Court to Country - Arafura Ensemble co-production


Supreme Court, Darwin City

April 25, 1999

Co-production concert and dance performance with Arafura Ensemble which celebrated Australian Dance Week. Presented were a combination of danced pieces and music inspired by dance, including classical, semi-classical, folk, traditional and contemporary.

Being presented were a combination of danced pieces and music inspired by dance. Given the obvious link between dance and music it is surprising that in the European tradition it was not until the Renaissance that composers began using dance music as an artistic form. Since then, dance forms have become vital ingredients in suite, sonatas and other chamber music.

Rukshana and Ram present a diversity of sub continental dance styles: classical, accompanied by the mridanga; semi-classical, accompanied by tabla; and folk accompanied by rhabana. The focus in on the interaction between the drum rhythms and the dance; the dancer at all times following the drum and eye contact is an important element in this communication. Facial and hand gestures are also significant components of the dance.

Astor Piazzolla (1921-19920), an Argentinean composer devoted his life to the tango. On returning from study in France, he set about breaking the bounds of the tango tradition and raised it a sublime art. The Historia del Tango, composed in 1986, places the dance in four historical settings; a bordello in 1900, a cafe in 1930, a nightclub in 1960, and a concert version in the present. The first two of these movements are presented this afternoon.

Airi, Julia and Joanna have collaborated to produce a contemporary work growing out of traditional Papua New Guinean music and dance motifs. The music provides an opportunity to explore the dynamics of three different kinds of drum: the congas, kundu and garamut.

Rossini (1792 -1868) is best known for his operatic output, but also composed chamber music and choral works. His Harmonie in F is unusual in being scored for two horns, two clarinets and bassoon rather than the usual wind quintet; indeed little used clarinets in C (kindly lent to Arafura by the Darwin Symphny Orchestra) rather than their larger counterparts are called for each of the five movements is based on simple dance forms and folk tunes.

The final tongue-in-cheek Polacca, equivalent to the polonaise, derives from a stately processional dance. Peter Warlock (1894 1930), alias the music critic Philip Heseltine, composed the Capriol Suite in 1926. Each movement is a dance form based on Arbeau's manual of French courtly dance, Orchesographie (1589). The Pavane and Basse Dance are both slow dances, the first processional, the second performed by couples. The Tordion, with its rhythmic hemiolas and the circle dance, Bransle are both faster. A pastoral Pieds en l'air and a vigorous sword dance, marked by insistent chromatic harmony, conclude the work.

Director's Notes - David McMicken

Creative Personnel

Artistic Directors: David McMicken, Claire Kilgariff
Choreographer: David McMicken, Rukshana Ramachandran, Joanna Noonan


Dancers: Julia Quinn, Rukshana Ramachandran
Musicians: Claire Kilgariff, Airi Ingram, Airlie Andrew, Anja Tait, Anna Faeshe, Annette Anderson, Bill Grose, Bronwyn Myers, Carolyn Roddam, Erin McCann, Fay Johnston , Lucy Eames , Natalie Chin, Olivia Dandens, Paia Ingram, Pete Faeshe , Ram Kumar, Sally Cutter, Stephen Peverly, Tau Ingram


  • Dancer: Rukshana Ramachandran Drums: Mirdanga, Tabla, Rhabana: Ram Kumar
  • Historia del Tango A. Piazzolla (1921 1992) Bordello 1990 Cafe 1930 Flute: Claire Kilgariff Guitar: Bill Grose
  • Skin Would Dance Drums: Congos, Kundu, Garamut: Airi Ingram Dancer: Julia Quinn Choreographer: Joanna Noonan
  • Harmonic in F G. Rossini (1792 1868) Andante, Allegretto, Allegretto, Adagio, Polacca Clarinets: Stephen Peverly, Natalie Chin Horns: Carolyn Roddam, Tau Ingram Bassoon: Airlie Andrew
  • Capriol Suite P. Warlock (1894 1930) Pavane, Basse Danse, Tordion, Bransle Pieds en L'air, Mattachines Violin 1: Sid Selva nyagam, Erin McCann Violin 11: Anna Faeshe, Paia Ingram, Pete Faehse Viola: Olivia Dandens, Annette Anderson Cello: Lucy Eames, Bronwyn Myers, Fay Johnston Double Bass: Sally Cutter. Directed by Anja Tait

Tracks Dance 1999

Artistic Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Administrator: Amanda Carlton

Inaugural Committee Members: David Taylor (Chair), Ken Conway (Vice-Chair) Chris Raynal (Treasurer), Rukshana Ramachandran (Secretary/Public Officer), Tania Lieman, Jackie Wurm, Kez Hall, Nick Papandonakis (Ordinary Committee Members), David McMicken and Tim Newth (Ex-Officio Members)

Explore Further

Professional Dance


Search for Work by Title or
by Person:

› Search for Work by year