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>Best-known for her performances with Graeme Murphy’s Sydney Dance Company (2005-2009) and as one of the stunning faces of Energetiks Dancewear, Melbourne-born dancer Teagan Lowe is about to add another string to her bow. As Associate Artistic Director of the brand new Mod Dance Company alongside Acting Artistic Director Brett Morgan, Teagan and the company’s dedicated personnel are getting ready to present their first production, Suite Synergy, in March 2011 — a fusion of two existing works by Murphy.
Mod Dance Company has described itself as a “contemporary dance and entertainment company.” What does that mean in terms of your vision for the company?
We always wanted to be visionary as a brand new company and have thought outside the realm of “Arts” and “Commercial” as two separate entities. We have fused them together instead to form Australia’s first “Entertainment” company.
MDC wants to provide our audiences with the best from all aspects of “Entertainment”. For example, with our premiere show, Suite Synergy [featuring a synthesis of Graeme Murphy’s works Free Radicals and Synergy with Synergy], we are uniting contemporary dance with live percussion. This is a trend we would like to continue to use for all future productions to always keep our audiences excited and stimulated.
Tell us about the inspiration for Mod Dance Company?
As a dancer I have always felt that Australia has been so isolated from the rest of the world and very limited with its contracts in dance. We have an endless amount of rich, unexplored talent right here in our own backyard and it upsets me to see our extraordinary talent flee overseas simply because that’s where the contracts are.
When I was approached by Linda Alescio (Director of MDC) and presented with this once-in-a-lifetime prospect to enrich Australian dance, I jumped at the opportunity and haven’t looked back since.
Blending different dance styles can be exciting, but it can also be risky. What would you say to those who would consider ballet, contemporary and commercial dance as incompatible?
I appreciate that there will be always lines that need to be distinct when it comes to certain forms of art and performance. However, in these changing times and with so much now at our finger tips, we would be crazy not to take some risks.
There will always be beautiful ballets, exciting contemporary dance pieces and high-energy commercial productions, so we needed to find the niche that was void, and have done so by crossing the “arts” with the “commercial”. To some people this will seem a very bold move, others may see it as a smart progression. I guess everyone will have to come along and judge for him or herself!
Mod Dance Company is up against some stiff competition. How do you envision MDC will fit into this picture?
Mod Dance Company management is based in Melbourne, but our rehearsal space is in Sydney (Alexandria). Wherever we are, I don’t see the other companies in competition with us. We are all here to support and nurture Australian dance and Australian dancers. MDC would be honoured to hold ourselves up against established companies that have done wonders for our dancers and artists.
It makes me immeasurably proud to be part of the Australian dance and live performance scene as I know how supportive the companies are of one another. It is truly something that Australia should be very, very proud of.
It is mentioned on the company’s website that MDC has attracted considerable attention from sponsors. Could you tell us a little about more about your partnerships?
Being a fresh, new, young, exciting company, we have got people, especially sponsors, buzzing. We have a wonderful sponsorship team, Coruscade, whose constant dedication and drive has been vital to securing such amazing sponsorships.
We want to make our sponsors immensely proud that they are part of our Mod Dance Company family and we are always making sure that their needs are being met and exciting things are happening.
We have been very fortunate to associate with companies for sponsorship that are in direct alignment with our goals, visions and aspirations; so together we possess a flawless “Synergy”.
How are preparations going for Suite Synergy?
Excellent! From all the management, sponsorship and production teams, it is all guns blazing. As the artistic team, we’ve enjoyed getting into the studio with our wonderful dancers and Graeme to start creating the colossal beast that is Suite Synergy and we cannot wait to share it with everyone!
Suite Synergy is to be musically directed by percussionist and composer Michael Askill. Tell us more about Suite Synergy’s unusually strong foregrounding of the relationship between music and dance.
Brett Morgan felt that these two amazing works by Graeme still had so much life. We sat down with the footage and selected the pre-eminent pieces from each work and melded them together to form the commercial contemporary piece, Suite Synergy.
From early discussions on the topic of MDC being an “Entertainment” company, we knew we would always want to push boundaries and wanted more facets to the show, which is when we decided to draw on the extraordinary musical talent of Michael Askill to add an element of live percussion.
Having this relationship between the two forms of live performance will engage our audiences at a deeper level and will hopefully leave them wanting more of what we have to offer as a company in future productions.
Where do you see Mod Dance Company five years from now?
Still exciting our audiences by pushing all the boundaries, be they physical, staging, or otherwise. Also, maintaining our exciting and impressive ground-breaking status and combining new visions to produce imaginative works for not only Australia but for the world to see.
I see our repertoire growing and flourishing as the years continue, and our collaborations with new exciting and legendary choreographers expand. Our determination to work with our country’s greatest musicians, performers and dancers will ensure our engaging theatrical expression.
Mod Dance Company presents Graeme Murphy’s Suite Synergy 23-26 March 2011 at the Arts Centre, State Theatre; Wed – Saturday 8pm, Thursday & Saturday 2pm.For tickets, visit theartscentre.com.au, 1300 182 183 or the Arts Centre Box Office. Following Melbourne, SUITE SYNERGY will be performed in Sydney, Perth, Darwin, Gold Coast and Adelaide.Visit www.suitesynergy.com.au for full tour information
This interview was first published at Trespass Magazine