Since the premiere of Restless Dance Theatre’s 'Intimate Space' at the Adelaide Festival in 2017, Artistic Director Michelle Ryan has lived up to the name of her company; the success of the show has meant there has been no time to rest.
Michelle spoke to us while on tour on the Gold Coast, as part of the Bleach* Festival about their new fundraising campaign, Restless Goes Global. She explains the rationale behind the campaign.
“We were in the Adelaide Festival last year in March and the reaction was amazing and we got amazing reviews.”
“We just feel like using the momentum to take the company around the country and overseas is the next natural step that we’re hoping to embrace big time.”
'Intimate Space', a show performed by dancers with and without disabilities to intimate audiences across various spaces within hotels, ranging from the hotel room to the bar, was inspired by Michelle’s realisation that there are many places in society where people with a disability are conspicuously absent. It is an awareness that she developed while grappling with the perceptions of strangers to her own disability; Michelle is wheelchair-bound by MS.
“I went from being a dancer to needing a walking stick and I would go out with people or go to a bar and you’d be having a flirtation across the way with someone and then as soon as I’d stand up with a walking stick, people would just look away; it was quite extreme.”
“[The show is about] challenging people’s perceptions and why couldn’t I be a person with a disability just because from the waist up I look like everyone else.”
“We’ve had a few people say that they were surprised with their own judgments that they could hear in their own heads like 'should they be together' or 'should they be allowed to be there'. It makes people question some of those thought processes that you naturally have.”
In addition to funding global touring opportunities, the campaign will also allow the company to complete their new work 'Zizanie', which is directed by the pioneering and acclaimed former director of Australian Dance Theatre (ADT), Meryl Tankard. Under Meryl’s stewardship, ADT achieved global renown. Michelle identifies what makes Meryl’s artistry so special.
“The thing that Meryl does so beautifully is her imagery and we’ve got an amazing creative team, being a guy called Chris Petridis, who’s a lighting and video man which is a different way to move for the company with that very visual element to the work.”
Restless Goes Global aims to raise $25,000; if that amount is reached, the company will receive matched funding by private donors and funding programmes. This effectively means that any money given will be quadrupled; a little generosity can go a long way.