Time Out Melbourne

In Australia's hectic performing arts landscape, dancers and choreographers are currently pumping out some of the most interesting and innovative work going around

Before the Dance Massive Festival kicks off in March, we're profiling a few of the names you should watch out for in 2013.

Ako Kondo

Born in Nagoya, Japan, Ako moved to Australia to take up a scholarship with the Australian Ballet School in 2008. Since then she's been gracefully moving en avant through the ranks and was this year promoted to soloist. In March she'll dance Kitri in Australian Ballet's production of Don Quixote, a role she previously toured through rural Australia with the Dancers Company."Finally I get to do it with the main company," she said, speaking with Time Out. "It's huge. Absolutely huge."

Soo Yeun You

Soo Yuen's interests and background make her a unique figure in Melbourne. Trained in Korean traditional dance but currently engaged in multiple collaborations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, her work explores the themes of identity and migration. "I look at the common root between two cultures, the spiritual intimacy between Korea and Australia," she explains. As part of Dance Massive she'll be presenting [Gu:t], a collaboration with choreographer Albert David, born on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, before a busy year which includes a tour of Reliquary, a collaboration with Gina Rings.

Ashley Dyer

One of the country's more ambitious performance makers, he specialises in large canvas "dance portraiture", which he describes to Time Out as "solo figures in a landscape that changes over time". For Dance Massive he has produced a "duet with smoke", Life Support, a work which he says "tries to make smoke the centre of attention". Look out for some of the inventions developed for Life Support, including a "smoke wall" and "smoke-ring cannon", appearing in new contexts throughout 2013.

Shian Law

Won the Best Dance award at the 2011 Fringe Festival, then backed it up with Best Innovation in Dance or Cabaret at the 2012 Fringe awards. He's currently working on Jo Lloyd's new show Future Perfect for Dance Massive. After that he'll head over to the Next Wave Festival to work on a project called Personal Mythologies. He's interested in exploring how avant garde dance movements from the 1970s and 1980s can be reinvented for the twenty-first century. "I'm still using dance – body, movement, time – but am interested in how it can be mediated across different media platforms, using various technologies."

Daniel Riley McKinley

After joining Bangarra as a dancer in 2007, McKinley has since emerged as an important young choreographic voice, part of a new wave of storytellers fostered by the company's unstoppable artistic director Stephen Page. "I'm bringing something fresh into the company because I am so young and I have come from a different background," the thoughtful McKinley explained in a recent interview. A Wiradjuri man, McKinley's work is informed by a range of symbols and images drawn from that tradition. In May of this year, McKinley will present Blak at Arts Centre Melbourne, a work co-choreographed with Page and based on stories told by Bangarra’s young artists. He will also continuing touring as part of the ensemble.

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Updated on 3 Mar 2014.

By Andrew Furhmann   |   Photos by James Braund (Ako Kondo in Don Quixote)


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