1993 Community Dance Program - Brown's Mart

1993 Community Dance Program - Brown's Mart


    Darwin, Batchelor, Angurugu, Broome

    Throughout the year, 1993

    Sarah Calver returned from maternity leave to take on the full-time position of Community Dancer in Residence – Brown’s Mart Community Arts. David went part-time and was able to take on residencies away from Darwin. It was also a significant year for Brown’s Mart as a community arts institution reaching its 21st birthday.

    1993 was a very busy and rewarding year, one where we have been able to see the beginnings of new directions and possibilities. We are becoming stronger in our own philosophies and stronger in recognising and promoting that which is particularly Territorian about our work. The creation of Silent Thought is perhaps the beginning of creating a repertoire of easily tourable work that is of particular relevance to the Territory. It is our intention to continue developing this kind of work. Our distance from other places allows for a unique style to develop. It is time for us to stop getting our feet caught on the issues surrounding the "tyranny of distance" but rather look for opportunities. With two dance officers, we were able to maintain activity in Darwin, while David was able to travel to other regions for events, such as Angurugu Residency on Groote Eylandt, Broome for the Waderbirds project, and Melbourne for Greenmill Conference.

    We developed how we worked and talked about our community engagement. We created the idea of  Open House and made an invitation for people to showcase their work. This allowed a great outcome for less work as well as a platform to show experimental or unfinished work. With the new Gathering Ground, we looked at ways to collaborate with groups more fully rather than just perform one after another, creating a more cohesive community event that all felt a part of. We were exploring how our Local Troupe professional dancers could take guidance roles in a larger performance context. It was becoming clear that the idea of the Brown's Mart Community Dance Program needed a new name as the nebulous feel of the program was calling out for a more solid core. 

    Creative Personnel

    Sarah Calver, David McMicken, Tim Newth, Berenice Franklin and Lisa Campbell

    Darwin Dance Mob

    Classes, workshops and performances throughout the year.
    Classes – rehearsal room Entertainment Centre: Older Adults (Grey Panthers), Children under 10, teenagers, adults. Tutors: Sarah Calver, David McMicken, Maggi Phillips, and Berenice Franklin. Covering Technique, alignment, improvisation, contact release, choreographic skills and creative dance. This community dance group explores the many faces of modern dance and encourages people from all walks of life to come together to explore dance in their lives. Guest tutors include Greg Sheehan, drumming and dance percussion, and Claire Haige, Bhuto and Body Weather workshops
    Additional workshops:
    Sarah and David taught Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre dance workshops, throughout the year, culminating in a showing at the end of the year
    Workshops were taught at Casuarina Community College with choreographic explorations based on personal backgrounds. Many of these students are from non-English speaking Backgrounds.
    Natalie Sprite took writing workshops with the Older Adults Dance Mob (Grey Panthers)
    Performances took place at:
    • Mixtures at the Mart
    • Evergreens Club (three performances)
    • Museum Open Day
    • Senior Citizens Week
    • Batchelor Area School
    • University for the Third Age
    • Land

    Local Troupe

    Professional Dance stream
    Land - November 24-27. Brown’s Mart Theatre.
    This was an evening of three new dance works. Silent Thought was choreographed by Tim Newth and Performed by Sarah Calver and David McMicken. As I Am, choreographed by Sarah Calver, and danced by Lisa Campbell, Helen Haritos, Berenice Franklin, and Sandy Stewart. Chaos, choreographed by David McMicken and danced by Sarah Calver, Berenice Franklin and Lisa Campbell, featuring Darwin Dance Mob Adults Moira Stronach, Linda Barry, Nicolien Rubin, Lucinda Murrell, Brolga, and Ingrid Ulpin. David worked with Berenice Franklin to work with computer imagery created from a Fractal program and project this into a cloud of dry ice.

    Other Local Troupe performances:
    • Evergreen Luncheon
    • Evergreen Easter Show
    • Mixtures at the Mart – March
    • Arafura Games Opening Ceremony
    • Open House
    • Dance Week
    • Poster Run
    • Mindil Under the Moon
    • Batchelor Are School

    Community Dance Performances

    Mixtures at Marrara: Arafura Stadium, involved two Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre (CIYT) groups, Local Troupe and Dance Mob.

