Time Out Melbourne

Kitten KO: Harriet Ritchie & Holly Durant interview

Choreographers, dancers and purveyors of a wild mix of jazz, cabaret, contemporary and backroom ballet that has to be seen to be believed

KITTEN KO (Holly and Harriet)

How did you first begin working together?
We studied together at the VCA.  We shared a lot of ideas and learnt a lot about art and performance together, we kind of fell in love and when collage finished we kept going.

You've both done quite a bit of travelling. In your opinion, what makes Melbourne unique?
Well Melbourne feels like home for both of us. It is full of our dearest friends, our favourite spots for eating, drinking and great art! We love the youthful counter-culture here and the strength of the underground scene, of which we are pretty proud to be part of.

If you could take your show anywhere in the world, where would you go?
The Burlesque Hour has travelled all over place and been acclaimed by so many.... but Shanghai was the one that got away... We were all set to go there to the famous Shanghai Club in 2009 and then the Rio Tinto scandal erupted and we were rain-checked.... We're still waiting for that call-back and can't wait to see that amazing, crazy, ever-changing metropolis.

Why should people come and see your show?
People should come and see the show if they are in the mood for some heartfelt, raw and honest images of love, betrayal, joy, obsession and pure madness.
 

HARRIET

How did you get your start in dance?
After my triumphant performance as a bunny for Mrs Callahans christmas concert at age 3, it seemed only natural to pursue a career in dance.  I guess my official start came about after I finished my studies at VCA and Lucy Guerin (my favourite choreographer) sent me an e-mail asking me to be in one of her works. I nearly wet myself with excitement, excepted the offer and things have just been rolling along ever since. I have been very lucky.

It must be pretty exciting being able to travel so much doing what you love - are you still in the 'honeymoon' phase or are you over all the travelling?
The honeymoon phase will never be over. When you travel a lot you do have your moments, but when you consistently find your self amongst inspiring people in amazing locations, who's complaining?

Which country do you enjoy performing in most?
Korea. The food is amazing and the people are glorious!

The biggest challenge that comes with being a dancer is...
Being a freelance artist poses a lot of challenges but if you can let go of the notions of stability or consistency in your life you'll be okay.

If you weren't a dancer what you would be?
A scientist. A mad mad scientist.


HOLLY

When did you first develop a passion for dance?
My first memory of dance was quitting my local ballet school at the age of 3 because they wouldn't give me a tutu and I was too young to understand that the tutus were for the girls doing competitions on the weekends. After that I remember wearing a huge full cream skirt with gold embroidery that belonged to my mother in the backyard (sorry mum!) and spinning like crazy while singing and recording myself on a cassette player (it was 1989). Here's hoping those tapes stay buried wherever they may be!

You're currently working on dance art films for the famed Prisca Lobjoy. What has that experience been like for you so far?
When I moved to Paris I had the odd and wonderful fortune of falling in with the experimental film scene almost by chance. Since then I have met and drank whisky with some of the most inspiring gob-smacking and brave artists you could imagine and even made it into a few of their films while dancing through the streets of Paris at 3 in the morning. It was on one of these occasions that I met Prisca and we began to work together on some films for the wonderful Gotan project. Since then we have started work on a featurette together that we will film next year, it's been a wonderful experience.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years... sometimes I can't imagine where I will be in 10 minutes... next question. Seriously, I would love to move into curating a space or small festival once performing slows down a little... who knows when that may be.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?
I love the travel and the freedom, I love the people and the art... it's a plain old addiction really, nuff said.

Favourite Melbourne spot?
So hard to choose. When I think of Melbourne I think of being tucked away in a cozy and low lit little bar off a lane with a perfect martini and my best friend Harriet.

First published on . Updated on .

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