USC students to perform with Japan’s best dancers
25 Jul 2017
USC Performing Arts Master student Hayley Condon is looking forward to attending an intensive training camp in Japan to learn the art of the exotic and physically demanding Butoh dance theatre.
The Sippy Downs resident is one of 10 USC Master of Professional Practice (Performing Arts) students who will travel to Hakuba, Japan, on Thursday 27 July to train with world-renowned Butoh dance master Akaji Maro.
“Butoh is unlike anything performed elsewhere in the world, and will challenge and extend me as a performer,” said Hayley of the famous dance theatre, traditionally performed in full body paint with slow, hyper-controlled movements.
At the end of nine days of intensive performance training, the students will join an ensemble of 40 dancers from the internationally-acclaimed dance company Dairakudakan, in a performance choreographed and directed by Maro.
Dairakudakan is the world’s oldest and biggest Butoh dance company, and is renowned for its visually striking, highly physical and confronting work.
USC Lecturer in Drama Dr Lynne Bradley, who is accompanying the students, said it was an exclusive opportunity to experience an exquisite form of performance art rarely seen or taught in Australia.
When they return, the students will continue training with Dr Bradley, who founded one of Australia’s leading physical theatre companies, Zen Zen Zo, and work collaboratively to share their knowledge and experience of Butoh with Australian artists and audiences.
“It is also an opportunity to establish and nurture valuable relationships between Australian and Japanese performing artists in order to establish international networks, and foster future collaborative partnerships,” Dr Bradley said.
Daily fitness sessions are part of Hayley’s preparation for the intense physical demands of the performance training camp.
“This is my first overseas trip and I am really looking forward to being exposed to a different culture, new rituals and new experiences that I can adapt to my own work,” said the 21-year-old.
The former Chancellor State College student credits doing a drama subject in Year 11 through USC Headstart program as the catalyst for her interest in performing arts.
She last year completed a USC Arts degree, majoring in drama and screen media studies, and began the Master of Professional Practice in Performing Arts when it was offered for the first time this year.
“During my degree, I did a physical theatre elective and fell in love with it,” she said.
“It confirmed that I wanted a career in theatre, so I jumped at the chance to take my performance skills, experience and knowledge to the next level through the Master of Professional Practice.”
— Clare McKay