Sue Healey

 

Sue Healey is a choreographer, educator and dance-film maker based in Sydney , Australia .

Her creative manifesto speaks to the production of a highly-detailed movement language. Experimenting with form and perception, Healey creates dance for diverse spaces; theatres, specific sites and the camera.

Her live works and films embody technical excellence and high production values, and employ the finest of dancers.

 

Sue Healey: On View: Live Portraits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The premiere of Sue Healey’s extraordinary ON VIEW: Live Portraits paints a series of live portraits of five Australian dance artists: Martin del Amo, Shona Erskine, Benjamin Hancock, Raghav Handa, and Nalina Wait, as well as video portraits of the legendary Dame Lucette Aldous and Professor Shirley McKechnie AO, icons of Australian dance, as part of a complimentary exhibition throughout the season.

 

Featuring both filmed and live choreography, ON VIEW: Live Portraits highlights the artists’ unique skills in shaping and transforming identity through meticulous attention to movement across mediums and generations of dance artists. A provocative dialogue between live performers and their cinematic selves, Healey’s work celebrates diverse ways of thinking through the body.

 

Images: Gregory Lorenzutti & Heidrun Lohr

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CREDITS

 

Sue Healey - On View: Live Portraits

Presented by Performance Space

CARRIAGEWORKS NSW

17 - 25 July 2015

 

Film: Sue Healey

Choreographer: Sue Healey, in collaboration with the performers

Performers: Martin del Amo, Shona Erskine, Benjamin Hancock, Raghav Handa, Nalina Wait

Director of Photography: Judd Overton

Music: Darrin Verhagen, Justin Ashworth

Lighting Designer: Karen Norris

 

 
 

VIDEO

Video: Judd Overton

WRITING

 

 

"How refreshing! Choreographer and filmmaker Sue Healey has been working on a relationship between dance and screen for more than a decade. She has won awards and international praise. But nothing I have seen of hers has reached the levels of perception, presentation and entertainment as this show. It's exceptional.

 

Opening fortuitously on the day the Archibald Prize winner was announced, On View: Live Portraits offers something painters and sculptors cannot: their subjects' mobility. We see five dancers performing live and captured on screen in sequences that project them as individuals, personally and as performers. Healey has chosen dancers of diverse body shapes, skills and – one can only surmise – characters. The result, along with the inventive production elements, is richly textured and absorbing. Characteristically, the action in Healey's choreography is less rather than more but the overall impact is big in terms of interwoven ideas explored but not necessarily answered. You leave wanting to see more of these performers.

 

There is the shock-haired, maturing quirkiness of Martin del Amo; the cool, slim angularity of Shona Erskine; the slightly scary flexibility of Benjamin Hancock; the glowing fluency of Raghav Handa​; and the womanly warmth of Nalina Wait. At first the audience views them as individuals lined up with their screen images delivered in unusual ways – for instance, on a bare back, filtered through a blind of silky strings or linked in a line like vertebrae. Then we move into seats to watch the dancers communicate singly and occasionally as an ensemble, alive in real time and on screen in unexpected situations. Handa dances with a horse; Hancock with a praying mantis; Erskine duets with an elegant fox fur; del Amo finds himself in a cemetery; Wait teeters on the edge of a buoy.

 

In context it all comes together and you can see the top level team work that has gone into the collaboration, including diverting music from composers Darrin Verhagen​ and Justin Ashworth, dramatic lighting by Karen Norris and persuasive visuals by director of photography Judd Overton."

On View review: Dance portraits outshines the Archibald

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Jill Sykes The Sydney Morning Herald July 19 2015

 

 

"Strong, stick-slender and sometimes dressed to the nines, Melbourne dancer Benjamin Hancock here continues his career exploring the queer body. He contorts with circus precision into a blurring of strength and femininity. And appropriately he stretches his agility around the images of a praying mantis."

ON VIEW: LIVE PORTRAITS review (Carriageworks, Sydney)

Martin Portus Daily Review July 19 2015

 

 

 

"Benjamin Hancock opts for relative stillness, his body unfolding slowly with exquisite, angular yogic poise, seen in parallel with a praying mantis on film balanced on the performer’s skin."

On View: Live Portraits

iKeith Gallasch RealTime issue #129 pg. 10 Oct-Nov 2015

 

 

 

"An extraordinary performance by Benjamin Hancock was the highlight of this section. His acrobatic style of movement, punctured by a vocabulary that often looked quite balletic, along with the film footage on the screens of a praying mantis, was mesmerising."

On View. Live Portraits': Sue Healey

Michelle Potter 23 July 2015

 
 

Sue Healey - On View: Quintet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On View: Quintet evokes the reverential space of a portrait gallery, a place where the moving body is analysed and the nature of portraiture is dissected and queried. The installation portion of the work features five dance artists: Martin del Amo; Shona Erskine; Benjamin Hancock; Raghav Handa; and Nalina Wait, with live performances by the featured artists around their projected selves during evening shows.

