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Archive

This archiving page/project is part of a larger project called Dancing Sydney. It is currently underway and a collaboration between the contemporary performance departments at University of Sydney, University of NSW, Macquarie University and Critical Path - the national choreographic research centre in Sydney.

I am undertaking it between September and December 2018.

Information will soon be available and will be added to contemporaneously until Dec 20th - specifically as part of Dancing Sydney, & then further developed in 2019.

In the meantime, for more on the Dancing Sydney project: http://criticalpath.org.au/program/dancing-sydney-mapping-movements-performing-histories-2018

These two photos of Margaret Chapple (Chappie), the co-founder & director (with Keith Bain) of the amazing Bodenwieser Dance Centre (BDC) in Sydney.

She was my most influential teacher and mentor, cheeky, infinitely brilliant at teaching, choreographically talented, wise and on of the warmest people I’ve ever known.

BDC operated between 1993 & 1996 (the year Chappie passed away). I trained there between October 1987 & ‘graduated’ in June 1990. I am forever indebted to this woman & her generosity of spirit. More on Chappie soon…

From the National Library of Australia, Canberra - The Bodenwieser Ballet performance of Blue Danube Waltz, with Moira Claux, Elaine Vallance, Nina Bascolo and Biruta Apens, 1953.

Chappie remounted this work several times on students at Bodenwieser Dance Centre.

Dancers of the (Gertrud) Bodenwieser Dance Troupe dancing the timeless, ‘The Demon Machine’ in Austria, in 1936. The work transformed into a bold representation of the threat of a dominant form of leadership over the social order, as the threat of Nazism grew in Western Europe. Picture: National Library of Australia

Bodenwieser & some of her troupe - dancers, musicians, composers, set & costumes designers narrowly escaped the Nazis, fleeing first to Japan then South America, NZ and finally settling in Sydney in the late 1940’s.

Fellow Bondenwieser dancer and author, Shona Dunlop MacTavish, wrote a thorough account (An Ecstasy of Purpose) of the incredible journey of this remarkable pioneer. It is available to read at the State Library of NSW.

I was lucky to perform a remount (by Chappie) of The Demon Machine (as The Demon) for the book launch in 1988.

The Demon Machine, Australia and New Zealand 1947. Once established in Sydney, Bodenweiser worked with Australian dancers like (left to right) Coralie Hinkley, Margaret Chapple, Moira Claux, Eileen Cramer, and Mardi Watchorn, who went on to become the next generation of modern dance teachers and creators.  Pictures: National Library of Australia

The Demon Machine, Australia and New Zealand 1947. Once established in Sydney, Bodenweiser worked with Australian dancers like (left to right) Coralie Hinkley, Margaret Chapple, Moira Claux, Eileen Cramer, and Mardi Watchorn, who went on to become the next generation of modern dance teachers and creators.

Pictures: National Library of Australia

Gertrud Bodenwieser - what an influence her practice has had on so many Australian dancers and choreographers. Many without even knowing it.

In the build-up to World War Two, Gertrud Bodenwieser fled with a handful of students to Colombia in 1938, where she gave a guest performance as part of the four hundred year celebration of Bogotá.

Emigration led Bodenwieser to NZ then Australia. In Sydney, she taught dance and founded the Bodenwieser Ballet. Her teaching has produced some of the most important dance teachers, choreographers and dancers of Australian modern dance history, including Anita Ardell, Keith Bain and Margaret Chapple - who, in turn, went on to teach countless other, 2nd generation, Bodenwieser dancers, choreographer, actors & teachers who are renowned today for their own careers and practices.

Bodenwieser’s legacy lives on. In my own archival project, as part of the larger Dancing Sydney project, I want to acknowledge her influence & that of Margaret Chapple.

Gertrud Bodenwieser, by Clif Peir, c1950

This portrait sat high and proud in the entrance of Bodenwieser Dance Centre, above the library of some 150 dance history books, reminding us daily of why we were able to be where we were.