In this extraordinary creation Stewart situates the body at the epicentre of his inquiry and finds that it is the primary site through which we create our sense of self. Our emotions, moods and psychological states are just as much a component of our physical reality as any other bodily function including our heartbeat or respiration.
Despite our civilising cultural inscriptions, the body is a force to be reckoned with. In Be Your Self the ADT dancers are transformed into erupting, powerful, creative entities projecting a mountain of startling physical images and impressions set to a wildly unpredictable, cartoonish, electronic score created by long term ADT collaborator Brendan Woithe (KLANG). Stewart worked on the creation of this text with Professor Ian Gibbons – the former Professor of Physiology at Flinders University – as well as the company physiotherapist Michael Heynen.
In preparation for the work Stewart and the dancers spent a day with Professor Ian Gibbons examining preserved cadavers at the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide. They also underwent a period of Buddhist meditation focusing on the nature of the self.
Having trained in a number of physical disciplines including contemporary, ballet breakdance, yoga and gymnastics, the dancers of ADT have become legendary as virtuosic performers who push the boundaries of what we commonly associate with contemporary dance. Be Your Self has already been performed in Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Austria, the UK, France, Luxembourg, Spain, the Netherlands as well as in Sydney and Perth and across Australia, enjoying rapturous critical and audience appraisal.
Collaborating with visionary New York architectural firm Diller, Scofidio +Renfro (MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Award’ recipients) on an ingenious set design, Stewart wields dance, spoken text, video graphics and architectural design to collapse the underpinnings of who we think we are.
Returning to Melbourne for the first time since 2013, don’t miss the chance to experience the invigorating physical power of Australian Dance Theatre’s Be Your Self.
Be Your Self was co-produced by the Grand Theatre de la Ville de Luxembourg, La Rose des Vents Villeneuve d’Ascq, Le Rive Gauche Centre Culturel de Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Centro Cultural Vila Flor and Arts SA’s Major Commission Fund.