Dirt! - Choreographic Program


Tracks Dance Studio, Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts, Darwin City

Showings: April 23 - 24, 2016

Tracks' Choreographic Program has been running since 2010, and fills a much needed gap in the performing arts sector where our top talent often find they have to go down south to continue their training.

Kelly Beneforti the director and facilitator of this year's course shares her thoughts about leading the program.

Kelly says about the course: “This is a unique environment that develops an artist in many ways. It is about valuing the practice, and committing to the time. The course creates a sense of routine for these artists. They must fully commit to it, to allow themselves to be creative, to explore and to experiment. This is set up to slowly unfold, rather than placing pressure to create a product in a short timeframe. The course also offers a diverse group of people the opportunity to work and learn together, developing a shared experience, as well as individual and unique ideas, styles and processes. The program has many outward ripples, it is exciting to think that what happens during this course has far reaching effects."

In Kelly developing the content of the course. “I get to learn as much as the other choreographers, it has opened up my own thoughts about where to begin when making dance. It has been exciting to challenge myself to try and enter their process of making without interfering. I support, and provide provocations in order to open up more possibilities.”

This year's aspiring choreographers are diverse in age, dance and physical theatre backgrounds, and cultures. They are: Natalie Hafsteins, Venaska Cheliah, Darryl Butler, Nikki Jeffries, Felicity Wardle, Clare Scarce and Penny Paton. They will be performing with guest dancers.

Read about and see behind the scenes photos of our photo shoot at WWII Oil Storage Tunnels. Big thanks to Darwin Tours for letting us use the Tunnels

Creative Team

Program Director: Kelly Beneforti
Choreographers: Natalie Hafsteins, Venaska Cheliah, Darryl Butler, Nikki Jeffries, Felicity Wardle, Clare Scarce and Penny Paton
Additional Performers: Chloe Lauverjon, Carmel Alderson, Kathryn Ezzy, Kyle Ramboyong, Nimila Heys
Film: Amy Hetherington (Amiable Communiications) Music: Strange Zero - 'Forbidden Lotus'

See Video from Showing

Running Order


by Felicity Wardle

Performed by Darryl, Venaska, Nikki, Clare, Kyle
Music: Vesna by Dakhabrakha
“How do you move through the polarities of your own mind and respond to the pressures of the world around you? How do you find your inner stillness?”

Pane and Glass

by Darryl Butler
Performed by Carmel, Penelope, Felicity
Music: Compilation of mobile phone tones available for free-download at various websites
"Experiencing the world from the ground of our values is human. Intersections of age, experience, opportunity and expectation shape how we see and don’t see, how we feel and don’t feel and what we understand and don’t understand. Pane and Glass explores such intersections for dancers and audience."


by Natalie Hafsteins, choreographed in collaboration with Venaska
Performed by Natalie, Venaska
Music: Mana by Ran Bagno
“Headspace reveals the multiple conversations one has with themselves. The movement explores self-talk and how it can impact our physical and mental state. One must recognise and refocus these interactions to reconcile the mind, body and spirit.”

6 Degrees

by Nikki Jeffries
Performed by Darryl, Clare, Penelope, Felicity
Music: Travel Slow by Elderbrook
“This piece is about the concept of 6 degrees of separation; how familiar people come into our lives and have influence on us, whether we notice or not. And that whatever the age or trajectory of those people, if our eyes and hearts are open, their effect can be amazing.”

Group Piece

directed by Kelly Beneforti, in collaboration with the Choreographic Program participants
Music: Lantern by SBTRKT, Brainfeeder by Flying Lotus, Sense of an Ending by James Place


by Penelope Paton
Performed by Chloe, Natalie, Penelope
Music: Reptilia by The Strokes and Kiara by Bonobo
“Inspired by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, PopRock is a statement piece about the materialistic and hedonistic world we inhabit. It ventures into creating dance as a sell-able form, juxtaposed by a surreal ugly dream world. Can our dreams be in touch with reality? Or are the dreamers out there missing out when faced with the physical world?”

What, No Fruit?!

by Clare Scarce
Performed by Kathryn, Chloe, Nikki, Nimila, Clare
Music: Female Energy by Willow Smith, What It Feels Like For A Girl by Madonna (performed by Nimila), Everybody’s Free by Rozalla (performed by Nimila)
“Misogyny is pervasive. It is also ridiculous. When we name it, when we laugh at it, misogyny cannot break us.”


by Venaska Cheliah
Performed by Kelly, Natalie, Venaska
Music: Resolute, and Laika by SBTRKT
“Counterpoint is the art of combining melodies, to contrast. This idea of counterpoint in dance was explored in this piece.”

