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Master and apprentice

A fascination with the bizarre antics on a typical dance floor is the inspiration behind Untrained, writes Ben Dillon
HE Judith Wright Centre will soon play host to the Lucy Guerin production of Untrained, which puts two untrained male dancers on stage with two professionals in a free-form performance where the difference in ability is stark, enlightening and often comedic. Choreographer Guerin describes Untrained as an experimental work rather than a traditional dance performance. Its not a conventional dance experience but more like an experiment about how dance training forms movement, she says. The effort and energy for the untrained compared with trained dancers who are used to the rules and construct of the (dance) process is something that I wanted to show. We dont see ordinary men dancing because there is a tension in letting go. While Untrained began as a workshop exploring Guerins interest in choreographing for nondancers, the show has since played to critical acclaim at the Sydney Opera House and at festivals in Adelaide, Perth and Hong Kong. The audience are hopefully drawn to the effort of the untrained as much as you are enthralled by what the trained dancers do, Guerin says. At the end I hope the audience comes away with a full portrait of each dancer. The Brisbane auditions surprised Guerin as men aged 18 to 53, with vastly differing backgrounds, turned up to strut their stuff. This was one of the most terrific auditions I have ever run, Guerin says. We had 40 men from all walks of life, including a geologist, carpenter and a resort owner from Coochiemudlo Island. We also had men who were magicians, tradies, cooks, actors and even a Special Olympics national swimming champion.

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EXPERIENCE the Parisian atmosphere minus the plane trip with a ticket to the Alliance Francaise French Film Festivals opening gala from 6.30pm. Start with the Catherine Deneuve comedy Potiche, then sample canapes, wine and entertainment while mingling with fellow Francophiles. Ticket includes drink on arrival. Where: Palace Centro, James St, Fortitude Valley When: 6.30pm Cost: $50 Info:

Matt ONeill, of Red Hill, and Javier Bricenco, of Stafford Heights, were the two chosen as the untrained talent. They will take turns at mirroring the professionals moves, as well as executing traditional dance steps designed to highlight the difference in movement between trained and untrained dancers. The professional dancers are Antony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe, both Green Room Award winners. Hamilton was involved in the first production of Untrained in 2009. Both ONeill and Bricenco are excited to be involved and looking forward to the rehearsals, where along with the professional dancers they will have input into the content of the show. The attraction of dance for ONeill is one of cultural access. One of the reasons I find it really fascinating is that people dont often like to dance unless theyre either good at it or drunk, he says. I dont think that is fair because dancing isnt supposed to be about if youre good or bad, its about having fun. Everybody should have access to it, which is what attracted me to Untrained. Bricenco is keen to get back into dancing, which has been a neglected aspect of his life since coming to Australia from his native Colombia three years ago. I couldnt live without dancing, says the 28-year-old accounting student. But most of the clubs here dont play my music, like salsa, so it feels like that part of my body is dead at the moment. Dancing for me is like breakfast or lunch. It is something I need to do, something that is part of my culture, my country, my family, my friends and everything in Colombia. Im quite excited, because it is a break from my boring life as an accounting student. Bricenco also says his cultural background gave him an advantage in the auditions. Im from

SWAP the car for cardio on Ride2Work Day, an annual event that encourages Brisbane commuters to flex their pedal-power and spread the fun of riding to work. Each rider will receive a free breakfast. Ride2Work Day is part of Bike Week 2011. Where: Rides leave various locations around Brisbane to King George Square, 100 Adelaide St, Brisbane City When: 7-8.15am Cost: Free Info:

RAW TALENT: Amateurs Javier Bricenco and Matt ONeill star with professionals dancers in Untrained. Picture: Bruce Long
POLITICAL analyst Katharine Gelber will be at Avid Reader Bookshop tonight to discuss her new book, Speech Matters. Blending political insight, legal research and social science, Gelber investigates why many of Australias laws and policies are damaging our democratic ideals. Where: Avid Reader Bookshop, 193 Boundary Rd, West End When: 6pm Cost: $5 Info:

Colombia and people dance there because they think it is fun; it is very different from Australia. The notion behind Untrained was Guerins desire to explore how the average male body moves when dancing. I was thinking about the idea for quite a long time, Guerin says. Over the years I watched untrained people grappling with formal dance moves and I wondered, why are they bothering?. But that lack of body awareness started to fascinate me because it is something I could never choreograph myself and is something that trained dancers cant emulate. The idea of the untrained dancers providing a missing element to the repertoire of the trained dancers during the rehearsal process is an alluring prospect for ONeill. You see it in many areas of life, he says. You can learn a lot from someone who hasnt been indoctri-

nated in a certain form. But its not like we are going to say to the trained dancers, We have all these insights to show you because we havent learnt anything. Untrained is not all about dancing, though, with the performers drawing, singing and talking about themselves in the show. I will work with Matt and Javier for a week of workshop rehearsals and they will have the chance to help create the show, Guerin says. They will now face the fun challenge of following the dance steps of two very experienced and skilled dancers on the same stage. Perfect moves wont be the point. The purpose is for ONeill or Bricenco to match the professionals in their own entertaining way. Its a very fun show for the dancers and audiences alike.
Untrained, Judith Wright Centre, May 13-14. Tickets $40/$35/$20. See

THE timeless struggle for power in Rome is given a facelift in director David Bertholds adaptation of Shakespeares greatest thriller, Julius Caesar, playing La Boite Theatre until Sunday. Conspiracy, bloody murder and a new musical score feature in this contemporary version. Stars Ross Balbuziente, Paul Bishop, Thomas Larkin, Steven Rooke and Anna McGahan. Where: Roundhouse Theatre, 6-8 Musk Ave, Kelvin Grove When: 6.30pm Cost: From $26 Info:


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