Be BOLD: Canberra’s professional dance festival is back

posted on

Get ready for a week of frivolity and joy: Canberra’s only professional dance festival is back for 2022.

From Wednesday 2 to Sunday 6 March, the AUDACIOUS Festival celebrates all bodies in motion and the heritage of dance in a jam-packed five-day event.

Featuring a range of talks from some of the world’s leading dance experts in a program covering a myriad of topics, the mix of talks and performances began in 2017 to support Canberra’s ‘small but strong’ dance community.

Offering emerging and older dancers a platform to showcase their talents and share their stories, according to festival director Liz Lea, it is the only dance festival in Australia that focuses on the importance of heritage in the performing arts.

“It means young artists creating work from their heritage, whether cultural or family, and it’s also a way for older artists to continue performing and presenting,” she says.

“We have Elizabeth Cameron Dalman and she is our godmother. He’s a living legend. Eileen Kramer last performed with us in 2019 and she is a keynote speaker this year at the age of 107. And then we have a range of younger artists.

Launching at the National Sound and Film Archive with a screening of a series of short films by Sue Healey and Eileen Kramer, Gail Hewton and Ripe Dance, Jen Brown and Eric Avery, Mira Balchandran Gokul and Elinor Randle, Liz says the lectures don’t focus on a “theme”.

Instead, like in the shorts, there’s an eclectic cast of people talking about various topics, including culture, disability, and age.

“We have Eileen talking about sustaining inspiration over an extended period of time. Gary Lang will zoom in from Darwin… he’ll talk about his work as a First Nations man through a number of different cultural forms,” says Liz.

“We have a documentary journalist based in Canberra, she will talk about her book on Christian Fredrickson and the designs he has done for several different theater companies and which relates to the National Library of Australia’s On Stage exhibition which opens March 4 and runs through August 7.

In addition to 30 speakers discussing and reflecting on important topics with the dance industry, festival-goers can also expect to be entertained and wowed by the live performances.

Alongside the Enlighten Festival, Australian Dance Party presents an illuminated outdoor dance and music experience that passes through the evocative architectural sculpture of the LESS Pavilion on Friday 4 March.

Then on Saturday, March 5, a beautiful mix of men and male-identifying artists will head to the legendary QL2 Thea step to sharee an eclectic assortment of performances and films.

“Some of the performers are just very comedic, very funny, and the closing night of the cabaret will be just awesome,” says Liz.

Adding to the frivolity the visual face of Creature, the BOLD Festival mascot, will make appearances throughout the events.

Formed from the imagination of an artist who wishes to remain anonymous, she represents creativity in difficult times, something the creatives at Liz and Canberra know all too well.

“It speaks of triviality. It speaks of joy and creativity, in a really delicate period. It’s been very, very difficult to stay creative,” says Liz. “When I saw the pictures [of Creature], they just talked to me. I just went ‘This is great. It’s crazy. It’s crazy’… she’s enigmatic and slightly withdrawn and just brings a bit of joy.

As the art scene comes alive in Canberra, the BOLD Festival is the perfect opportunity to get inspired by local creatives while taking some all-important tips from Creature: social distancing, be mysteriously fabulous and always show off a little leg.

For more information visit the BOLD Festival Facebook page.

Feature Image: Creature, credit Robert Wagner

Comments are closed.