Two male performers are on stage. One is standing with his arms outstretc h and the other man is behind him in a wheelchair looking out at the audience. Both performers are participating in the Catalyst Second Skin Performance.

Catalyst Dance Masterclass 2012

The Masterclass Series 2012, held at Carriageworks, consisted of three progressive workshops 2-day throughout the year. The series provided 24 dance practitioners and 33 dancers, with professional development and training from some of Australia’s leading choreographers. The workshops explored methods and strategies for devising dance, improvisational techniques and contact improvisation.

The first Masterclass in Accessible Arts’ Catalyst Dance series was at the end of June 2012. Award-winning choreographer Sue Healey and international performance artist Kiruna Stamell, led two days of workshops using their performance project Variant as the catalyst for experimentation. “In contemporary society, we seem beset with a narrowly perceived idea of what is ‘normal’ in relation to the body. Variant questions and resets this notion. It specifically examines variation within the human form,” explained Sue Healey.

In September 2012, the Masterclass Series entered its second phase with Dean Walsh, recipient of the 2011–2012 Australia Council Dance Fellowship and Helen Clarke Lapin (Force Majeure, DV8 Physical Theatre, Stalker) presenting workshops over two days. Twenty-five emerging and professional dancers with and without disability, dance industry professionals, teachers, emerging choreographers, dance educators and arts practitioners with an interest in disability arts attended.

Australia’s leading integrated practitioner Philip Channells presented the final workshop in the 2012 Catalyst Series, which culminated in an informal public showing and Q & A of all participants and master teachers. The 20-minute studio showing, entitled Second Skin, was led by Philip Channells drawing on material generating ove the series and in his final workshop. Over 100 people attended the showing and the audience was invited into a diverse physical environment where they witnessed the dancers shed their layers and expose what is underneath their skin.

The James N Kirby Foundation supported four emerging regional dancers to attend Catalyst 2 and 3 —$1200 was awarded to the recipients from across NSW to support and contribute to travel expenses, accommodation and tuition.

The Masterclass Series for 2012 was also showcased in a short documentary featuring footage from all three Masterclasses and the studio showing of Second Skin.

“It’s such a human drive that we need movement. That’s why it’s just so important that we break open these stereotypes that dance is only for one particular set of society. It has to be for everyone.” (Sue Healey, Catalyst Masterclass Teacher 2012)

“The Catalyst Series highlighted that dancers with disability contribute a unique and inspired voice to contemporary dance. The dancers have shown a clear and unwavering sense of passion and focus.” (Project Manager, Sarah-Vyne Vassallo).