This essay on the life of dancer Jane Avril touches on the history of the asylum and the treatment of neurological disorders in the late C19th.
Download article HERE: CSIRO-L’OPTIMISME
Jane Avril was incarcerated in Saltpetriere asylum as a teenager because of a movement disorder that she later claimed was ‘cured by dancing’. She became one of the favoured dancers at the Moulin Rouge, and a good friend, supporter and muse to Toulouse-Lautrec. Her physical oddness was celebrated by poets and artists of the period. Toulouse-Lautrec’s depictions were of a woman whose dance was irregular and a little uncontrolled. This essay touches on the way both art and science can understand and document—perhaps even heal—the human condition, but via very different means.
L’Optimisme was a performance-presentation for DANscienCE Week, CSIRO Discovery Lecture Theatre, August 10, 2013. Its first version was a cabaret-biography, created for the National Gallery of Australia ‘City of Lights’ Promenade, March 2013.
Singing the landscape electric [SOP] a poetic dialogue on feeling one’s self in the world.
Originally written for “Sense of Place: Canberra” , a postgraduate seminar held at UWS Sydney School of Social Ecology, 2001.
Performance alchemies: Igneous’ Mirage, Suzon Fuks, James Cunningham.
Australian Choreographic Centre, Nov 16-18, 2006
RT 77 Feb-March 2007
Not about disability: Britain’s CanDo Co.
The Gasworks, Melbourne Fringe, October 7.
RT 22, Dec-Jan 1997