 

Healey's work celebrates the unique nature of each artist and their individual ability to shape and transform their own notion of identity via a precise and meticulous focus on movement and the body. Acting as an ever-evolving archive of the history of movement in Australian art, On View: Quintet is a celebration of the beauty, determination, fragility and provocation that exists within the diverse thinking, moving body.

 

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Images: Mischa Baka
 
 

CREDITS

 

Sue Healey - On View: Quintet

DANCE MASSIVE

Presented by Dancehouse & Performing Lines

Dancehouse Upstairs Studio Melbourne

20 -22 March 2015

 

Film: Sue Healey

Choreographer: Sue Healey, in collaboration with the performers

Performers: Martin del Amo, Shona Erskine, Benjamin Hancock, Raghav Handa, Nalina Wait

Director of Photography: Judd Overton

Music: Darrin Verhagen, Justin Ashworth

Lighting Designer: Karen Norris

Producer: Pippa Bailey – MAPS NSW, Performing Lines

 

 

WRITING

 

 

"Sue Healey and Judd Overton are a match made in dance film heaven. Combining Healey's choreographic choices with Overton's stunning photography and five unique dancers, On View: Quintet is a remarkable experience.

 

The upstairs studio at Dancehouse is fitted with five white screens, surrounding the performance space in a gentle curve. In the opening shot, each dancer is presented in triplicate, simultaneously performing a slow-motion sequence in three different outfits. Immediately, the ideas of portraiture, multiplicity and gaze are introduced.The gallery atmosphere is interrupted as the dancers emerge, briefly fleshing out their onscreen personas. At several points, they approach the audience, intently observing us.

 

The filmic images soon escape the studio, exploring striking outdoor scenes and, fascinatingly, animals. Prancing, showing the whites of his eyes and kicking sand like his equine counterpart, Raghav Handa's horse-yard scene creates a subtle tension. Charismatic performer Nalina Wait is viewed through the tank of a Siamese fighting fish, her intricate arm movements echoing fabulous fins. Benjamin Hancock swirls and flicks his long legs in a voluminous silver skirt, framed by a brilliant blue sky and two industrial chimneys. In a golden tunic, Martin del Amo's idol-like image is multiplied several times, projected onto screen, his body and hand-held scrolls of gauzy fabric. Shona Erskine is the most understated of the group. Whether in bustle skirt or mini dress, her movement has a quiet elegance.

 

Finding a balance between the illuminated screens and live bodies is an ongoing issue, but the development thus far is marvellous."

Dance and film: Sue Healey and Judd Overton form new visions

★★★★

Chloe Smethurst March 22 2015

 

 

"In fantastical costumes as extension of the self, I could not help but marvel at Hancock in a long black dress that beneath the full skirt grew a plastic fantastic forest of lurid flowers and revealed a pair of red sequined hotpants (The effect momentarily reminiscent of Mammy’s red petticoat rustling beneath her servant garb in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind.). When Hancock emerged from behind the screen, all grasshopper elegance and artful contortions, his quiet introspective focus was engaging."

“On View: Quintet” Sue Healey

Gracia Haby fjord review March 21 2015

 

Sue Healey - Variant

Variant has been nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance, Australian Dance Awards, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variant shines a spotlight on our oddities and rarities. It celebrates the diversity of the human body from every angle.

 

Variant features an eclectic family of fascinating artists, from the very tiny to the exceptionally tall, the ultra-flexible to the emotionally radical.  Accompanied by live piano and accordion, each performer takes Healey’s fluid choreography and fearlessly makes it their own. With humour and humanity, they reveal that one size never fits all!

 

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Images: Heidrun Lohr

CREDITS

 

Sue Healey - Variant

Presented by Seymour Centre and Performing Lines
Reginald Theatre, Seymour Centre.
26 July – 4 August 2012

 

Choreographer: Sue Healey
Designer: Tobhiyah Feller
Lighting Designer: Jenny Vila
Dancers: Narelle Benjamin, James Berlyn, Benjamin Hancock, Rachelle Hickson, Kiruna Stamell and Nalina Wait
Musician: Pat Wilson
Dramaturg: Brian Carbee

 

WRITING

 

"At the end of A Chorus Line, arguably the most famous musical about dancers ever written, the entire company comes into a line and moves in perfect unison as one. Each dancer becomes indistinguishable and everything that makes them unique is lost.

 

The dance world seems to be all about uniformity, from ballet choruses through to contemporary dance companies. But what about the performers who don’t fit the chorus line? Variant is all about those individual dancers who break the mould – the square pegs in the round holes. It’s a bright, funny and often touching look at what makes us different and the way we can struggle to embrace that difference. The dancers cover the spectrum of body shapes and sizes from Kiruna Stamell at 106cm through to James Berlyn at 6 foot 5, celebrating the variation of the human form. When Stamell and Berlyn dance together, it’s a spectacular sight.

 

Sue Healey’s choreography is beautifully nuanced, energetic and eclectic, drawing influences from contemporary dance, cabaret and tap. The stories of the characters in the piece are told so vividly through dance and brought to life by a cast of uniquely talented performers. But Variant is about so much more than dance. The movement is just part of a rich and quirky theatrical experience that includes live piano, accordion and vocals by Pat H Wilson and some hilarious pre-recorded narration by Brian Carbee.

