An Act of Now

17 Oct 2012-27 Oct 2012,



Melbourne Festival,


Artistic Director Anouk van Dijk teams up with Aussie dance company Chunky Move

This event has finished

Anouk van Dijk's latest work, An Act of Now, a world premiere and her debut as Chunky Move's artistic director, is the third in her series of site-specific projects exploring space, both real and psychological, and the way in which individuals and communities draw a sense of meaning from their environment.

"The moment you put the audience outside of the theatre," she says," the whole meaning of dance changes. For example, dance can suddenly seem really fragile or volatile, depending on the environment."

The first two pieces were staged in The Netherlands, van Dijk's home soil, in locations she describes as "very Dutch": one on a dike on the scenic island of Terschelling, the other in an old building in a derelict shipyard in Amsterdam.

"The work went from this really resonant natural landscape to basically a rundown industrial site. Even though I was using essentially the same ingredients as out there on the dike, the meaning had changed: it felt somehow connected to history."

Now settled in Melbourne, she's keen to explore the possible meanings implied by her new surroundings.

"The Sidney Myer Music Bowl holds a lot of memories for a lot of Melbournians, for live music and big events," she explains. "I thought it would be interesting to create a very different experience on that site."

Thus, on arriving at the Music Bowl, the audience will be led down through the vast outdoor space into the backstage area, and then up into an intimate smoke-swathed chamber established on the stage itself.

This tension between the nearness of the performance and the vastness of the space beyond speaks directly to a recurring theme in van Dijk's work: the relationship between freedom and confinement.

"I think that you need some kind of confinement to find your freedom," she says.

Australia is an interesting context for her to explore this proposition.

"This is really the place to learn about the tyranny of space, or of distance," she says. "It's already something I feel in the society here, something that determines certain patterns in society, certain rules and regulations."

She points to examples of micro-regulation – compulsory bicycle helmets and elaborate insurance forms– that suggest a community reaction against our relative isolation, a reaction that enables us to live in the face of so much freedom.

"For my daughter to go on an excursion at school there are all these papers that I have to sign, all kinds of consent forms. There are a lot of extra concerns about safety."

Not that she's saying there aren't real dangers out there: Australia has already given her plenty to think about on that front.

"We just found out that of the ten most venomous snakes in the world, seven of them live in Australia," she says laughing. "And they all look the same and they all look harmless."

Nobody tell her about the spiders.

An Act of Now is presented as a part of the Melbourne Festival.

Sign up to our monthly arts newsletter

First published on . Updated on .

By Andrew Furhmann   |  

An Act of Now details

Sidney Myer Music Bowl

King's Domain
Linlithgow Ave

Melbourne 3000

Telephone 03 9281 8450

Price from $25.00 to $56.00

Date 17 Oct 2012-27 Oct 2012

Open Mon-Sat 8pm

Sidney Myer Music Bowl details

Melbourne area guide

Sidney Myer Music Bowl map

Restaurants near Sidney Myer Music Bowl


364m - One cannot live on art alone, so after filling your mind with the wonder of...

The Tea Room

423m - The Tea Room is part of the NGV serving a dozen kinds of cuppa including...

Fatto Bar and Cantina

478m - Located on the terrace at Hamer Hall, Fatto offers simple Italian dishes for...

Bars & pubs near Sidney Myer Music Bowl

P.J. O'Brien's

809m - One of Melbourne's premier Irish pubs, you'll find the walls splashed with...

Riverland Bar

820m - It's pretty much all about Friday night sausages and mulled wine at...

Chill On Ice Lounge & Ski Lodge

840m - Have a rest from the hot weather this winter and chill at -10º in the...

Other venues near Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Queen Victoria Gardens

0m - Sometimes the best things are right under your nose. Directly on...

Victorian College of the Arts

202m - An incubator for budding Melbourne creatives, the VCA covers artistic...

Alexandra Gardens

325m - Located on the south bank of the Yarra River, the historic parklands are the...

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

© 2007 - 2014 Time Out Group Ltd. All rights reserved. All material on this site is © Time Out.