Freelance writer – creative – media-maker
“Dance is the poetry of athleticism,” says Simon Hoy, resident choreographer of the emerging Melbourne Ballet Company (MBC). “It’s the bodies, it’s the craft, the stamina and the expression. The dancer’s craft is the ability to express, whether it is through the gesture of the hand or a larger movement of the body. A lot of years go into the work that is produced by the dancers I work with.”
For a man who insists that communicating his love of dance to others represents a task of great difficulty, Hoy is surprisingly articulate. Perhaps his years abroad provided him with time for personal reflection – “working with Peter Schaufuss in Germany was incredibly influential in my approach to dance,” he says. “He is someone whom I will always try to mold myself on, he was just very inspiring.”
“Also, living in New York,” he adds, “I think it represents the epitome of what you strive for. It’s that feeling of ‘wow, we’re here and working in New York’ that makes it so exciting.”
Despite his stimulating work overseas, Hoy has chosen to return to Melbourne and work with a fledgling local company. At first I was a little puzzled by this, but the more we discussed Hoy’s work at MBC, the more I understood his decision. Apart from the Australian Ballet, none of the smaller dance companies around Melbourne share a classical focus. Whilst the MBC does not stage any Sleeping Beauties or Swan Lakes, it boasts a hectic schedule of around three projects per year. The company’s particular blend of classical with modern and its dynamic image have contributed to its growing popularity. “Our last show was pretty much sold out and it’s a great, younger demographic that we’ve got attending. It’s going to take a while to know how what we are doing will ultimately be received, but the audience is definitely growing.”
The MBC’s upcoming project Believe features two works created by Hoy: a pre-existing piece entitled Submerged, and a new work entitled Infinite Space. Submerged, he explains, “is an abstract piece about the feeling of entering a space that is somewhat sacred. People often ask me if I consider Melbourne my home. In a sense yes, but my real home I feel is the studio, that space – that is what this piece tries to communicate.” When asked about Infinite Space, Hoy replies, “It’s a work I’ve been considering for a couple of years. At this point, the work is a tribute to the concept of believing in one’s journey, which is important when you find yourself in front of an audience.”
As we part, I ask Hoy what he would tell students who are considering attending an MBC show. “Bring a friend” he chuckles. I know I certainly will.
To book tickets to Melbourne’s Ballet Company’s ‘Project Five: Believe’ phone: (03)829 07000 or book in person at Chapel Off Chapel theatre, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran. Season length: 27-31 May 2009. For more information see MBC website: http://www.melbourneballetcompany.com.au. Prices – Dress rehearsal: $20.00; Adult: $38.50; Concession and child $28.50.