2020 Keir Choreographic Award | Media Release 18 Jun 2019

The Keir Foundation, Carriageworks and Dancehouse today announced a cash prize increase to $50,000 for the winner of the now prestigious Award, as well as an all-star jury.

The biennial competition will accept entries until 14 July 2019 for works to be presented in March 2020. The 2020 Keir Choreographic Award jury tasked with the responsibility of selecting the eight new commissions to compete in the semi-finals at Dancehouse in Melbourne, and for the finals at Carriageworks in Sydney, are: Claudia La Rocco  (USA); Mette Edvardsen (NO); Serge Laurent (FR); and Takao Kawaguchi (JP). The Australia Council for Arts, the Keir Foundation, Carriageworks and Dancehouse have confirmed their continued support for next three editions of the Keir Choreographic Award – an exciting development ensuring the longevity of this one-of-a-kind commissioning program.

The application requirements for the award call for professional artists with an established practice to enter by submitting a five-minute video about a new choreographic idea to explore in 20-minute work. Established and emerging artists are encouraged to apply. Either the applicant or one of the main collaborators must be a choreographer. The Keir Choreographic Award jury will assess the applications and short-listed eight artists who will be supported by Carriageworks and Dancehouse to realise their idea.

The eight new commissions will be presented at Dancehouse, Melbourne from 3 – 7 March 2020. Four of the works will be selected by the jury to be presented at Carriageworks, Sydney from 12 – 14 March 2020. The jury will then select the 2020 Keir Choreographic Award recipient. The recipient of the 2020 Keir Choreographic Award will be announced along with the Audience Award on 14 March, 2020.

The Keir Choreographic Award public program, with its array of national and international jury members, panellists, guests and workshop leaders, will run concurrently with the performance seasons in both Melbourne and Sydney, providing a vital context for related and relevant discourse, reflection and debate.

Choreographic Art in the 21st Century is an increasingly expanded and international field, incorporating a multiplicity of practices and production modes, and a diversity of aesthetic, philosophical and social perspectives. Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and launched in 2014 as Australia’s only cash award for choreography, the Keir Choreographic Award looks to identify and illuminate the most urgent and experimental choreographic practices occurring in the Australian context today.

The Award has fast become the largest generator of new choreographic work in Australia and offers a rare opportunity to develop and present new work. To date the Award has garnered further commissioning and touring support, both nationally and internationally with works including Berlin-based artist Martin Hansen’s If it’s all in my veins which since 2016 has been presented in Hong Kong, Paris and Berlin. Previous Keir Choreographic Award recipients include Melbourne-based artist Atlanta Eke, 2014; Sydney-based Torres Strait Islander choreographer and performer, Ghenoa Gela, 2016; and Javanese-Australian choreographer and performer, Melanie Lane, 2018.

In making the announcement, Keir Choreographic Award Founder Phillip Keir said: ‘I’m incredibly excited to see the award continue to grow, allowing us to offer a substantial increase in prize money for this upcoming edition. The contribution the award has made to generating such unique Australian choreographic works and their international recognition feels significant. I’m also proud to see the dialogue and discourse this competition generates with its associated public program, which is testament to The Keir Foundation’s commitment to supporting, not only the selected artists, but the dance landscape in general.’

Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette said: ‘The Australia Council is delighted to be part of this important partnership that supports new choreographic work in contemporary dance.  We are committed to supporting the talents of extraordinary Australian artists through partnerships such as the Keir Choreographic Award with the Keir Foundation, Dancehouse and Carriageworks.’

Carriageworks Director – Programs, Daniel Mudie Cunningham said: ‘Supporting artists to make new work is at the heart of the Carriageworks Artistic Program. Carriageworks is excited to again be partnering with Dancehouse, the Australia Council for the Arts and the Keir Foundation to support experimentation in Australian choreography.’

