Unravel - Choreographic Program


Lawns, Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts, Darwin

Showings: May 8 - 9, 2010

A show & tell afternoon of dance. A chance to see what Darwin’s emerging choreographers are thinking, feeling & creating!

In a town bursting with talent, opportunities for up and coming choreographers are few and far between. Saving them a move interstate, Tracks’ Choreographic Program has offered a training ground for the development of seven young and emerging dance makers: Ricky Borg, Sasha Lai, Alex Jordan, Jenelle Saunders, Bree McCutcheon, Kelly Beneforti and Shaan Myall. These artists have poured themselves into exploring, playing, sharing, developing and honing choreographic skill. Workshops twice a week (for three months) have generated one-off solos, duets and improvisations, tremendous insights, discussion and feedback, and now, short dance pieces for Unravel.

Throughout the workshop series, I have encouraged the participants to explore diverse and imaginative approaches to choreography, often using creative writing, music, visual art, objects, lighting, costumes and stories as a starting point. Week after week they have each dreamt up weird and wonderful ideas, surprising movement choices and beautiful choreographies ... one-off treasures that arrived, came to life and vanished.

We looked at a selection of post-modern structures for generating and structuring dance material (Alphabet Cube, Five Rhythms, Narrative, Theme and Variation, ABA, etc) and worked for a number of sessions on site-specific dance... in cupboards, up ladders, under desks and upon bench tops at Tracks’ office in Frog Hollow. These pieces are featured in Mischa Baka’s dance film ‘Corner.’
A great sense of camaraderie, busy creativity and fun has blossomed throughout our choreographic program experience. Today’s showing presents new choreographic work by these seven delightful individuals, who have each let their imaginations run wild and have worked to make a wonderfully diverse program. I hope it provokes, emboldens, excites, confuses and inspires!

A big thank you to dancers Kristy and Stuart who joined us for the final month of the program to contribute their awesome moves and energy to the program!

Now, let’s unravel! 

Director's Notes - Jess Devereux

Creative Personnel

Choreographic Program concept - David McMicken
Program Director and Facilitator- Jess Devereux
Dance Filmmaker – Mischa Baka
Choreographers - Ricky Borg, Sasha Lai, Alex Jordan, Jenelle Saunders, Bree McCutcheon, Kelly Beneforti, Shaan Myall
Dancers - Stuart Fong and Kristy Renfrey

Production and Promotion Personnel

Production Manager - Kelly Blumberg
Production Assistant - Eugene Hallen
Front of House - Daniel Alderman, Carlo Novak, Fiona Carter, Mary Beneforti



Dance Film playing on a loop in the conference room, before and after the Unravel showing.
Mischa Baka - Director of Photography (film & editing)
Jess Devereux - Dance Animateur (workshop and concept)
Justin Ashworth - Composer (music soundscape entitled ‘Cast Anchor’)


By Jess Devereux and David McMicken

Legs up the Wall

Choreographed by Alex Jordan
A thing I most enjoyed from the choreo program was Jess's beautiful, always thoughtful and gentle facilitation: at the start of nearly every session she led us through a period of 'legs up the wall'... allowing blood flow from our legs back to our hearts. She never really did explain what it’s all about, but this piece is the beginnings of an exploration of some of the places we ended up and rolled through in our bi-weekly entree into unravelling.
Music: “Hands” by Fourtet
Cast: Alex, Kelly, Bree, Jess & Jenelle

Objectives, Plans, Ends and Desires - Thought Process

Choreographed by Sasha Lai
"Dance is innocence because it is a body before the body. It is forgetting, because it is a body that forgets its fetters, its weight. It is a new beginning, because the dancing gesture must always be something like the invention of its own beginning. And it is also play, of course, because dance frees the body of all social mimicry, from all gravity and conformity. Dance is the prime mover. Every gesture and every line of dance must present itself not as a consequence, but as the very source of mobility. And finally dance is simple affirmation, because it makes the negative body- the shameful body- radiantly absent.”
- Alain Badiou’s ‘Handbook of Inaesthetics on Dance as a Metaphor for Thought’
Music: “Wolf Like Me” by Tv On The Radio
Cast: Sasha & Bree


Choreographed by Jenelle Saunders
Run is the end result of a short and speedy experiment in manipulating a sample of choreography. Initially, the dancers were taught a dance phrase devised and furnished with some of my typical movement tendencies. They were then asked to add one of their own recognisable movement qualities to the end of the learned dance sequence. Following this, the dancers were placed in three groups and given one tool with which to manipulate the set dance phrase- amplification (make movement larger, more expansive), reduction (diminish and decrease the movement size) or fragmentation (break apart the movement components and re-order). Once these steps took place, both the original movement phrase and the newly-manipulated group offerings were dropped into a framework. Music was selected to intensify and correspond to the dynamics of the choreography. It seeks to be slightly chaotic and certainly energetic, with hints of both whole-group togetherness and glimpses of individuality throughout.
Music: “The Number Song” by DJ Shadow
Cast: Alex, Bree, Sasha, Shaan, Kelly, Kristy, Ricky

