REVERED King Street: home to the hottest high fashion, beautiful people sipping soy lattes and a dynamic contemporary dance scene.
Sitting back from the boutiques and coffee houses and fronting intersecting Murray Street is the King Street Arts Centre-based Strut Dance, a small, unassuming hub of professional dancers and choreographers serving as the main support organisation for the contemporary dance sector in WA.
Strut's latest project is the annual Short Cuts, a program of 15 diverse short works from emerging and experienced choreographers presented in their conceptual, raw form, but with the potential to become fully-fledged pieces.
Strut program manager and seasoned choreographer Danielle Micich is among those presenting their own work.
“It's a platform for our choreographers to show works that that are in development or ideas of works they wish to pursue on a level that pushes them to get to a showing stage,” she said.
“Sometimes, you can spend a lot of time in a studio looking at ideas and not actually committing to something, so Short Cuts gives choreographers an opportunity to showcase these ideas.
“It might be a little 10-minute piece and they might get a small grant and develop that into another piece and then the following year, they might get a bit more money and produce the work, so really it's a great springboard.”
Importantly, the program - made possible with State Government funding via the Future Moves initiative -enables choreographers to gauge immediate reactions to their works from audiences, which may prompt them to develop the concepts, change direction or abandon them entirely.
“Some ideas you will never see again and others, you see change shift or you might see a good idea just get bigger,” Danielle said.
“Personally, I like to ask what audiences think and feel and have a conversation.”
“Most people are scared that they don't get it, but it's not necessarily about whether they get it, it's really about what they take from it.”
Danielle said it was important for audiences not be intimidated by contemporary dance works.
“It might be just pure entertainment or something emotional that you connect with, so it doesn't mean to say that if something has narrative or doesn't have narrative, you don't have to identify with it straight away,” she said.
“It's also important to educate an audience that contemporary dance can be many different things, from something very entertaining and funny to something very serious and intricate.
“You will see one of the broader spectrums of dance with this program, as there's so many ideas coming to play.”
As for Danielle's own work for Short Cuts - a piece of live music (violin) and movement - she will not only be choreographing, but performing alongside highly-regarded young dancer Jacqui Claus.
It will be a nervous return to performance after an 18-month hiatus.
“My last performance was in Beijing and since then, I have concentrated on making my own work,” she said.
“But I felt I should put myself back into the work, because I need to make sure I can still move and have the right ideas, otherwise you're asking demands of your dancers that physically aren't possible.”
Short Cuts 2010 is at King Street Arts Centre, Perth, from October 29-31.