Archive of ‘Motivation’ category

Walking to Move It

Good morning Movers!

The weekend’s coming up…and for those of you in need of a little fitspiration this post is for you.

Cathedral Ranges

my view from Jawbone Peak

I’ve recently re-discovered the perks of hiking. I grew up in a relatively active family environment and we’d often go bush walking, rock climbing, or pack a picnic to have on the hills. It was incredible, a face full of nature and the ever cheering Vitamin D.

Over recent years, I’d lost this idea, and my weekend planning was filled with city visits where fitting in meaningful exercise seemed quite…well…tricky.

Enter, hiking.

The last few weekends I’ve been invited back into the folds of (some pretty steep) mountains and I’m feeling better for it. There are so many options in Victoria, and many not so far out of the city for those wanting a day trip. With a little Google searching, there are plenty of reviews about round trips that can give you a sense of the difficulty, the length, and suggestions on which path to take on each hike. Still, this doesn’t distract from the awe and heart-pumping pleasure that comes with incidental exercise.I can’t recommend this enough: the feeling of achievement, fresh air, sunshine and all for the price of petrol (and a few snacks). Grab your buddies, your water bottle, and some good walking shoe and give it a go. You’ll feel remarkable, truly.



Somehow I’d forgotten how much I loved Melbourne. There was always the glimmer of memory, the sparkle of well-loved times, and yet it wasn’t until I was walking back to the Victorian College of the Arts to see the showcase of Sue Healey’s new film “Virtuosi” that it hit home how good it is to be back.

Being back in my old university stirred some interesting feelings within me, and yet the most potent was the certainty that I had grown in the last four years. I felt different, bigger, ironically sensing that humility has somehow enlarged my sense of self. I was taken aback with this shift in perception; did the film do this to me, or the location? An apt thought perhaps, given Healey’s topic for conversation…

“Virtuosi” is not a film you walk out of feeling diminished. An empowering perspective, “Virtuosi” follows the pathway of eight New Zealand dancers, all of whom have flung themselves far and wide of their homeland. In this context, Healey examines how much where you are defines who you are, and how much of where you came from affects you. Stepping forward and back, side to side, these portraits of dancers are fragmented and yet whole, seeing two sides of these individuals as they talk with such pizazz and dance with honesty.

Moving with startling similarity, it was clear where individuals had come from, stating with absoluteness that where you were born and first trained affects how you move; yet we are, after all, complex beings. Their sophistication of movement had come from their adopted country, the subsequent experience of their everyday lives. In choosing to move, they changed the coating of their self, yet what lies beneath is relatable and familiar to a New Zealand landscape.

I feel it in my own bones. Definitively an Australian mover I now have a coating. The frost and nuance of England has woven its way into my stitches and become a part of how I move. It’s given me opportunity and individuality and in an art form that only really leaves one with the sense of creating your own opportunities, acknowledges the trail of where I’ve been.

If you can see this film, please do. It’s rare a film engages the optimism of art; yet this film manages to in leaps and bounds.

Choreographer/Filmmaker: Sue Healey

Composer: Mike Nock

Director of Photography: Judd Overton

Editors: Lindi Harrison and Sue Healey

Dancers: Mark Baldwin, Craig Bary, Lisa Densem, Raewyn Hill, Sarah-Jayne Howard, Jeremy Nelson, Ross McCormack and Claire O’Neil

In response to Dancehouse Diary’s question: Why Dance?

In the National Dance Forum 2013, the question on everybody’s lips is “why dance?” In response, Dancehouse Diary (Issue 4) has asked four dancers/choreographers for their ideas and observations on the issue. Martin del Amo creates a striking response:

“…Make no mistake, there is a lot to be said against it. It’s hard, it doesn’t get easier, it’s highly competitive, you don’t make any money from it, recognition is rate, promotion even rarer, it is not exactly a popular art form, it struggles to reach audiences, sustainability is difficult, longevity nearly impossible. Dance is not for the faint-hearted and the idea of dedicating one’s life to it must sound most unappealing to them.

 But for those who feel adventurous, endlessly curious, prepared to challenge themselves on an ongoing basis, develop new models of how to communicate with people, discover alternative ways of being in the world, putting their body and their entire being on the line all the time – for those, and it’s certainly true for myself the answer to the question Why Dance? Will just simple be Why Not? Only to add, empathetically: Why Not Dance!”

Why not indeed.

