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Canberra Today 19°/22° | Monday, January 24, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Lea’s dancing stars and the science of beauty

Chameleon Collective, L-R: Katie Senior, Lataesha Marsden, Brydie Bulley, Anna Connelly, Tara Trinh, Neave Darmody, Emily Knight. Photo: Andrew Sikorski.

ONE of the highlights of the winter events season and National Science Week in Canberra this year will be a dance show with a difference, the brainchild of former “CityNews” artist of the year, Liz Lea.

“Stars in 3D”, billed as “a season of dance and technology” is jointly presented by Lea’s mothership Stellar Company (formerly the Australian Talented Youth Project) and ASTRO 3D, who work out of Mt Stromlo combining optical and radio 3D technology with new theoretical supercomputer simulations.

It will also mark the launch of Lea’s newest dance troupe, the inclusive Chameleon Collective, named after both the constellation in the southern sky and the ever-changeable reptile.

Australian performer, director and choreographer Marc Brew is the patron of Chameleon, which is made up of artists living with differing abilities who are taking the next step into professional practice.

“Stars in 3D” will also feature filmed segments from Marc, Singapore’s Diverse Abilities Dance Collective (DADC) as well as cameo pieces by Liz Lea, Katie Senior, the Dream Team, CDTribe and Xtreme Stars.

Lea’s been working in the field on and off for about 25 years, she says, first in the UK, then with Canberra Dance Theatre, which she directed for many years, running weekly classes from which CDTribe grew.

“But the kids are growing up,” she explains and Chameleon, she hopes, will offer them professional development opportunities to perform.

Of them, Katie Senior is the only one so far with professional experience, through Lea, plus Canberra’s mixed ability theatre company Rebus.

But Lea plans to commission SA contemporary dance theatre artist Matt Shilcock, who was born with a brittle bone disorder, Australian choreographer Melanie Lane, and rapper KAG to give Chameleon the kind of in-depth training that will take them further.

“Working with different professional artists might seem esoteric to them at first but we are right at the very beginning, so we are taking it slowly,” she says. 

“There’ll be a lot of talking, I’ll bet, and there’s a lot of repetition with all the dances, so running through is important… it’s about a strong technical focus.”

Her hope is to develop a nationwide reputation for Chameleon, similar to that of Rawcus in Melbourne, or Restless Dance Theatre in SA.

As for what we will see onstage in “Stars in 3D”, it’ll be a combination of film and live performance, working in 3D and 360° in collaboration with Astro 3-D and RecoveryVR.

The show will see Senior and Lea perform a duet, then the Chameleon troupe will perform a sequence inspired by the Fibonacci sequence and “the science of beauty”, about which there will also be a film.

In the Saturday 4pm show, CDTribe (formerly CDTeens) will stage a fun performance, but then at 7pm Xtreme Stars from Tuggeranong Arts Centre will perform. On the Sunday at 4pm, it’ll be the Dream Team. Drawn from Michelle Heine’s LEGS Dance, each work will have a science aspect and give audiences the chance to play in virtual reality.

“I’ve ordered 500 sets of cardboard VR glasses for audience members and we will take them through the steps showing them how to connect… We’ll be in a theatre but every person will have a separate experience,” Lea says.

“And people will get to see Canberra’s newest dance collective which is cute.”

“Stars in 3D”, Canberra College Theatre, 2 Launceston Street, Phillip, 4pm-5.30pm and 7pm-8.30pm, Saturday, August 21 and 4pm-5.30pm, Sunday, August 22. This event has Auslan interpretation and captioning. Book here.

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Ian Meikle, editor

Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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