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All you can dance

09 Oct 2018

All you can dance Image

By Jacklyn Yeong

Whether you’re a dance enthusiast, an observer or just someone looking to have a good time, the 24-hour dance project was curated for you.

Creator and primary dancer Freya McGrath created the project in response to her love for dance – as simple as that.

“I’m not a particularly talented dancer,” Freya said. “I’m just enthusiastic and have a lot of willpower associated with dance.”

Presented as part of the Critical Mass program for Melbourne Fringe Festival at Testing Grounds, the project was an endurance performance heavily inspired by works of performance artists such as Marina Abramovic and Tehching Hsieh with a touch of hit dance films from the 80s like Billy Elliot and Flashdance.

Freya explained that she wanted to use her body and image for a project that went beyond self-empowerment.

“I hope that the project is a space for everyone to celebrate whatever their engagement with dance is. Sometimes it’s small and intimate, sometimes it’s really big and performative,” she said. “So that’s why I’m glad that we’ve been able to create an opportunity like that.”

“Creating 24 hours where people can kind of break away from the way that they kept their bodies and themselves operating in a day-to-day context,” she continued. “Also for them to stop going through the motions and to just let loose and feel deeply whether it’s extreme joy or real rawness and vulnerability.”

Producer Harriet Wallace-Mead also highlighted inclusivity and creating a safe space for everyone in the community as vital ingredients in developing the dance layout.

“We were interested in this idea of the project being an ‘inhibition liberated machine’,” Harriet said. “Because we want it to be like ‘no matter how afraid you might feel of this right now, we promise you, you’re going to feel good!’.”

The performance went on from 9pm September 29 to 9am September 30 following a narrative arc that consisted of a 80s, 90s and “noughties” section, an abstract dance theme and much more.

“I worry that in the future if I’m at a party and I’m a bit tired, people are going to be like, ‘Are you kidding? No, you can dance for 24 hours’.” Freya said.

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