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Keir Choreographic Award

Caption: Exoticism (2022), Lucky Lartey and Vishnu Arunasalam. Photo by Shane Rozario.

About the event

The fifth Keir Choreographic Award (KCA) is scheduled for 23 June—3 July 2022 in Melbourne, Sydney and online.

An innovative partnership between Dancehouse, The Keir Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts, with presenting partner Carriageworks, the KCA is a prestigious biennial program showcasing new, choreographic short works by eight Australian artists.

In 2022, the KCA will unfold with all eight works presented across two weeks at both Dancehouse, Melbourne, and Carriageworks, Sydney. The full KCA program will also be recorded in-season and made available digitally on demand on Sunday 3 July in line with the presentation of the KCA prizes: a $50,000 cash prize awarded by the KCA Jury, and a $10,000 audience choice award.

Click here to get your tickets.

2022 artists

Presenting work in June are: Alan Schacher & WeiZen Ho (NSW); Alice Will Caroline (VIC); Jenni Large (TAS); Joshua Pether (WA); Lucky Lartey (NSW); Raghav Handa (NSW); Rebecca Jensen (VIC); Tra Mi Dinh (VIC).

In 2022 the 8 KCA commissioned artists were selected from an Australia-wide call-out of 64 proposals. The commissioning was a two-step process including shortlisting by Daniel Riley, and previous KCA winners, Angela Goh and Melanie Lane, followed by final commissioning meeting of Daniel Riley and Lemi Ponifasio, with Angharad Wynne-Jones, Helen Herbertson, and Rosie Dennis.

The 2022 Keir Choreographic Award jury tasked with the responsibility of selecting the recipient of the Award are: Daniel Riley (Wiradjuri/Australia), Eko Supriyanto (Indonesia), Laurie Uprichard (Ireland), Lemi Ponifasio (Aotearoa/New Zealand), and Nanako Nakajima (Japan).

2020 Keir Choreographic Award

2020 Jury
Claudia L Rocco (USA)
Mette Edvardsen (NO)
Serge Laurent (FR)
Takao Kawaguchi (JP)

2020 Awards
Award Winner: Angela Goh
People’s Choice Award Winner: Amrita Hepi

2020 Works and Artists
Delimit – Alison Currie (SA) & David Cross (VIC)
Rinse – Amrita Hepi (VIC)
Lien – Lewis Major (SA)
Peril – Zachary Lopez (NSW)
That’s Her Name – Jo Lloyd (VIC)
Hold Me Closer Tony Danza – The Farm (QLD)
Very Excellent Disabled Dancing – Riana Head-Toussaint (NSW)

2018 Keir Choreographic Award

2018 Jury
Anna Cy Chan (HK)
Lucy Guerin (AUS)
Ishmael Houston Jones (USA)
Eszter Salamon (BE/FR)
Christophe Slagmuylder (BE)
Meg Stuart (GE/BE)

2018 Awards
Award Winner: Melanie Lane
People’s Choice Award Winner: Amrita Hepi

2018 Works and Artists
Yoni – Prue Lang (VIC)
The Wetness – Bhenji Ra (NSW)
Stop-Go – Branch Nebula (NSW)
Post Reality Vision – Nana Biluš Abaffy (NSW)
A Caltex Spectrum – Amrita Hepi (NSW)
Memoirs for Rivers and the Dictator – Lilian Steiner (VIC)
Public Action – Luke George (VIC)
Personal Effigies – Melanie Lane (VIC)

2016 Keir Choreographic Award

2016 Jury
Bojana Cvejić (BE)
Pierre Bal-Blanc (FR)
Sarah Michelson (USA)
Wendy Martin (AU)
Phillip Keir (AU)
Atlanta Eke (AU)

2016 Awards
Award Winner: Ghenoa Gela
People’s Choice Award Winner: Ghenoa Gela

2016 Works and Artists
Deep Shine – Chloe Chignell (VIC)
If It’s All in My Veins – Martin Hansen (VIC)
Tools For Personal Expansion – Sarah Aiken (VIC)
Before the Fact – Alice Heyward (VIC)
Explorer – Rebecca Jensen (VIC)
Inhabited Geometries – James Batchelor (VIC)
Fragments of Malungoka – Ghenoa Gela (NSW)
one and one and one – Paea Leach (NSW)

2014 Keir Choreographic Award

2014 Jury
Mårten Spångberg (SE)
Matthew Lyons (USA)
Josephine Ridge (AUS)
Becky Hilton (AUS)
Phillip Keir (AUS)

2016 Awards
Award Winner: Atlanta Eke

2014 Works and Artists
Three short dances – Sarah Aiken (VIC)
Escape to the Infinite – James Batchelor (VIC)
Entitled TITLE – Tim Darbyshire (VIC)
Rites – Matthew Day (VIC)
Body of work – Atlanta Eke (VIC)
Dead Flag Blues – Shaun Gladwell (NSW)
Mass movement – Jane McKernan (NSW)
TEARAWAY Part One: The Crater of Motor Power – Brooke Stamp (VIC).

