48 contemporary dancers, three choreographers, one colour.
Red is Ulysses Dancers’ 2017 production, and explores everything the word means to the local contemporary dance group’s performers and choreographers.
Ulysses Artistic Director, Jane Pirani, said the theme for the 2017 showcase came from a desire to branch out from normal show structures.
“The concept for Red is so great because past performances have been based on stories, which always have these set outcomes – whereas with this, we could set everything ourselves. It’s been really exciting because it lets your imagination go crazy,” said Jane.
“The idea for Red actually came from my husband: he was designing a dress for World Of Wearable Art New Zealand. Every day I would walk down the stairs and see this red dress, and it got us thinking – red is such a brilliant theme because it can be conveyed through so many emotions, symbols and objects. And this is a performance we’ve really encouraged young people to assist with, so we all threw ideas around that were inspired by the colour red. Everything from Red Riding Hood, to stop signs and balloons.
“Audience members can expect a show that is great fun, but also has a lot of emotion. There will also be a lot of props – people who know me will already be shaking their heads, they know what’s in store!
“One of our team’s children is two years old and sat through a run of the show we did a couple of weeks ago – so to know that the performance can keep a two-year-old focused for two hours is testament to the quality of the show. It’s sad, it’s funny, and has its crazy moments too.”
Red will be a celebration of 10 years of major productions for the Ulysses Dancers.
“The group formed a little longer than 10 years ago, but we didn’t do any big productions before then. It was created as a performance group for people between 18-25 initially, giving them somewhere to continue performing after high school, and has just grown from there.
“Ulysses Dancers was established to give these young people somewhere to continue [doing] what they love: there’s a lot of them who have been training seriously from the age of six or younger, then they hit 18, finish high school, and there’s sort of nothing after that. It’s also just a good community group to socialise with, and get out of the working environment.
“What’s excellent is it’s not just great for those that are looking for a career in dancing – it’s about giving all these young adults a continued link in life. After school, you find a lot of these people are cut off from all the activities they used to do. They might have been involved in a lot of things as a teenager, but then lose so many of those options when they graduate. So having these local creative institutions like Ulysses and the Townsville Choral Society to continue to provide a creative outlet for the community is so important, and gives so many people a continued purpose.”
Catch the Ulysses Dancers production Red at the Townsville Civic Theatre from 22-24 June. Tickets are available through Townsville TicketShop.