Open Forum

Facilitated by Sean Pardy (Sat), Liz Trevaskis (Sun)


Darwin Tours and the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels, Big thanks to Correctional Services Work Parties, Skinnyfish Music, Darwin Tours, Darwin Festival, Liz Trevaskis, Sean Pardy, Paz Tassone (Photographer), Amy Hetherington, David Taylor, Marg Lee, Marge Duminski, Ellen Hankin, Janine Sutter, and our Front Of House crew: Thevi Chelliah, Noya Chong Wah and Jaime Ksan


Darwin International Airport, Southern Cross TV

Government Partners

Tracks Inc is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.

Tracks 2016

Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Agnès Michelet
Administrator: Clancy Breasley
Production Manager: Mathew McHugh
Dance Animateur: Kelly Beneforti
Bookkeeper: Noya Chong Wah

Committee Members: Mary Durack (Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Michael Grant, David Taylor, Ken Conway, Stephanie Cvirn, Venaska Cheliah. David McMicken, Tim Newth, Agnès Michelet (Ex-Officio Members)

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Ippei Okazaki

Patron: His Honour, The Honourable John Hardy OAM, Administrator of the Northern Territory



Explore Further

All Choreographic Programs

Research and Development

2016 Development Program

Participants Comments

"I can think of several occasions…where I had a chance to explore an idea in different ways and be challenged to reframe the idea… In my choreographed piece this challenge was extended and I ended up with something that was some way from the practical realisation of my starting ideas and expectations.

What can I now do with what I have learned? and How can I continue to express the results of my learning; This expectation of an open pathway ahead presents the NT dance scene with awakened and innovative thinkers." Darryl

"I was able to learn different dance styles, theory, techniques that I knew nothing about. As well as better ways to communicate my ideas, which I often find the most difficult part of creative work. It gave me a vocabulary for explaining my intentions." Penny 

"I gained an insight into how much time and effort and energy goes into creating a dance piece and how many considerations need to be made, and a deeper appreciation for the decision making process that goes on behind the scenes for every movement that the audience sees in a finished piece. I see this program as a launching pad to then find other projects to further develop our skills. I gained some useful knowledge in the program which I will definitely refer to time and time again when I make works in the future." Clare

"The program allowed me to be immersed in an environment where I was challenged and inspired to create and create and create. It has got the 'ball rolling' for me in my own artistic practice and in the work I do teaching and choreographing circus classes. The experience has strengthened my confidence as a performer and choreographer and given me some new practical approaches to devising work." Felicity

"It has given me a safe space to explore my current dance style and interest as well as a safe space to develop my improvisation skills." Venaska

"I personally gained strength in understanding my own personal movement vocabulary. I also valued the experience of challenging what I thought it was. This was particularly evident when embracing the various talents, experience and backgrounds of the other artists in the program." Nat

"I learned that it is crucial to give the right amount of impetus when exploring [choreographic] possibilities. It requires a lot of thought to think about what words will illicit the response you'd like [from the dancers]. My personal challenge was to set tasks and not to demonstrate the type of movement." Nikki

Audience Response

“The choreographic program offers local dancers and choreographers an opportunity to develop skills and gain experience that would normally be provided through tertiary type institutions. In a Territory without tertiary dance programs, this allows the current and future leaders of our dance sector to enhance and motivate their practices, which in turn invigorate and feed back into our communities. With the isolation our dancers and dance audiences face compared with the rest of the country such programs help to combat the constant disadvantage and risk of artistic stagnation. I look forward to seeing the choreographic program grow in future.” Lizzi Webb

"The 2016 Tracks Dance Choreographic program showing DIRT offered a rare glimpse behind closed studio doors, as the audience walks alongside the first steps of a new generation of Dance makers. The works were disparate and surprising and the group of choreographers spanning ages and backgrounds was absolutely indicative of what makes this company so astounding, the steadfast belief that dance is for everyone."  CJ Fraser-Bell - Darwin Fringe Festival

"It was inspiring to watch how the choreographers melded their personal dance experiences with the new tools they studied to create fresh and interesting choreographic works.  I particularly enjoyed Venaska's exploration of contemporary Indian dance with modern contemporary dance." Lisa Svara

"We are so lucky to be in Darwin. We have such amazing things. We really are."

Search for Work by Title or
by Person:

› Search for Work by year