 

The eclectic original soundtrack sounds wonderfully energetic and the intimate Reginald Theatre has never looked better than it does with a stunning design by Tobhiyah Feller and lighting by Jenny Vila. Variant tackles some pretty serious themes with a healthy dose of humour and ingenuity. It’s a remarkably human show, shining a light on individual personalities and challenging perceptions in a way that most dance companies could never

achieve."

Variant

★★★★

Benjamin Neutze Time Out Sydney

 

 

Sue Healey - Variant: Stage 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variant shines a spotlight on our oddities and rarities. It celebrates the diversity of the human body from every angle.

 

Variant features an eclectic family of fascinating artists, from the very tiny to the exceptionally tall, the ultra-flexible to the emotionally radical.  Accompanied by live piano and accordion, each performer takes Healey’s fluid choreography and fearlessly makes it their own. With humour and humanity, they reveal that one size never fits all!

 

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Images: Heidrun Lohr & lucy Parakhina

CREDITS

 

Sue Healey - Variant: Stage 1

LIVEWORKS Festival
Presented by Performance Space

CARRIAGEWORKS NSW
12-13 November 2010

 

Choreographer: Sue Healey
Dancers: Narelle Benjamin, James Berlyn, Benjamin Hancock, Rachelle Hickson, Kiruna Stamell and Nalina Wait
Musician: Pat Wilson

 

WRITING

"Sue Healey presented her performed conversation Variant as part of ‘Liveworks’ festival presented by Performance Space at Carriageworks.  Promoted as a “fast and furious festival of new ideas” the four-day event consisted of a barrage of challenging performances, installations, screenings and many other formats, filling the entire venue.  Innovation and interpretation was vivid in the 2010 program, Healey’s ‘work in development’ was a highlight, being presented as part of her Curiosities series.


Variant clearly demonstrates Healey’s unique ability to use dance and art as research. An evolving collaboration between herself, the six dancers and the music director Pat Wilson, the work showed the power of the human body in channeling thoughtful concepts whilst also being aesthetically creative. Challenging audience perceptions, this artwork demanded laughter and contemplation. Variant questions norm and difference, and explores diversity within the human form.  

Perhaps the most obvious visual variance was between the versatile and diminutive Kiruna Stamell, who danced alongside the distinctly tall James Berlyn.  His height was exaggerated at times by a pair of platform heels that even the most experienced of catwalk models might have found a challenge!  They spoke into microphones about the very real social implications of their heights and about being treated like ‘freaks’ – but here, in front of the audience, stood two beautiful performers. Joking about bone stretching and cutting inches off one’s feet, they equated these modifications to plastic surgeries we encounter in our everyday worlds. Highlighting the severity of difference hits the audience directly where it hurts. After all, we are all victims of judgment at both ends.  

Even so, the dancing was far more powerful than the words.  A playful pas de deux was featured where waltzing, lifting, spinning and swinging highlighted Kiruna and James’ variance yet united their commonality. The relationship and compatibility between them spoke for itself, as did the stilts Kiruna danced atop for a cleverly amusing dance sequence.  It was easy to get lost in the ease and joy of their movements.  Perhaps this was a victory in itself, for the essence of the human body was found among the differences.

With this stark variance established, the commitment to experimentation called for further tinkering. The spectrum of height difference between Kiruna and James was filled and the word ‘relative’ became suddenly obvious.  Observation or judgment is only relative to what it is compared to: Kiruna no longer appeared as short, nor James as tall.  What remained were people, bodies, dancers and artists. Ultimately, individuals.

Narelle Benjamin and Benjamin Hancock both sensuously swirled and cleverly isolated their bodies around the stage. Their immense strength and flexibility was on display with her in track pants and him with a nearly bare body. The pair performed intricate discoveries of the body, with spines rolling and bending, muscles isolating and their bodies intertwining. They led each other seamlessly in call and response sequences and all their skill and virtuosity evoked a sense of sadness. They were isolated by their abilities, separated from an imagined ‘normality’ that is incapable of such feats.

In a build up of solos and partner work, the audience experienced transitions through variants.  With disjointed sequences, humorous moments and clever choreographic isolations, each dancer became obscure in their selves but familiar in their struggle.  

In a bittersweet conclusion, beautiful moments of unison incorporated the remaining two dancers, Rachelle Hickson and Nalina Wait, with all the dancers effecting and affecting each other. They were united in all their differences and perhaps oddities, testing the audience with a mixture of emotions represented by exaggerated gestures of the face.  Confronting and curious, the piece led us into a whirlwind of our own pasts and presents.

Are we able to laugh at and judge others?  After all, they judge us. That seems to be the reality of society and humanity, and what a sad cycle that is. Thankfully the performers were liberated and free at the end, evoking joy and hope. It will be interesting to see where this work progresses and how this experimentation and research evolves."

Variant by the Sue Healey Company @ Carriageworks

Sara Czarnota M/C Reviews November 21 2010