Patrick (Lucky) Lartey receives Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship

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Patrick (Lucky) Lartey is a Sydney-based dancer and choreographer, originally from Ghana, West Africa. In September this year he was awarded the Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship, which provides financial assistance for an emerging choreographer to travel internationally with the sole purpose of developing and extending their choreographic practice.

As a West African dancer and choreographer working and living in Australia, Lucky was looking for opportunities to learn and to work with internationally recognised choreographers of African descent who are also navigating contemporary dance spaces. 

In 2017 Lucky will use the Fellowship to travel to Ankata in BoBo, Burkina Faso, West Africa to complete a four-week dance residency with Serge Aime Coulibaly, the artistic director of Faso Dance Theatre—a creative space for meetings, reflection and research on contemporary choreography. 

The four-week residency with Serge at Ankata in Burkina Faso will help me strengthen my voice as a West African dancer/choreographer and facilitate the development of my choreographic practice by looking at ways of generating place-based work in West Africa.

I first had the opportunity to work with Serge Aime Coulibaly in July 2013 for three weeks as part of Listening to Country—a research and development project for Marrugeku and Stalker Theatre that was the first stage development for Cut the Sky, as well as a laboratory to explore new approaches to dramaturgy in contemporary indigenous performance in Broome, NT. The three weeks I spent with Serge in 2013 shaped me a lot in terms of how I think about generating movement material. It went on to inform how I think about researching and developing movement practices and how to generate work from place-based experiences. It also exposed me to how a dancer/choreographer of African descent was working internationally across contemporary dance and indigenous performance spaces and introduced me to new and inspiring dance methodologies.

Lucky Larty performing on-stage.Lucky's work draws on his traditional culture of rhythm and dance as well as his understanding of contemporary movement practices. His methodology for developing dance work focuses on the collaboration between live percussion music and movement and is often informed by themes of social justice and the reinvigoration of past cultural forms such as cultural games and social activities. Photo: Chris Frape, courtesy of Campbelltown Arts Centre. Performance: Fishers’ Kids 2015 at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Jamestown! performed by Jamestown Collective.

As part of meeting the reporting requirements for the Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship, Lucky will write blog posts to his website documenting his residency in Burkina Faso in 2017, which will contribute to the discourse on the developing choreography in Africa. 

We look forward to Lucky sharing his residency experiences both in Ghana and in Australia in multiple forums—performance, panel discussions and other spaces for engaging contemporary dance dialogues.

Watch Lucky's work on Vimeo

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Documenting the influence of travel on my artistic practice

Gabrielle Nankivell, the inaugural recipient of the Ausdance Keith Bain Choreographic Travel Fellowship, shares her travel story, research notes and workbook from Vienna, Munich, Barcelona and Berlin, where old and new influences shape her practice.

The subject of travel and professional development, and the value this experience offers artistic practice, arises regularly in the dance arena. As artists we seek these experiences because we are hoping to find something other than what we know or perhaps even something that makes us finally feel at home – either way, we are seeking something to ignite our imaginations and to deepen our knowledge and empathy. We hope to meet people, build new relationships and share practice. We imagine it will generate energy and feed our motivation. We take to the road to connect with others and to connect with our selves. To paraphrase the sentiment of many a wanderlust quote, travel opens the mind and makes the heart grow... We know and the philanthropists know. Travel and international exchange is a good thing.