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Emerging dance artist Matt Shilcock talks about his JUMP mentorship experience

Jul 12, 2013

I believe receiving a JUMP Mentorship, an initiative of the Australia Council delivered with 2013 industry partner Next Wave , quite a privilege. JUMP provides the opportunity for early career arts practitioners to be mentored by established professionals to produce a creative project, exchange ideas and experience Australian art in a new way. To be given the opportunity to follow our dreams and passions and develop them into careers as artists is truly magic, and I’m sure my feelings about this are echoed by all the JUMP mentees past and present.

For me, this is an opportunity to work closely with Philip Channells, the choreographer that first introduced me to the world of dance in 2010. I will start creating my own dance work, and under Philip’s guidance my JUMP mentorship will see me develop a 20-minute solo. I’m excited to embark on this journey with Philip, and through the JUMP initiative my ideas are able to take a practical form. Prior to the commencement of my mentorship, I got together with all the 2013 JUMP mentees for a three-day intensive in Melbourne with Next Wave. This was our introduction to the JUMP program, and a great opportunity to network with other like-minded artists from various artistic backgrounds. The intensive really broadened my thinking of what is possible and achievable.

Importantly, I left the intensive with more knowledge than I entered thanks to the very informative sessions presented by the inspiring guest speakers. I’m a quote collector, so I’ve shared with you some of the gems I picked up during the JUMP intensive, and why resonate for me:

“Don’t be a wuss, just pick up the phone!”

– Abdul Abdulluh , visual artist

It’s so much nicer to talk to someone you aspire to collaborating with, than to be just another email in his or her inbox or another post on their Facebook wall. Give them a call, have a chat and make a new connection. The relationship that develops will be all the richer.

“It’s better to be the dumbest person in the room, than the smartest. At least then you have something to gain.”

– Benjamin Law , writer

Surround yourself with people you can learn from. Be humble and look for ways to improve yourself, rather than ways to prove yourself.

“Emerge as an artist, then when you’ve done that, re-emerge as an artist in something different. Reinvent yourself”

– Brian Ritchie, member of Violent Femmes and curator of MONA FOMA

Keep your passions alive and continuously change how you engage with them. Learn a new instrument or dance style, start researching and writing about something you know nothing about. Keep trying new things and keep your passions interesting for you.

“The best antidote for procrastination is to do something. Start with the thing that’s bothering you the most.”

– Rachael Maza-Long , Artistic Director of Ilbijerri Theatre Company

When the sheer size of your to-do list starts de-motivating and overwhelming you, there’s only one way to shrink it. Tackle the biggest thing on the list first, the one that’s bothering you the most. The only way to be able to tick something off the list is to start doing it.

“You don’t know me, until you’ve seen me dance”

– Dave Maney , fellow 2013 JUMP mentee

We make art to express ourselves, our life experiences, where we’ve come from and where we want to go. It’s an important part of who we are and a crucial tool for others to understand us and for us to understand ourselves. Your art reflects you and is like a snapshot of you at a particular time. Only you with your experiences, can produce the art that you do.

Matt Shilcock  is a choreographer based in Adelaide; he is being mentored by Philip Channells . Through his mentorship, Matt is creating a 20-minute solo work, and researching and developing ‘Osteogenuine’, a new choreographic scoring system.