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Untrained but not upstaged

Training for Untrained are labourer Liam Christian (back left), meatworker Josh Doyle with dancers Benjamin Hancock and Anthony Hamilton and choreographer Lucy Guerin in front.
Training for Untrained are labourer Liam Christian (back left), meatworker Josh Doyle with dancers Benjamin Hancock and Anthony Hamilton and choreographer Lucy Guerin in front.

WE OFTEN go to productions to see trained dancers glide across the stage in what seems like effortless movement.

These skills have in fact taken years of training to perfect.

Untrained, directed by Melbourne-based choreographer Lucy Guerin, explores what happens when you put untrained performers on stage alongside trained dancers.

Ms Guerin, who has taken the show to the Adelaide and Perth Fringe Festivals as well as performances at the Sydney Opera House, said the show demonstrates how dance training affects not only the physical aspects, but also the way people think.

“They gain more body awareness as they go,” said Ms Guerin.

“It affects them in a postural sense as well as energetic.

"Dancing makes you feel more motivated.”

Two trained dancers and two untrained men are onstage during the performance, in this case Toowoomba based “blokes”, Josh Doyle, a meatworker, and Liam Christian, a labourer.

“It ends up being less about the dancing and more about each man as an individual,” Ms Guerin said. “It’s the actual attempt that becomes interesting.”

In an age when reality television is so popular, it is actually questioning what we want to see she said.

“It’s not the dancers who the audience are interested in and that raises the question – do we want to see ourselves reflected? The audience end up gaining a lot of empathy and respect for the two ‘blokes’ on stage.”

Yesterday, around 15 people took part in a workshop based around this concept at Lismore City Hall.

Ms Guerin said the workshop is a mini version of the show, which gives people the chance to experience the concept for themselves.

They were given tasks to “perform” with the aim of gaining awareness of their bodies and how they move within the given space.

You may have missed the workshop but you can still see the performance of Untrained at the Lismore City Hall tonight, 7.30pm. Tickets www.norpa.org.au

Topics:  dancers lismore


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