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I commenced specific research aspects of choreographic (beyond the usual research and development associated with the processes of making performance works), in 2002 when I was awarded the 2002 Robert Helpmann Scholarship to research independent contemporary dance and queer performance practice in the UK and Europe. This resulted in 2 years engagement with renowned company DV8 Physical Theatre in London and a 6-month contract with Paul Selwyn Norton and company in Amsterdam. The productions associated with these engagements resulted in national and international tours.
On returning to Australia in 2005 I commenced a series of choreographic practice research 2 and 3 week residencies at Critical Path - Australia's national choreographic research centre - in Sydney to distill key aspects of my time working overseas and the research I did as a direct result of my scholarship. This included long-held interests in experimenting with embodied modes of communication that could reflect upon, enhance and performatively convey, aspects of marine science and immersive, sub-aquatic human activity and the techniques / technology used to sustain these - scuba diving and free diving. in 2007, already a keen free diver, I finally commenced scuba diving and on my very first dive it became crystalline clear how I could combine all these physically astute disciplines (dance, free and scuba diving) to formulate a system of movement that could be referenced during research processes, workshop facilitation, dance class teaching and choreographic investigations.
In 2008, after producing the largest of my works to date presented by Performance Space at Carriageworks in Sydney - a group work titled Back From Front that looked into the aftermath of experiences on the front line war, as experienced by ex-servicemen and women and later, their families - I embarked upon a mammoth change of focus in my underlying conceptual focus for my choreographic, teaching and performance interests: marine awareness and conservation through an embodied approach.
I was successful in being awarded the coveted Australia Council for the Arts 2-year Fellowship (2011-2012) to investigate the potential intersection between dance, diving and marine science and the possibility of defining this research into a movement taxonomy that could be referenced during choreographic development periods, research with marine experts, workshop facilitation and lecture demonstrations. Over the course of the 2 years I worked with approximately 20 dancers, 2 consultants and 5 marine scientists and presented 4 works designed as 'public performance touchdowns' to gauge how the research was communicating to other members of the performing arts and environmental science communities as well as the general public.
This extraordinary 2-year opportunity has been pivotal in my ongoing development of PrimeOrderly as an overall embodied environmentalism practice.
Further details on this taxonomy and methodology can be found here.