Emerging choreographer Lewis Major & International Young Choreographer Project 2015

In This Article

Australian choreographer Lewis Major was one of eight choreographers selected to participate in the International Young Choreographer Project (IYCP) 2015, held in southern Taiwan in July/August this year.

Hosted by World Dance Alliance Asia–Pacific Taiwan chapter, applicants are selected based not only on their choreographic work but also on their ability to meet the challenges of working in a foreign country with unfamiliar dancers and culture, and their potential as a significant contributor to dance in the future.

Selected choreographers work with dancers from Taiwan, and the three-week process of developing new works with local Taiwanese dancers concludes with two performances. The program highlights the diversity of dance in both styles and cultures, and how local and international choreographers perceive their daily lives and the world.

young professional dancers performing on stageIsland by Lewis Major (Australia). Photos: Zen-hau Liu

'As an emerging choreographer, it is not easy to find your voice'

by Lewis Major

As an emerging choreographer it is not easy find your voice. You are usually given limited time and resources, with a strict deadline. Marketing needs to start immediately, you are expected to know exactly what the work is about before you have even started rehearsals, and more time seems to be spent on administration and production than in growing yourself as an artist. There is limited space or time for deep investigation or innovation. This leads to artists falling back on what they know is safe. It doesn’t encourage us to take risks or to challenge ourselves. Under these conditions one is not encouraged to follow one’s instinct, or to be open to the magical things that might occur during the rehearsal process.

Taking part in the IYCP 2015 was a very rare opportunity—a place where I was given the liberty to experiment with my art and grow a seed idea, about people and their interconnectedness, into an eventual work that conveyed a physical narrative. I am fascinated by the ways in which we interact with each other. The resulting work, Island, looked at the fragility of interactions and the instability of continually shifting roles in our globalized world.

young professional dancers perform intricate hand movementsThe precise and exact manner in which the dancers replicated my movement qualities and artistic intent demonstrates the prodigious talents, precision and technical training of these young dancers. The Taiwanese are an incredibly generous, friendly and accommodating people. There was a genuine feeling of warmth and support that pervaded my entire time in Taiwan.