Dancehouse Artistic Director Angela Conquet said: ‘It is extraordinary to see how the Keir Award has now grown to play such an irreplaceable role in the Australian dance ecology, by offering rare fully-funded opportunities for artists to make and present new works as well as producing international touring opportunities and cross-cultural exchange. In inviting international perspectives and dialogue, with its remarkable jury of emblematic dance figures, the Award makes a significant contribution to both the Australian and international contexts. It is a tremendous honour to have the iconic Lucinda Childs in Australia as a part of our most distinguished jury yet.’

Key Dates and Details:

  • Submissions Close: 14 July 2019
  • Comissioned Choreographers Announced: 1 October 2019
  • Dancehouse, Melbourne, 3-7 March 2020
  • Carriageworks, Sydney, 12-14 March 2020
  • Participants can enter the competition by downloading and reading the full application, with regulations available at carriageworks.com.au or www.dancehouse.com.au

About the Jury:

Claudia La Rocco Claudia La Rocco’s work explores hybridity and improvisation, moving between criticism, poetry, fiction, and performance. Her books include the selected writings The Best Most Useless Dress (Badlands Unlimited) and the sf novel petit cadeau (The Chocolate Factory theater). She was a critic and reporter for The New York Times from 2005-2015 and is Editorial Director of SFMOMA’s interdisciplinary commissioning platform Open Space.

Mette Edvardsen’s work is situated within the performing arts as a choreographer and performer. Although some of her works explore other media or other formats, such as video, books and writing, her interest is always in their relationship to the performing arts as a practice and a situation. With a base in Brussels since 1996 she has worked for several years as a dancer and performer for a number of companies and projects and has developed her own work since 2002. She presents her works internationally and continues to develop projects with other artists, both as a collaborator and as a performer. A retrospective of her work was presented at Black Box theatre in Oslo, 2015.  Mette Edvardsen is structurally supported by Norsk Kulturråd 2017 -2020, BUDA Arts Centre Kortrijk 2017 – 2020 and apap-Performing Europe, 2020 – a project co-funded by Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. She is currently a research fellow at Oslo National Academy of the Arts and associated artist at Black Box teater in Oslo. She is associated artist at centre chorégraphique national de Caen in Normandie France for the period 2019-2021.

Serge Laurent studied Art History before beginning his career at the Artier Foundation as deputy curator. After four years of curating their exhibitions program, he was appointed curator of the performing arts program and initiated the famous Nomadic Evenings, which quickly became a staple in the experimental multi-disciplinary arts ecology in Paris, which still continue today. From 1997- 2002, he was the inaugural director of the Dijon Art Dance Festival, Nouvelles Scenes and in 1998, he curated the first performing arts program at the Printemps de Cahors Festival – a video and photographic art festival. He later became the Director of Performing Arts at the Centre Pompidou, Paris until April 2019, when he was appointed Director of Dance and Arts Programs at the Maison Van Cleef et Arpels, Paris.

Takao Kawaguchi (b. 1962) was a member of the famous Japanese multimedia performance company Dumb Type from 1996 to 2008, during which time he also worked independently with sound and visual artists to produce video works such as: DiQueNoVes (Say You Don’t See), 2003, D.D.D.- How Many Times Will My Heart Beat Before It Stops?2004, Good Luck   2008 and TABLEMIND  2011.  From 2008, he began the solo performance series a perfect life which still continues. His piece About Kazuo Ohno ― Reliving the Butoh Diva’s Masterpieces 2013 has been performed 70 times at over 30 cities around the world including Berlin, Melbourne, Los Angeles and Paris .Latest works include: TOUCH OF THE OTHER , Los Angeles 2015; Tokyo 2016, which was based on the archive materials of sociological studies of male-to male impersonal sex in public places from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in LA; and solo BLACKOUT 2018, Tokyo.

To request interviews and imagery contact: Julia Barnes julia@articulatepr.com.au 0402 678 589 at Carriageworks or Audrey Schmidt, communications@dancehouse.com.au, 03 9347 2860 at Dancehouse.

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