About Dancehouse:
Dancehouse is the home of independent dance in Melbourne. Through its programs of residencies, performance, training and research, Dancehouse is a space for developing challenging, invigorating and socially engaged moving art. Dancehouse is also a hub of knowledge and resources, a presenter of outstanding programs targeting multiple communities and a fierce advocate for the vibrancy and literacy of the Australian independent dance sector.

About the Keir Foundation:
Established by Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin the Foundation’s purpose is to foster innovation and excellence in the arts, particularly among new and emerging practitioners. The Keir Foundation has previously worked in commissioning dance projects and this choreographic award emerged from an ongoing involvement with the dance community both nationally and internationally.

About Carriageworks:
Carriageworks is the largest and most significant contemporary multi-arts centre of its kind in Australia. The Carriageworks Artistic Program provides significant support to Australian and international artists through commissioning and presenting contemporary work. Reflecting the diverse communities of urban Sydney, the Artistic Program is ambitious and inclusive.

The Keir Choreographic Award is a partnership between Dancehouse, The Keir Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts, with presenting partner Carriageworks.

Jury biographies

Daniel Riley (Australia)

Daniel Riley (Australia)

Daniel, a Wiradjuri man from New South Wales, has an extensive, and critically acclaimed, career as a dancer (Leigh Warren & Dancers, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, New Movement Collective, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Chunky Move), and choreographer (QL2 Dance, QUT, Third Row Dance Company, Louisville Ballet, VCA, Sydney Dance Company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Dancenorth). He has held the positions of Associate Producer (2019-2020) and Creative Associate (2020-2021) at ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, as well as Lecturer in Contemporary Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, where he conceived and launched Kummarge, a self-determined First Nations mentorship and pathways program for First Nations 

dance students. Daniel has worked for Moogahlin Performing Arts, and was commissioned by RISING to create the film mulunma-Inside Within, as part of Moving Objects 2021. Daniel sits on the Board of Chunky Move, and is the Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre (ADT), beginning in 2022. 

Eko Supriyanto (Indonesia)

Eko Supriyanto (Indonesia)

Born in Astambul South Kalimantan, Eko is one of the leading choreographers of his generation. Eko received his bachelor degree at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI Surakarta) then continued his Master’s degree at the Department of World Arts and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), California in 1998-2001, while before he was one of the ICR Program at the American Dance Festival (1997) and APPEX program at UCLA. 

Eko is a founder of Solo Dance Studio, recently merging in EkosDance Company 2011. Eko worked and collaborated with Peter Sellars on his Opera Production (1999-2014), while he was also choreographer, actor and dancer of Opera Jawa’s Garin Nugroho Film (2006). In 2001 he was one of Madonna’s dancers on Drown World Tour and as a Javanese dance consultant on Julie Taymor Lion King Broadway in Los Angeles and National Tour. Eko is one of the choreographers for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 ASIAN GAMES Jakarta. 

Eko completed his Doctoral degree in Performance Studies at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta in 2015, and his second Doctoral degree on Creation Program at ISI Surakarta 2018. Since 2011 until now, Eko’s concern for the environment and “empowering the local” has been manifested in cultural design activities for community empowerment in various regions, especially Eastern part of Indonesia; Jailolo, Tidore, Sula and Morotai (North Maluku). Belu, East Nusa Tenggara. Taliwang, West Sumbawa, and Papua. 

The mission of silent tourism was also appointed by Eko with Arco Renz as his dramaturge for the Trilogy Dancing Jailolo (Cry Jailolo, BALABALA and SALT), which have also been performed in European countries, USA, Australia and Asia since 2013-2019. His latest work of IBUIBU BELU: Bodies of Borders, was performed and Co-produced by TPAM (Japan), AsiaTopa (Australia) and Desingel and Pumpenhauz (Europe). Eko is now a full-time faculty member at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts, for undergraduate and graduate students. And he is one of the curators of the Kharisma Event Nusantara at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Republic Indonesia. 

Laurie Uprichard (Ireland)

Laurie Uprichard (Ireland)

Named Executive Artistic Director of Firkin Crane in Cork, Ireland in September 2021, Laurie Uprichard was previously Director & Curator of Performing Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. She has also worked with Stephen Petronio Company, Tere O’Connor Dance, and Quaternaire, a production and tour management agency based in Paris, France. She founded and curated the Travelogues Series at Abrons Arts Center in 2015-16, and worked with The Joyce Theater.

