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Tess de Quincey

embrace embrace
photo Victoria Hunt
A new work by Tess de Quincey is always a red letter event in the performance year and already there’s a buzz about De Quincey Co’s immodest green, the first in a series entitled Embrace inspired by the company’s 3-month residency in India last year to be presented at Performance Space in May.

Tess de Quincey has a longstanding connection with the sub-continent dating back to her meeting in the 80s with dance ethnologist Ranjita Karleka and, later, documentary filmmaker JoJo Karlekar. Ranjita introduced her to The Natyashastra, a fundamental text in Indian artistic tradition. Meeting up with these two in Kolkata last year, De Quincey was interested to explore further the text’s parallels with the Body Weather discipline which informs her company’s work. At the same time she began to conceive an intercultural performance exchange which would bring together Indian and Australian artists in a series of workshops and performances culminating in 2005/06 in an all-night installation event reminiscent of some of the ancient Kathakali performances that mark the passage of time from dusk to dawn.

When asked by Erin Brannigan what we might expect of Embrace in Sydney, De Quincey replied from Kolkata where she was about to embark on a 10-day workshop with Indian participants at the School of Music, “Well, given that ... every day is an intense onslaught of colour and texture and smell amidst a wild anarchic bustle and passionate thriving humour in a deeply black, polluted city, we’re running constantly on the spot just to keep up. It’s the magnificent discordance and defiant skirmishing which imbue every level of life here that are soliciting and formatting our bodies and our thoughts.” (Read the full interview in Ausdance’s Dance NSW, Jan-Feb 2004)

RealTime issue #60 April-May 2004 pg. 42

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