipient of the 2014 inaugural Keir Choreographic Award for her latest work Body Of Work which has since toured to Dance Massive Festival Melbourne, Adelaide Festival, 
Dark Mofo Festival MONA Hobart and Les Plateaux de la Briqueterie Paris. In recent months Atlanta has premiered her work MISS UNIVERSAL at Gertrude Contemporary and Chunky Move’s Next Move program.

PHILLIP KEIR. Phillip worked in theatre and performance in New York, London and Cologne before returning to Australia to join Sydney Theatre Company as Associate Director. In 1987 he developed NextMedia, a consumer magazine company, which went on to become the 4th largest consumer magazine company in Australia, publishing popular culture titles including Australian Rolling Stone Magazine. In 2005 he established the Keir Foundation to provide grant support in the arts and human rights. The Foundation has been active in the areas of Visual Arts and Dance, particularly with projects that have involved the commissioning of new work with an international dimension. Recent international co-commissioning or presentation partners have included the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) LIFT, Chisenhale Gallery, Nottingham Contemporary, Performa, The Showroom, Holland Festival, Momentum (Berlin), La Briqueterie (Paris) and Faits D’hiver (Paris and Avignon). Phillip has served on the board of the London International Festival of Theatre, Aerowaves and the Power Institute of Sydney University. He is a collector of international contemporary art. He speaks regularly on contemporary collecting; most recently at Art Basel HK. Phillip has had a particular interest in contemporary dance since studying at the Merce Cunningham studios in the late 1970s.

ABOUT CARRIAGEWORKS: Carriageworks presents a contemporary multi-arts program that engages artists and audiences with contemporary ideas and issues. The program is artist led and emerges from Carriageworks’ commitment to reflecting social and cultural diversity. The Carriageworks artistic program is ambitious, risk taking and unrelenting in its support of artists. Carriageworks is a cultural facility of the NSW Government and is supported by Arts NSW. The Carriageworks program can be viewed at

ABOUT DANCEHOUSE: Dancehouse is the Centre for Independent dance in Australia. Dancehouse is a space for developing challenging, invigorating and socially engaged moving art. Dancehouse is a presenter of outstanding programs targeting multiple communities and a fierce advocate for the vibrancy and literacy of the Australian independent dance sector.

ABOUT THE KEIR FOUNDATION: Established by Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin as a private ancillary fund, the Foundation’s purpose is to foster innovation and excellence in the arts, particularly among new and emerging practitioners. Phillip Keir worked for twenty years in media, specifically as Chief Executive, Publisher and Founder of NextMedia.

ABOUT CRITICAL PATH: Critical Path is Australia’s lead organisation for choreographic research and development; delivering a unique ‘blue-sky’ programme of residencies and capacity building opportunities to the independent choreographic sector.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Carriageworks and Dancehouse acknowledge the support of the project’s venue partners Arts House, Chunky Move and Lucy Guerin Inc