It’s hard not to compare the smooth, fluid movements of a jellyfish or octopus to a beautiful and mesmerising dance. What if a dancer utilised the movement of these marine species in connection with the human body? This is what award-winning choreographer Dean Walsh has achieved with Fathom.

“The octopus is made of pure muscle. I became fascinated with their movement and wanted to put it into my work,” he tells me. Fathom, a one-hour-long solo piece, is part of the Australian Dance Fellowship that Walsh was awarded last year.

“I find a lot of solo artists are community oriented. You have to be because it’s about the audience and you have to build a community around them. Fathomhas a political feel and I’m hoping this will be a unique and atmospheric hour.” What’s even more unique and fascinating is Walsh has used his scuba diving background as an influence for his choreography, as well as exploring the topics of extinction, sustainability and bio-diversity.

“Artists are like messengers and scientists can use artists as their voice. When it comes to climate change, our ocean and estuary environments need more awareness. Through the poetics of dance that awareness can be brought to audiences.”

Published in City News online and in print on May 8, 2011.


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