Laurie served as Director of the Dublin Dance Festival from 2007-2011, overseeing its transition to an annual event and expanding its international visibility, audience outreach, and support of the local dance community. From 1992-2007, she was Executive Director of Danspace Project in New York City, a period of significant growth for this venue based in the historic St. Mark’s Church. She worked with Urban Bush Women from 1991-96 and, from 1984-1991, was associated with Dance Theater Workshop. Laurie Uprichard was a member of the Board of Directors of Danspace Project from 2007-2016; has twice served on the Board of Dance/USA, chairing its Presenters Council from 2002-2004; and has served as a board member of Movement Research.

She is a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in the French Ministry of Culture, and has received a New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Angel Award (2019) and a 2008 Bessie for her service to the field. She has also been honored by Movement Research, Danspace Project, and La MaMa E.T.C. Laurie holds an M.B.A. from The American University.

Sala Lemi Ponifasio (New Zealand / Aotearoa)

Sala Lemi Ponifasio (New Zealand / Aotearoa)

Lemi Ponifasio is acclaimed internationally for his radical approach to theatre, activism, and collaboration with communities. 

While firmly established within the international avant-garde, Ponifasio grounds his work within communities and diverse Maori and Oceanic cultures, exploring complex forms of knowledge such as oratory, navigation, architecture, dance, performance, music, ceremony, philosophies, and genealogies as a driving force in emphasising local-oriented arts, indigenous cultural recovery, language and knowledge, thought and narratives that have been silenced or excluded. 

After travelling and performing around the world for over a decade he returned to New Zealand and established MAU in 1995, as the philosophical foundation and direction of his work, the name of his work, and the people and communities he works with. MAU is the Samoan word that means the declaration to the truth of a matter as an effort to transform. 

In 2013 Ponifasio created MAU Wahine to focus on the Maori woman’s worldview through art, including the relationship with whānau, community, nature, and the potency of female existence. In 2013 Ponifasio founded MAU Mapuche in Chile to share and create work with indigenous Mapuche artists and communities. In 2017, 20 years after he first began making projects with Kanaky artists, he founded Theatre Du Kanaky with young people of New Caledonia. 

His works are created in many different contexts and in different forms as solo performances with and without audiences or as opera, theatre, or dance productions, ceremonies, exhibitions, installations, conferences, lectures, festivals, workshops, research and community residencies, and community forums. Major productions have been staged in factories, remote villages, opera houses, schools, marae, castles, galleries, and stadiums in more than 60 countries. 

The work with MAU has also been presented at festivals and exhibitions, such as Biennale di Venezia, Lincoln Center New York, BAM New York, Ruhrtriennale, Edinburgh International Festival, Salzburger Festspiele, Festival de Marseille, Theatre de la Ville Paris, Onassis Cultural Centre Athens, Holland Festival, Vienna Festival, Santiago a Mil Chile, and others across Europe and the world. 

Lemi Ponifasio is a matai (High Chief) of Samoa. He holds the title Sala. 

Nanako Nakajima (Japan)

Nanako Nakajima (Japan)

Dr. Nanako Nakajima(中島那奈子)is a dance scholar and a pioneer of dance dramaturg, and a certified traditional Japanese dance master, Kannae Fujima. Her dramaturgy includes luciana achugar’s “Exhausting Love at Danspace Project” (2006-07 New York Dance and Performance Awards, ‘The Bessies’), koosil-ja’s “mech[a]OUTPUT” in NY, Osamu Jareo’s “Theater Thikwa plus Junkan Project” in Kyoto, Ong Ken Sen’s “OPEN WITH THE PUNK SPIRIT! Dance Archive Box” in Singapore, and Mengfan Wang’s “WHEN MY CUE COMES, CALL ME, AND I WILL ANSWER” in Wuzhen. 

Her recent research and -dramaturgy projects include “Yvonne Rainer Performative Exhibition” at Kyoto Art Theater Shunju-za, 2017, “Dance Archive Box Berlin” at Akademie der Künste Berlin, 2020, and the lecture-performance “Noh to Trio A” at Nagoya Noh Theater, 2021. She received the Special Commendation of the Elliott Hayes Award in 2017 for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy from the Literary Manager and Dramaturgs of the Americas. She was a Valeska Gert Visiting Professor 2019/20, at Freie Universität Berlin. 

She has been working with the international festivals and theatres including Tanz im August, YPAM (Yokohama International Performing Arts Meeting), tanzhaus NRW, and Tanzquartier Wien. Her publications include The Aging Body in Dance: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (co-edited with G. Brandstetter Routledge, 2017), Performance Research, Vol. 24, No. 2: ‘On Ageing (& Beyond)’ (2019) co-edited with R. Gough, and Oi to Odori (Aging plus Dancing, co-edited with K. Toyama, Keisoshobo, 2019). In 2021, she launched a bilingual website on dance dramaturgy (