Artistic Director, Danellie Micich talks about Force Majeure’s latest creative development.
I’ve been in Perth for the past two weeks embarking on a new development with Humphrey Bower and Cat Jones at King Street Arts Centre. I know this centre well having made many works there over the past 18 years – as company dancer, as Artistic Director of Steps Youth Dance Company and as an independent choreographer.
The process began with four days of planning with Cat and Humphrey. We then brought in a company of seven performers to start making the work physically on the floor.
The work looks at how we connect with our own sense of smell. To explore this as a company, we decided not to use any scented products during the development (scented body wash, shampoo, perfumes etc.). This was very challenging for the first week; however, by the second week we found that we’d all become hypersensitive to smells in the environment. I could detect countless changes of smells on my walk from the train station to the centre – anyone wearing perfume stood out like a lighthouse! One of the most interesting things we discovered was that we could start detecting very subtle fragrances/smells on people, and then from that work out what their daily activities had been. We called this ‘Body Mapping’.
I discover new things every time I make a work – there are always surprises. I love surprises. You can plan to your heart’s content, map out every minute you have with your creative team and produce some golden moments on the floor, but the only way to know if your ideas really resonate is to test them on a live audience. We were very fortunate to have this opportunity in Perth, presenting our early ideas to the DM Collective – a group of individuals in Perth who support my work.
We wanted to experiment with Body Mapping in the showing and so I asked the DM Collective prior to the showing if they could abstain from using / wearing any scented products on the day. A show of hands revealed that around 50% took up the challenge. We then gave two volunteers a verbal Body Map – it was gold!! Let’s just say we will find a place for Body Mapping in the final work.
Many days later I’m still getting invaluable email feedback from the DM Collective. Reflection is an important yardstick for me. If audience members are still thinking and talking about my work many days after the event, then I’m heading in the right direction.
Many thanks to our performers Ryuichi Fujimura, Jacqui Claus, Harrison Elliott, Mitch Harvey, Yilin Kong; secondments Yvan Karlsson and Jack Jenkins; and also to our friends at CO3 for hosting our office in the West.