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Case Studies The Seeding of a Project The Perception Experiment | RAF Case Study (2017)

In 2017, two choreographers Frankie Snowdon and Madeleine Krenek, were awarded project funding by Regional Arts Australia. Their remit: to create a new contemporary dance piece both in and of Central Australia. What came from it, was an incredible work entitled The Perception Experiment that explored time and space through a sensorial offering of live dance performance, sonic exploration and salt at the Araluen Centre for the Arts, Alice Springs. Its placement in Gallery One threw the work across genres; it wasn’t just a dance piece or a soundscape, it became a visual art sculpture that left trails of movement in space. What does a dance look like when it’s no longer happening? The Perception Experiment showed you that.

The contribution from the Regional Arts Fund was a foundation for the partnerships that followed from the Australia Council, Arts NT and the Araluen Arts Centre to create this work – an investment created waves. Artback NT, the NT’s development and touring organisation, seeing the announcement of project funding from Regional Arts Australia, ensured they saw the performance and met with the choreographers. From there, Artback NT supported Snowdon and Krenek to attend the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) in Brisbane 2018 to represent their work in the desert. The Perception Experiment was then presented as part of Dance Massive in Melbourne, 2019 and toured to Festival Cultural de Mayo in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through a successful Playing Australia application, it embarks on its first national tour in February and March 2020 facilitated and managed by Artback NT.

Part of the successive waves of outcomes for this initial support from the Regional Arts Fund is Snowdon and Krenek’s decision to commit to the creation of a dance organisation based in Alice Springs: GUTS Dance.

GUTS Dance // Central Australia (GUTS) is an Alice Springs/Mparntwe-based organisation and is the only platform for contemporary dance investigation, creation, training and performance within a 1500km radius. It builds on a 13 year partnership between Snowdon and Krenek including two original works made in Central Australia since 2016 and the founding of the Alice Can Dance education program in 2012, that provides dance opportunities for over 250 young people in public schools in remote Australia. GUTS are currently in development for a new work and their first commissioned piece choreographed by Sara Black, entitled Value for Money.

From little things, big things grow: Snowdon and Krenek well and truly demonstrate the value in investing in our artists that are based in regional and remote Australia.

To find out more about The Perception Experiment, visit Artback NT’s website

Author: Liz Rogers, Artback NT

Image: Madeleine Krenek and Frankie Snowdon “the perception experiment”, 2017. Photographer: Pippa Samaya.