    Mixtures at the Mart, (March 27th) showcasing the many dance talents of such a diversity of groups and individuals in an exhilarating evening of dance. Performances included Darwin Dance Mob, Kulay Lupa, The Palmerston Tappers, The Grey Panthers, and Lisa Campbell School of Dancing.

    Open House. An evening of dance with a difference, all draft works, works in progress Sunday, April 18th, 6.30 start

    Gathering Ground: June 4th and 5th with guest artists Juniper Tree Dance Company, Darwin Juke Box Rock, Corrugated Iron, Darwin Dance Mob (including the older adults newly renamed The Grey Panthers), Local Troupe, Artability, and an audience participation dance. This was a Darwin Fringe event. Beginning in Civic Park and processing into the Brown’s Mart Theatre, Darwin, Gathering Ground is a project that aims to give diverse groups a reason to come together and dance. Instead of the usual event that is one item after another, this project tries to integrate common themes and fosters a more collaborative approach.

    Brown’s Mart 21st Birthday – Not able to get separate funding, all the Brown’s Mart programs agreed to aim their work towards this event, with overriding themes of coming of age, and rites of passage. For this event, we took on the creation of a celebratory dance event called 21 Today featuring Darwin Dance Mob adults, kids, and older adults (Grey Panthers), David and Sarah, Johanna Clancy, and Berenice Franklin. Corrugated Iron youth dancers,
    Local Troup took workshops with drummer Greg Sheehan – leading to a performance on the day.
    Poster Run: exhibition hosted by 24 Hour Art featuring some posters designed by Tim Newth (October 2nd). This included a performance by Sarah and David of Tim Newth’s Silent Thought

    Arafura Games Opening Ceremony. This Biennial event is a celebration of our region and the many cultures that live here. It has a strong dance basis in order to create an impact on the Marrara Oval. We worked on both the pre-show activities and the main event

    Dance week: Raintree Park performance – April. A lunchtime performance of dance by Local Troupe and the Older adults group (Grey Panthers)

    Dance Theatre

    Work with Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre, Darwin Theatre Company, and other theatre groups and individuals.
    Worked on The Tempest: Darwin Theatre Company directed by Patrick Mitchell

    Heartbeat Of The Earth – Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre. Written by Eva Johnson and directed by Maggie Miles. Sarah Calver choreographed with Linda Bonson for this performance that was presented at the 2nd World Indigenous Youth Conference. They worked with June Mills and Allyson Arjibuk Mills, Local Larrakeyah artists.

    Radio For Help: Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre play by Suzanne Spunner, directed by Maggie Myles. Choreographic assistance by David McMicken and Sarah Calver.

    Remote Indigenous Community Residencies

    Angurugu. Tim and David worked on this community development project

    Ongoing relationships and liaising with the Lajamanu Community occur. This relationship that begun in 1988 allows the artists to gain a deeper understanding of Warlpiri culture and how dance fits into that.

    Sarah And David continued to work at St Johns College and Casuarina Secondary College. Sarah Calver worked with St Johns College for the Beat Festival, the NT Department of Education's annual performing arts showcase. It is a large-scale combined schools production led by the NT Music School with the support of the Beat Foundation, showcasing the great work of our schools. An annual and keenly anticipated event since 1979

    Hosting Independent Dancers, Placements

    Hellen Sky and John McCormick Showing of work INTERFACE – Centring on ideas for their new dance work – Rehearsal Room Entertainment Centre August 6th 8 pm
    Student Placement: Johanna Clancy, University of Western Sydney.
    Indigenous traineeship: Linda Bonson. A three-month training program and workshop training was developed for this Indigenous dancer.


    In January David attended the AUSDANCE Biennial Conference and the inaugural GREENMILL project. The conference was three days followed by 2 weeks of GREENMILL.

    The 9th National Biennial AUSDANCE Conference was titled THE POLITICS OF DANCE POLICY, PROCESS and PRACTICE. The three days was filled with guest speakers: Dr. Peter Brinson, Julie Dyson, Nanette Hassall, Kathryn Lowe, Steven Page and an Aboriginal delegation. Panel forums and discussion groups.

    It was encouraging to see that there was a strong Northern Territory contingent at this conference. Many of the issues raised as important to companies in Southern city centres were ones that we are attempting to resolve through our work at Brown's Mart. Some of these issues were:
    1. The need for dance animateurs who will work with all sections of the community; especially N.E.S.B, Aboriginal, women, youth and disabilities.
    2. The need to understand Aboriginal culture in its diversity and to recognise its place in the development of an Australian Cultural psyche.
    3. The need to work closely with Aboriginal artists and to find ways for them working through established organisations.

