I Want To Dance Better at Parties
Melbourne, Australia, 2004
I Want to Dance Better at Parties begins as a live documentary about five individual men's relationship to dance. These men are represented on stage by five dancers and also appear on film projected on screens suspended above. From interviews originally conducted for a television documentary in the making, these men talk about dancing, their lives and more private thoughts and experiences.
The work begins as a more factual and informative demonstration about these men and the place dancing has in their lives and gradually evolves into a more subjective and expressive work about who they are. As these men divulge information of a much more personal nature the dancers on stage create physical, dynamic portraits of each subject. The piece thus moves out of the realm of documentary into being a highly impressionistic dance work, composed of a series of imagined private dances representative of the subjects' inner lives.
CHOREOGRAPHY AND DIRECTION: Gideon Obarzanek
VIDEO PROJECTION: Michaela French
ORIGINAL MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN: Jason Sweeney & Cailan Burns (PrettyBoy Crossover)
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Niklas Pajanti (trafficlight)
COSTUME DESIGNER: Paula Levis
DESIGN REALISATION: Donna Aston
2005 Betty Pounder Award for original choreography
2005 Green Room Award, Concept and Realisation
2005 Green Room Award, Best Male Dancer – Antony Hamilton
I Want To Dance Better at Parties Highlights Footage
FIVE MEN. FIVE STORIES.
Phillip - After the sudden and tragic death of his wife two years ago, Phillip sold the family business to concentrate on the parenting of his two young children. At a dancing party, a woman suggested that he should consider having some dancing lessons. He then called a dance school and said, "I want to learn how to dance better at parties".
Jack - When Jack turned 50, his wife finally convinced him to accompany her to her Israeli folk dancing group. As a highly regarded telecommunications engineer sepcialising in digital coding, Jack could see re-occurring and varying patterns in the dances and realised that if he could invent a code to represent the dance steps this would be a way to remember them. For the last ten years Jack has collected nearly five thousand Israeli folk dances on his online database. You can view Jack's database here.
Lindsay - Through dance, Lindsay found his lover and long-term partner of over ten years and through dance Lindsay lost him to another man in his clogging group.
Franc - Describing his attempts to dance as clumsy, awkward and foolish, Franc believes that dance doesn't allow him to present himself the way he really is and pretty much avoids doing it at all costs.
Deon - "Dancing is like an explosion in the body that words cannot describe", says Deon. He is a nineteen-year-old Greek boy from Wheelers Hill who is into traditional Greek folk dancing and clubbing with his friends on Friday and Saturday nights.
A NOTE FROM GIDEON OBARZANEK
Early in 2004 I conducted a series of interviews with various men about their experience with dance, in order to write a treatment for a film documentary. Most of these interviews were very long as talking about dancing often evolved into deeper conversations about partners, parenting, loss and other more private aspects of peoples’ lives.
These personal insights gave me the idea to also make a live work showing the dancing that these men do and to create my own highly impressionistic dances about these men’s personal experiences.
I have a great interest in documentaries and this work is the third and most ambitious live documentary work I have made after, WANTED: A Ballet for a Contemporary Democracy and CROWDS.
I Want to Dance Better at Parties, is the result of a great team effort and I am very fortunate and grateful to have worked with a very talented and hard working group of people who have come together at Chunky Move and made it all possible.
I would also like to thank my subjects, Jack, Deon, Phillip, Lindsay and Franc for their great generosity in availing their candid and personal stories for this production.