info I contact
advertising
editorial schedule
acknowledgements
join the realtime email list
become a friend of realtime on facebook
follow realtime on twitter
donate

magazine  archive  features  rt profiler  realtimedance  mediaartarchive

contents

  
Anthony Hamilton in Corridor (2008), Lucy Guerin Inc Anthony Hamilton in Corridor (2008), Lucy Guerin Inc
photo Jeff Busby
ANTONY HAMILTON IS A RELUCTANT MAN OF THE MOMENT. “A FEW THINGS HAVE HAPPENED AT ONCE”, HE ADMITS, “BUT NOTHING HAS CHANGED FOR ME PSYCHOLOGICALLY. THERE IS AN EBB AND FLOW, BUT I HAVE BEEN WORKING AS HARD AS EVER FOR 10 YEARS.” WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HAMILTON’S RECENT RUN OF ACHIEVEMENTS AS PERFORMER AND CHOREOGRAPHER ON THE EVE OF HIS DEPARTURE FOR BERLIN AS THE FIRST RECIPIENT OF THE TANJA LIEDTKE FOUNDATION FELLOWSHIP.

Hamilton is right to indicate that he is no blow-in. He has long been one of the most distinctive dancers in Australia, contributing to the work of Lucy Guerin Inc and Chunky Move in particular. He has also been quietly making work of his own for initiatives such as ADT’s Ignition program and Lucy Guerin’s Pieces for Small Spaces, as well as adding to the repertoire of Stompin’, Dance North and Rogue. Hamilton has also made work with students at the VCA and created choreography for bands such as The Presets.

In 2009 Hamilton’s profile as a choreographer has been enhanced through the two Greenroom Awards for his 2008 self-produced Blazeblue Oneline and the glowing audience and critical response to his Chunky Move commission, I Like This, co-directed with Byron Perry. His receipt of the inaugural Liedtke Fellowship follows his 2004 receipt of the inaugural Russell Page Fellowship, indicating that his is the work which prevails when new choreographic talent is the priority.

Hamilton is leaving for Berlin and concedes to feeling rather nervous about this solo expedition, after so many years of international touring in companies. “There is a lot of pressure. A lot of people will be watching.” He will work with members of Sasha Waltz’s company at Radialsystem V, bringing Australian expatriate dancer Melanie Lane into the collaboration. He is also hoping to work with Berlin-based British graffiti artist Mode2. “It is great to be allowed to experiment within a dance fellowship”, he says. “There are no parameters about the form.” Hamilton will spend seven weeks in the studio, presenting his research at the Asia Pacific festival curated by Radialsystem in October. He has no plans to create a production from this residency. His main aim is “to embed myself in Berlin and really live it.”

This collaboration with a street artist and a dancer is indicative of where Hamilton’s interests lie. “I am keen to bring fashion and visual arts to the table”, he says. “But I am passionate about dance in the traditional sense. I am not that into hybridising work. I’m quite a purist when it comes to choreography. If you just touch the edges and then add other things, you are only going to diminish all the forms.”

This might read as something of a surprise to fans of the searingly cool Blazeblue Oneline which won its awards for concept realisation, set and costume design. Yet Hamilton is clear that his time in the trenches as a performer is what has enabled him to articulate his vision so clearly and that his incorporation of other media is only possible because of his life-long commitment to choreography. “Choreography has always been my calling. In order to be a great dancer, you have to imbue everything you do with a sense of choreography.” He is particularly proud of his 2009 Helpmann Award for Best Male Dancer for Chunky Move’s Two Faced Bastard. “That meant a lot. Two Faced was a performer-driven show. I did a huge improvised solo at the end and was given space to deliver myself on stage.”

“I am deliberately taking a break from working with choreographers now”, Hamilton says. ”I haven’t made any new work with Lucy [Guerin] or Gideon [Obarzanek] all year. The last thing I did was [Guerin’s] Untrained. While I always welcome touring, I need to take this break as much for myself as for the choreographers. It is important to create space for other artists.”

Hamilton has a “strong desire to create opportunities for people who haven’t had many chances.” He has just made a piece with third year VCA students and encouraged them to create their own openings in the way that the Rogue collective has done. ”Young artists have to improvise and shape-shift to move within an increasingly fluid cultural and financial landscape”, he says, talking as much about the trajectory of his own choreographic career. Hamilton took four years to produce Blazeblue Oneline. “I think artists are hard-wired to think in the moment. It is hard to project forwards. I have just finished the development of a new piece but have no real sense of where that is going.”

Hamilton is fortunate enough to have a couple of producers on board to do some of that projection with him. He is part of the MAPS initiative, managed by Strut & Fret in Victoria. They are hoping to take Blazeblue Oneline to APAM (Australian Performing Arts Market) in 2010 and Chunky Move will continue to seek touring opportunities for I Like This. Hamilton will travel to France for three weeks in December to make a piece for the Lyon Opera Ballet. This opportunity arose, as seems to be the pattern for Hamilton, through the impact of the work alone. He was encouraged to apply to the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative in 2008. Whilst he was not a winner, Yorgos Loukos, Director of the Ballet, was on the Rolex panel and was impressed by the DVD of Blazeblue Oneline. He sought Hamilton out to contribute to a triple bill of new work which will be presented in France in June 2010.

Despite the opportunities offered by the European projects, Hamilton has no plans for global domination. He is reticent when it comes to networking and approaches his residencies with a calm focus upon the work in hand. “I try not to follow trends”, he says, “I almost prefer not to know what is going on. I am happy to be doing my thing. It’s about remaining inspired with what you do regardless of any accolades."


Tanja Liedtke Foundation, www.tanja-liedtke-foundation.org

RealTime issue #93 Oct-Nov 2009 pg. 38

© Sophie Travers; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

Back to top