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online e-dition april 24


the human automaton revealed

jane howard: interview with katrina lazaroff about involuntary


Involuntary, One Point 618 Involuntary, One Point 618
photo Chris Herzfeld
CHOREOGRAPHER AND DIRECTOR KATRINA LAZAROFF’S FIRST WORK WITH THE INDEPENDENT DANCE COMPANY ONE POINT 618, POMONA ROAD, PREMIERED AT THE ADELAIDE FESTIVAL CENTRE IN 2010 AND WAS NOMINATED FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CONTEMPORARY DANCE AT THE 2011 AUSTRALIAN DANCE AWARDS (SEE RT97)

One Point 618’s latest work, Involuntary, began development almost as soon as Pomona Road had closed, and will again be premiering with the support of the Adelaide Festival Centre. With Involuntary, Lazaroff wants to take a humorous look at the unconscious motions we go through in our lives, and in particular, how technology influences them.

“The idea for Involuntary came from [observing] my mother-in-law watching football. She was jolting around…unconscious of her own movement, because she was so involved,” says Lazaroff. “That sort of involuntary action and [its] sporadic nature really interested me. I thought there is something comic in this: it’s unconscious but [has] a driven focus.”

Involuntary, One Point 618 Involuntary, One Point 618
photo Chris Herzfeld
Also observing spontaneous movement in her then 14-week-old daughter, Lazaroff began to draw parallels between this unconscious physical movement and other “unconscious behaviour in society.” Lazaroff says: “We often go along with things without much thought, because it’s required of us…I think with the evolution of technology and [its] systemisations…we don’t really have time to question very much…We make choices as we go, unsure of the implications.” Lazaroff says Involuntary “has become a satire…a humorous look at how at times we follow blindly.”

A concern throughout the development process was making a dance theatre work about technology in a world where it is rapidly evolving. “Because technology keeps advancing so fast, people keep bringing new ideas to me and I keep getting new ideas, [but] I’ve tried to steer away from [actually using] technology.” Lazaroff says that during development “we focused a lot on technological sound and vision, but to me that was already out of date: it had been seen 10 or 15 years ago in works by Chunky Move and other companies.”

The result has been a toning down of the work's 'cyber' elements by video designer Nic Mollison and sound designer Sascha Budimski. “It’s more about the influence of systems and procedures, programs and information technology rather than trying to represent technology on stage. I’ve tried to strip it back and get a bit more human with it.”

Involuntary, One Point 618 Involuntary, One Point 618
photo Chris Herzfeld
Originally from Adelaide, most of Lazaroff has spent most of her dance career in Perth, working with Buzz Dance Theatre and small independent companies. She is excited by the opportunity of having a second work presented by the Adelaide Festival Centre on this scale as she sees it as contributing to potential national understanding and recognition of her work. “Sometimes making work in Adelaide and Perth is quite isolating. The eastern states are a bit disconnected from the artists who work in these places.” After Adelaide, Involuntary will be presented at the National Regional Arts Conference in Goolwa (SA) in October, and after that Lazaroff hopes to take it interstate.

While the Involuntary incorporates ideas about technology, systemisation and unconscious actions, for Katrina Lazaroff the work is primarily “a culmination of all of my passions and thoughts and feelings. Not just the technical side of being a dancer, creator or choreographer, but bringing together the whole picture of how I think, how I feel as an artist…It brings together all the hard work I do everywhere else in order to survive…the joy but also the hardship of making a work.”


One Point 618 & Adelaide Festival Centre, Involuntary, director choreographer Katrina Lazaroff, performers Ninian Donald, Timothy Rodgers, Veronica Shum, Jessica Statton, video, lighting Nic Mollison, sound design Sascha Budimski, set design Nic Mollison, Richard Seidel, Katrina Lazaroff, consultants Catherine Fitzgerald, Richard Seidel, Roz Hervey, Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, May 1-5; http://www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au

RealTime issue #108 April-May 2012 pg. web

© Jane Howard; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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