The Alphabet Cube

Description of a choreographic tool by Jess, Shaan and Alex

Ordinary People

Choreographed by Shaan Myall
This piece uses different choreographic tools including the alphabet cube, ABA method, improvisation, characterisation and gestural movement. At first I created the movement to a different piece of music, thinking that it would be an epic score that would touch the heart of the audience, but I got bored with it and changed my direction towards the end. My aim when creating this work was to do something outside my comfort zone, that would still be engaging for audiences. I decided to work with Ricky and Kelly as they have two very different styles of movement which helps to personify the theme of "ordinary people." This work isn’t serious or emotive, it’s really just ordinary. The music is fun, and whilst it had no direct influence on the movement, helps to shape the theme of ordinary people.
Music: “Northcote Hangover” by The Bedroom Philosopher
Cast: Shaan, Kelly, Ricky


Choreographed by Kelly Beneforti
I recently read "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens and was fascinated by the colourful extravagance of his language - much of which is now seldom used or heard. This piece has stemmed from the converging ideas; Dickens’ ornate and detailed descriptions of characters and scenes, as well as his tendency to develop his works to the point of melodrama and sheer farce. In his own words, they become “grotesque, tragi-comic conceptions...”
Music: "Wildlife Analysis" by Boards of Canada and “Reflections and Shadows” by Vassilis Tsabropoulos
Cast: Kelly & Stuart

Hot Mess

Choreographed by Ricky Borg
Having been inspired by the TV show ‘Supernatural’ and it’s endearing struggle between heaven and hell, I’ve made a piece about conflicting contrasts of human behavior and how they’re resolved and work together in order to co-exist in today’s world.
Music: What Else Is There (Trentemoller remix) by Royksopp
Cast: Ricky, Stuart, Sasha, Kristy, Jenelle

School of Fish

Example of a choreographic tool- tuning into the group’s movements, in unison, in the moment.


Choreographed by Bree McCutcheon
Inspired by the many parts in our mind that exist and create our personalities and influence our dreams... When we go to bed we sometimes retire with many troubles in our heads and wake feeling refreshed and informed thanks to the work by the ever solving sub conscious parts that unravel and unfold our resources within our minds to help us find a way to tackle each of life's challenges- every single day.  I'm a great fan of sleeping and dreaming (!) and I wanted to portray the brilliance of dreams and the energy and importance of their existence, through dance. The style of the piece was influenced by the 'site specific' activity we were given in week 3. It was something new I had never attempted and found it challenging and provoking.  As soon as I saw the outdoor, tree embraced space set for the show, "Where the Wild Things Are" characters started playing in my mind and I've tried to use the stage settings and the jungle atmosphere to our advantage!
Music: "Lullaby" by Newton Faulkner, plus an unknown track by an underground Sydney DJ and "Sleepyhead" by Passion Pit
Cast: Jenelle, Stuart, Alex, Kristy, Bree, Sasha

Panel Discussion

An opportunity to exchange ideas and feedback with the choreographers.
Hosted by Sarah Calver (Saturday 8th May) and Emma Porteus (Sunday 9th May)
Sarah Calver was a founding member of Tracks and is currently a performing arts teacher at Darwin High School.
Emma Porteus works for Stompin’’ youth dance company in Tasmania and is currently on secondment with Tracks for a month.

Tracks 2010

Artistic Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Fiona Carter
Dance Animateurs: Julia Quinn, Jess Devereux
Administrator: Gail Evans
Bookkeeper: Julie Ann Stark
Development Consultant: Suzanne Fermanis
Milpirri Executive Officer: Susan Congreve
Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg

Committee Members: (Chair) David Taylor, (Vice-Chair) Jill MacAndrew, (Treasurer) Glenn Bernardin, (Secretary/Public Officer) Michael Grant, (Ordinary Committee Members) Ken Conway, Nick Papandonakis, Joanna Barrkman, Stephanie Cvirn, (Ex-Officio Members) David McMicken and Tim Newth

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Paul Wan

Patron: His Honour Mr Tom Pauling QC, Administrator of the Northern Territory and Mrs Tessa Pauling






Explore Further

All Choreographic Programs

Tracks Dance Films

Eras of Youth Dance

Participants Response

“By working across an extended period of time with the same, small group of artists, I felt safe about presenting my ideas/choreography to the others in the program. Working with an incredibly diverse group of artists invited much discussion on the varied nature of our choreography and allowed us to see the virtue in a whole range of choreographic styles/approaches. The emphasis on play/investigation/nurturing, rather than competitiveness or comparison has extended my skills and abilities as a choreographer.”  Kelly Beneforti,

“The relaxed open feel from Jess and the program was really good in feeling comfortable and open to sharing and exploring dance and our ideas with encouragement and positivity. It has given me more confidence and inspiration in the choreographic field. I feel there’s never an excuse to be blocked for ideas. I hope I can pass what I’ve learnt onto others to help them also to create. I’ve learned that inspiration and motivation can come from anything!”  Bree McCutcheon

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