You know the thing that keeps me going? Apart from my own experience of the artform, I love engaging with other dancers and creatives. The endless stimulation is exciting, challenging, rewarding. The lens that is created by these people sees life as a series of amazing things – and I count myself lucky when I’m numbered among them…

Just trawling Facebook, consider some of the perspectives from my friends and colleagues:

ithatched[Dance Massive] hatching! LOL – Natalie Abbot

PrayersintheStreetlightWork: Prayers in the Streetlight – Gareth Hart as part of Canberra’s You Are Here festival. An extension of a work I witnessed when we were studying together? An intimate connection of personal experience and reflection. [photo: Sarah Walker]

benBenjamin Hancock

Interview for Stephanie Lake’s Dual

Living Longer: Attitude

After two failed attempts to go shopping for warmer clothes to get through this SNOW IN LONDON (eep!) I’ve decided to give up, settle inside, thaw my frozen toes and reflect on this past week.


(though i still managed to make it to my favourite cafe…)

The thing that’s affected me most lately is a book I’ve recently finished: “The Blue Zone” by Dan Buettner. If you’ve never heard of it before, Buettner (a journalist for National Geographic) examines and explains his findings regarding the lifestyle of people in the “Blue Zones” – the pockets of populations with the largest proportional number of centenarians.

There was nothing in this book that was revolutionary to me, and yet there was something very powerful in being able to witness a (albeit small) day in the lives of these long-living people. Something that struck me as most poignant was what wasn’t said. A 90-year old woman in Japan rises from the floor in a fluid movement, another 90-something year old man treks through mountains as a shepherd for miles per day… these bodies are able, and it challenges and offers some comfort to what is a big subconscious fear of mine (and perhaps all dancers) – my body failing with age. These glimpsed awarded me the insight to see that perhaps I was self-sabotaging myself.

When I was younger, groaning as you moved, feeling creaky and stiff was what grown-ups experienced. I’ve started doing it myself when I wanted to be more “grown-up”, and this mentality can often mean that exercising and repeating phrases over and over again can feel uncomfortable and tiring. Increasing my awareness of this attitude, and resolving to be the old lady who springs off the ground in her 90s (hey, it could happen…), the tiredness in subsequent rehearsals has lifted. I don’t creak, I don’t feel stiff, and repeatedly falling down onto my knees (though it bruises) doesn’t have the same heaviness that it did. This isn’t an accurate experiment, and whether I can maintain this attitude with minimal sleep and or exhaustion remains to be seen, but for now, it’s helped me, and it seems like it could keep me going with gusto a lot longer.

So now, for the weekend, I’m springing to Edinburgh, snow and all… snowman anyone?

arabesque stonehenge

Monday’s Mentor: Sue Healey

When I noticed Australian choreographer Sue Healey had been named choreographer of the month by DLUX, I couldn’t help but tell you a bit more about her. I seconded with Sue in Sydney three years ago when she was working on The Curiosities and found her an honest, engaging and humble person to be around.

Healey works across a range of mediums, from performance to film and always with a focus on education. Her company is a small one, but consistently work toward a goal of creating a highly-detailed movement language.

Often bringing performances out of the traditional performance space, Healey transforms the audience’s perspective on viewing dance, and thus begins to bridge the traditional audience/performer relationship. Allowing for increased accessibility, Healey chooses themes that both teach and engage her audience, using the assistance of film or projections to enhance a conceptual idea.

Originally from New Zealand, studying with a degree in Science, Healey moved to Australia to continue studying, but in Dance, completing a Bachelor of Arts (Dance Performance) from the Victorian College of the Arts, and later a Master’s degree in Choreography from Melbourne University.

In 1983 she founded Dance Works with fellow choreographer/dancer Nanette Hassall performing and choreographing for the company until 1988. From 1989-91, Healey moved to NY, worked with Zvi Gottheiner Company, studying with other artists including Trisha Brown Co, Dana Reitz, Irene Hultman and Merce Cunningham Co.

Basing herself in Melbourne, Australia through the 90’s, Healey was commissioned by a number of Australian dance company across the country. In 1993-95, Healey was the artistic director of Vis-à-Vis Dance Canberra creating seven seasons of new work. Moving to Sydney in 1999, Healey now works with body performance and film to create new works.

Her artistic statement reads as follows: I create dance that acknowledges the potency of the human body to take us into the realm of the extraordinary. I believe dance to be vital human research and as a means to communicate across cultural boundaries. I am committed to creating a theatrical language that illuminates and transforms, revealing subtle layers of movement and perception.

The mentor aspect that’s affected me most about Healey is her focus on education. Lecturing at universities, teaching choreography and film, touring through Australia and China, she’s also been involved with various research panels linking both science and dance related subjects. Education is something I’m interested in, in forums both traditional and non-traditional. I believe that education is essential for dance to reach it’s potential, and I think it a valuable and accessible mode for discovery…

Here’s something to get your thoughts moving:

Will Time Tell? (2006). Length: 12min30

For more information, check out her website:

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