The Australian Dance Theatre just wrapped up its India tour with dance workshops in the city that included underprivileged girls of the NGO Nanhi Kali, students of St Xavier’s College and Fazlani L’Académie Globale. The group comprising award-winning Australian choreographers, including Kimball Wong, Matte Roffe, Michael Ramsay, Felix Sampson, Zoe Dunwoodie and Thomas Fonua along with the company’s artistic director, Garry Stewart and associate artistic director, Elizabeth Old, had a three-city tour.
“The company is the oldest contemporary dance company in Australia. It started in 1965. ADT dancers train in a number of specific physical disciplines, from contemporary dance techniques to classical ballet, yoga, pilates and break dance,” said Old. On their first visit to India, the dancers hit Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai. “We went to a commercial dance academy called Danceworx in Delhi. I taught a class there and found them receptive. We also gave them a little performance to form an idea of what we do,” said Wong, who has been with the company for nine years.
Stewart is the company’s fifth artistic director and has been driving it for 16 years. “We had two performances for the South Australian business delegates in Jaipur and in Mumbai. We performed part of a bigger piece called the Beginning of Nature,” he said, elaborating, “We usually work with electronic music, but I also want to work with classical instruments, including Indian classical instruments. I’ve met composers here and want to meet more for collaborations.”
Talking about changing dance trends in Australia, Stewart continues, “These days in the globalised, digitised society there are so many influences. It’s an exciting time for dance. The awareness of the audience is expanding through festivals and works from overseas.” ADT’s productions also include 3D graphics and interactive technology at times. “We once had 30 robots on stage for a big show. We reconstruct classics like Swan Lake. We did a production about astro-physics too. It’s a poetic expression though, instead of being too didactic,” he adds.