Last Thursday, I interviewed Gideon Obarzanek, Artistic Director of the Australian dance company Chunky Move in occasion of the USA premiere of his choreographic essay""Glow" at The Kitchen.
http://www.thekitchen.org/. He takes us inside the creative process and the impact of interactive technology on his work.
Glow ( in collaboration with Frieder Weiss/
www.frieder-weiss.de) is a brilliant example of dance and new media, and an interesting juxtaposition of shamelessly digital image generation ( an video tracking) with a fleshy expressive body. A digital expressionism.
Gideon Oberzanek became interested in dance towards the end of high school and after graduating deferred science at university to study at the Australian Ballet School. He later danced with the Queensland Ballet and the Sydney Dance Company before working as an independent performer and choreographer with various dance companies and independent projects within Australia and abroad. These have included commissions from the Australian Ballet Company, The Sydney Dance Company, Opera Australia and the Netherlands Dance Theatre.
Gideon founded Chunky Move in 1995 and has been its Artistic Director to date. While the company mostly features his work, it also commissions various other Australian choreographers and invites international choreographers to give workshops in its home city of Melbourne, Australia.
Obarzanek’s works for Chunky Move have been diverse in form and content including stage productions, installations, site-specific works and film. His works have been performed in many festivals and theatres around the world in the U.K, Europe, Asia and the Americas. In New York, he has been presented at BAM Next Wave Festival, Dance Theatre Workshop and the Joyce Theatre.
Most recently, Gideon’s film, Dance Like Your Old Man, co-directed with Edwina Throsby won best short documentary at the 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival. In collaboration with Lucy Guerin and Michael Kantor, Gideon has also received a New York Bessie award for outstanding choreography and creation for Chunky Move’s production of Tense Dave.
Earlier awards have included two Melbourne Green Room Awards for best concept and choreography for I Want to Dance Better at Parties and in 1999 a Mo award for best choreography for Bonehead. In 1997 he received the inaugural Australian Dance Award for outstanding achievement in choreography and in 1996 the Prime Minister’s Young Creative Fellowship. .
Frieder Weiss is an engineer in the arts and expert for real-time computing
and interactive computer systems in performance art. He is the author of EyeCon and Kalypso, video motion sensing programs especially designed for use with dance, music and computer art. He is teaching Mediatechnology at the University of Applied Sciences in Nürnberg, University of the Arts in Bern and the University Centre in Doncaster, UK. In recent years he has cooperated in installation and performance projects with Phase-7 in Berlin, Leine und Roebana in Amsterdam, Helga Pogatschar, Cesc Gelabert in Munich and Chunky Move in Melbourne. He has also developed a number of interactive works with Australian dancer Emily Fernandez.