19 February - 29 April, 2018
Activating the City with Dance
Tracktivation was a 10-week community and civic activation project that connected people and place through dance. It was artist-driven and resulted in experimental and innovative approaches to public engagement.
The concept for Tracktivation was conceived and designed by Tracks Artistic Co-Director David McMicken. Drawing on research from international civic activation projects and partnering with NTG Live Darwin, Tracks was able to provide a framework for an intensive CBD dance residency which took over the Live Darwin Hub in the Smith Street Mall, Darwin.
Concept: David McMicken
Tracktivators: Kelly Beneforti (Tracks Dance Animateur), Jenelle Saunders, Bryn Wackett, Jordan Bretherton and Madeleine Brown
Mentors: Tim Newth and David McMicken
With support, guidance and mentoring the Tracktivator’s leveraged the Company’s trusted history of community dance collaboration and formed a series of experimental city dance experiences. Their work was grouped into three primary areas:
- On the Dance Floor - public classes and workshops
- Watch - performances/interventions and open rehearsals
- Participate - large scale community dance works
On the Dance Floor
Every Tuesday and Wednesday in March the Tracktivator’s ran free lunchtime drop-in dance classes, incorporating different dance styles from Bollywood and Disco to Rock’n’Roll. The classes were run on a ‘turn up’, no bookings necessary basis and in each class a short dance routine was learnt.
4.21 Dance Class
Three cheeky half-hour dance classes at the end of the week gave a nod to government workers leaving the office on a Friday at 4:21
Beginner Course in Contemporary Dance
In March, Tracktivator and resident Tracks Animateur Kelly Beneforti ran a four-week contemporary adult dance class on Saturday mornings. In one case a participant attended a class via Skype making it Tracks’ first virtual dance class.
Using a tool kit based on improvisation the Tracktivator’s completed weekly half-hour lunchtime Mall Sweep. Starting at one end of the Smith Street Mall and working their way along the Tracktivator’s performed a series of dance vignettes that responded to the microcosm of the Mall environment and engaged public/shoppers. The Tracktivators used techniques such as Coffee shop copy, kids as choreographers, the Mall as an obstacle course and virtual dance cards.
City Dance Walk
Site-specific dance specialist Tim Newth and Darwin architect Katy Moir led the Tracktivator’s in a session on revisioning the CBD through dance. This included a guided tour of unusual architectural sites. The Tracktivator’s went on to choreograph new work in response to their selected city site. This activity delivered a deeper level of experience for both dancers and the general public. Both studio rehearsals and on-site rehearsals were open to the public, giving a behind the scenes insight into the process of dance making. City Dance Walk allowed the dancers to develop work that put their own mark on the living memory of the CBD.
The audience registered for the free performance and met at the city bus terminal, where they were then walked to each site and given a brief introduction to each work. City Dance Walk was an excellent example of unexpected art experiences in public places with people ‘accidentally’ discovering art in their normal environment. These experiences help to reimagine a space by making the usual unusual.
Approximately 25 people joined the whole walk each day, which took in 5 new works in 5 sites. Many more people joined the walk for one or two sites. Anecdotally, audiences were heard saying this sort of thing should be in the Darwin Festival.
In 2019 Tracks created a new major work in the Darwin CBD building upon the success of the City Dance Walk it was called Global Positioning.
The Grey Panthers is Tracks senior dance troupe that brought their weekly class into the CBD pop up studio. This provided a behind the scenes opportunity for the public to watch how the group develop and rehearse work. It also provided the opportunity for the Tracktivators to develop choreography with senior dancers.
In addition, the Grey Panthers performed three spontaneous pop-up performances in the Mall.
Make A Dance In A Week (MADIAW)
MADIAW became part of Tracktivation in order to extend the Tracktivator’s experience of community engagement through working intensely with a young age group. view more
Tracks Dance Poster Exhibition
The Live Darwin Hub was open Monday to Friday to visit the pop-up studio and see the Tracks Dance poster exhibition, 'Tracks Dance around Darwin' and video archives. view more
Dance Doctors was an initiative that saw the Tracktivator’s go into CBD offices (by appointment) to tune up the health of the working environment through dance.
Each Dance Doctor had a speciality that was based on genuine academic research into the health benefit of dance. Each of the Dance Doctors demonstrated a series of dance health moves. By the end of the appointment, office workers were participating in a one-minute dance routine.
Our Dance Doctors were:
Dr Walnut – Neurologist (brain)
Dr Brown – Orthopaedic Surgeonologist (bones)
Dr Arthur - Ritus Rheumatologist (muscles)
Dr Beats – Cardiologist (heart)
Dr Good Strong – Pulmonologist (lungs)
The Dance Doctors were booked for nine appointments in CBD offices and engaged 120 workers.
Singing in the Rain
Learn the dance and perform it at Raintree Park.
Big Dance is an international dance event established in 2006. Free public and school workshops were held to teach the dance and a seated version was created to allow greater accessibility for senior or disabled participants.
In true Tracks style the venue for the performance was unusual but Top End in flavour. Located on the 6th floor of West Lane car park in Darwin City, the venue had great views over the harbour and a cross breeze that kept the participants cool. view more
CBD dance studio and poster exhibition launch by Minister Moss
Relay Baton- an improvised short piece that responded to the Commonwealth Games baton bearers running through the Mall. The actual baton procession was called off due to rain but the Tracktivator’s entertained the audience by performing their piece regardless of the weather.
Dancers Picnic - a chance for the public to join our Tracktivators for a BYO lunch on our internal picnic area within the Live Darwin Hub.
Two events were cancelled due to Cyclone Marcus:
Raintree Park - Singing in the Rain
Speakers Lawn - Demonstration Dance
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.
Proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government and Live Darwin.
Brown's Mart Theatre, City of Darwin, Cj Fraser-Bell, Angus Robson, Chris Kluge, Brenton Ryan, Finn Williams and Gus Fitzgerald.
Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jessica Mellor
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Dance Animateur: Kelly Beneforti
Bookkeeper: It Figures
Committee Members: Mary Durack (Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Michael Grant, David Taylor, Ken Conway, Venaska Cheliah, Sudha Coutinho, Mandela Yu. David McMicken, Tim Newth, Adelaide Wood (Ex-Officio Members)
Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Ippei Okazaki
Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory
"I have a re-found appreciation that dance can improve someone’s day, and this can be in small ways" - Choreographer
"Best way I could have spent my lunchtime" - Participant
"It was great to laugh and move with my collegues and to see the rapport build amongst the group" - Dance Doctor Participant
"It provided a sense of a diverse CBD that was not just commercial" - Audience