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The 2019 ARTS8 Collaboration - Belonging

by The Australian Ballet School |

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Each year, ARTS8 come together to collaborate, learn and grow as part of a cross-disciplinary weekend. This collaborative project is a wonderful opportunity for ABS students to both share and step outside of their art form, whilst working with students from the Australian National Academy of Music; Australian Youth Orchestra; Flying Fruit Fly Circus; NAISDA Dance College; Australian Film, Television and Radio School; the National Institute of Circus Arts and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts.

This year, the 3-day event was held in Albury from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 June. Hosted by, and at the wonderful ‘home’ of, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus the collaboration centred around the theme of ‘Belonging.’ ABS students, Mathilda Ballantyne and Shu Igarashi represented the ABS joined by Contemporary Teacher and Resident Choreographer, Margaret Wilson. ABS General Manager, Sandra Ball, together with representatives of the ARTS8 and the Department of Communications and the Arts, also attended the weekend to network and collaborate strategies.

At the end of the weekend, the student group presented an in-house presentation – the culmination of their learning and exploration as a collective. This embodied learning not only challenged but further enriched their approach to dance.
For students, the collaboration fosters critical and flexible thinking, leadership and teamwork, qualities that will serve them well as they branch off into their individual careers. For teachers, there is beneficial discussion from the exchange of sharing ideas around teaching practices, assessment strategies, curriculum design, creativity, innovation and artists’ wellbeing.

As identified by Margaret Wilson, “It was a very special professional development being surrounded by like-minded artists/teachers and students. Shu and Mathilda were very enthusiastic about their engagement with other elite artistic students, making and creating artistic networks, and being independent in making creative decisions about their own work. The final in-house presentation displayed an excellent outcome and understanding of the topic. There were moments that encapsulated the theme potently and gave opportunities for further reflection on the topic of what "Belonging" actually means for us as individuals and as a community. Our students left the collaboration in Matilda's words "with joy in their hearts". They loved it!

Across 3 days, 16 students came together to share their skills and also experiment with new skills. On the first day we showcased our own skills to each other and one violinist performed a solo by Bach which inspired me to collaborate with her. I tried playing the violin and bassoon and gained a new appreciation for music and how hard it is to play. I also realised how important it is for a dancer to listen and interpret music in their own language, which is movement. The collaborative process was mostly improvisation which I found different and challenging compared to a lot of what we learn at the School where we are taught set choreography. Whilst it was only a short period of time, this experience had a huge impact on my mindset and changed the way I think, in a positive way.” Shu Igarashi. 

The ABS is a proud member of the ARTS8 and we look forward to many more collaborations in the future.

Photos courtesy of NIDA


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