    The GREENMILL Project was an important event. It spanned two weeks. Each morning of the first week was devoted to talks from dance practitioners and was followed by a panel discussion and an open forum. Areas covered were: Design, Interactive Cultures, Composers, Dance and contemporary idioms from the Asian psyche, folkloric, choreographers, pioneers, ballroom dancing, dance and theatre, directors, computer interactive work, Butoh, "High" Australian culture, film-makers and dance, Classical Ballet in a post-modem world, dance degrees, and critical writing and dance.

    During the afternoon a core of choreographers selected from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific would work with the key speakers from the morning, working on specific problem-solving. The last session of the day was spent with open forum discussions on the day's activities and either showing of work or oral feedback from the core choreographic group.

    The second week had a different structure with the core choreographic team working full time and showing work in the last session of each day. The forum discussions held during the day included; Whose National Dance Culture? Dance and Anthropology, Dance and Cultural Theory, Dance Research and Theory, Where does that highway lead to, (a look at our dance history by some leading Australian dance advocates. Conference papers from the Biennial Conference and some lecture tapes have been purchased.

    Other streams of the conference were contemporary dance performances and exhibitions. The following companies performed current work from their repertoire. I attended the performance sessions where the artists talked to the audience after the show. The companies are as follows: Expressions Dance Company, Body Under Ground, Outlet Dance, Star*Danger* Star, Born in a Taxi, Dance; a performance of over thirty dance artists coordinated by Jude Walton, Interactive with Hellen Sky and John McCormick, Bangarra, Leaning into the Light, (Nanette Hassall), Surface to Air.

    This time recharged the batteries and enabled David to sing the praises of the work we do in the Northern Territory. It was good to confirm that the work we do here is good and that it is, in many ways, coveted by dance some people down South. We must ensure we find a way to clearly articulate what we do and why it is different and important. I see no reason why we could not present work at a conference such as this in the future, both performance and forum.

    Wader Birds – Odyssey Of The Wetlands - Broome

    This international arts science tour followed the northern migration of the Eastern Curlew from Aotearoa New Zealand, across to Melbourne and then Broome, Australia and to Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan, following the pathway of this endangered bird.." Meme McDonald - Artistic Director. Tim Newth was part of the core team. David was released from his Brown’s Mart work to volunteer on the Broome leg of this internationally touring work. A slide night was held in Darwin in October to share with the Darwin people this experience.

    In Broome, David worked closely with Beth Shelton, (choreographer and a fellow graduate), Tim Newth as a design assistant, Kate Clare as an assistant with schools' workshops, and Meme MacDonald, Director, where he was a performer in the large-scale community performance event. It showed the importance of:
    1. Going to the communities first before the team arrives.
    2. Targeting specific groups to work on the project.
    3. Working closely with local government.
    David learned much about the organisation of a large-scale event. All the other artists on the Team work through their own singular art form and he was quite unique in his ability to move through the dance, drama, visual arts and performance work

    In October David and Sarah attended the 2nd NT Arts Forum, ALICE SPRINGS, which allowed for further liaison with the Yipirinya School regarding a future residency.

    Tasdance toured to the Northern Territory and presented a work by Tim Newth. Tim and David McMicken assisted the company, travelling to Jabiru and Gunbalanya with the company, assisting in tour management, cultural liaising, and workshop facilitation. David taught their company class. The Tasdance dancers took a workshop with our Older Adults group.

    David attended the Young Playwright Conference to talk on the use of movement in theatre, especially regarding work in an Indigenous context.

    A remount of Bronwyn Culcutt’s Disenchantment included choreographic work by David McMicken, who directed and dramaturged the original production.

    A new image was designed by Tim Newth for the community dance program. It was used for the Land postcard, letterhead and T-shirt and was based on the work of local sculptor Ingrid Ulpin. It is becoming more important that this program creates its own identity and brand.


    Brown’s Mart Community Arts Dance Development Offices: Sarah Calver, David McMicken

    [Under Brown's Mart Community Arts – Executive Officer Ken Conway]

    Angurugu Residency. Tim Newth, ?, ? photographer David McMicken
    Poster Run. Dancers David McMicken and Sarah Calver in Silen Thought. Photographer Tim Newth

    Tracks Dance Company Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

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