There’s Something In My Shoes
Fiona Bryant (Co-Director, Choreographer) Rosy Lawson (Co-Director, Writer) Nyssa Ray (Sound) Jeremy Luby (Set Design and Construction)
Synopsis & Rational
There’s Something In My Shoes (TSIMS) is a new collaboration between Sunshine Coast based writer Rose Lawson and choreographer and performer Fiona Bryant. The initial vision for the work is drawn from a passage of writing written by Lawson in response to Bryant’s prompt – There’s something in my shoes…
“There’s something in my shoes that gives me strength to begin a new day. They are unbreakable no matter where I go. Those shoes have a light that guides my way. Though I can’t always seek them I know I will be ok until I find them again. sometimes I find it hard to put them on because the insanity gets too real and paths that I can choose can become blocked. There is also other times when I need to take my shoes off so I can ground my body into the earth and become one with the consciousness that surrounds us because if we are grounded there’s no room for the ego that likes to take over. There’s something in my shoes and I know that anything is possible.” (Rose Lawson 4th July, 2018)
Bryant was particularly moved by this text, especially given the context – Lawson has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair. She has never been able to wear shoes or walk. The pair are now proposing to devise a full-length dance performance that grows from this basis and develops them as artists which in turn can be shared with local audiences.
The proposed working process is structured wherein the community are asked to donate pairs of shoes accompanied by written prompts for Lawson to work with. Ultimately the shoes will be shaped into a large mound and provide the onstage set for the work. Bryant will choreograph and dance the text by using parts of her body to hit points on an imagined alphabet cube surrounding the body (see attached diagram). This technique has been used by Bryant previously (I am here on my 2006). This is originally learned from seminal post-modern dance figure, Trisha Brown and her Locus work. It is further proposed that the text is spoken, recorded and used as the sound score for the work through collaboration with local musician Nyssa Ray. Lawson uses a technology wherein her eyes make contact with a keyboard in order to type and speak what she is thinking. It is hoped that Ray will be able to use his vocal and instrumental skills to experiment with different tones and punctuations/modulations to utter Lawson’s text. This may produce something that mirrors the onstage duet presence of Bryant and Lawson.
Bryant’s dance will develop to include the wearing of some of the donated footwear whilst ‘spelling out’ some of Lawson’s text. Bryant will explore both this very pragmatic handling of Lawson’s text in combination with more emotional improvisational responses. Footwear and the handling of everyday objects can utterly transform the way we move, think and feel. A series of unconventional footwear and objects are worn to interrupt habits. Bryant’s activity will likely bring audiences a new sense of attention to their own footwear.
Locations and Timeline
It is planned that TSIMS will initially be developed during late 2018 and early 2019. The work will premier at the 2019 Anywhere Festival (May) and the Horizon Festival (Aug/Sep). For the Anywhere Festival Lawson and Bryant have researching locations that have strong connection and meaning to Bryant and Lawson. They have decided upon a unique and famous little café – Vandy’s Garage in Buderim, Sunshine Coast.
It is anticipated that TSIMS will; develop the skills of all four artists – Lawson, Bryant, Luby and Ray; develop audiences sense of ownership of the work through the shoe donation process; educate audiences about the craft of choreography and, enlighten the community on ways of unreservedly encountering the ‘other’through a process of surrendering preconceptions and creatively extending potential.
Trisha Brown Locus structure. Numbers correlate with letters of the alphabet – A starting at 1 etc.
Artist Biographies Rose Lawson
My name is Rose, I am 31 years old, I have Cerebral Palsy. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Sippy Downs. I use a power chair as my mobility and a qwerty board plus an eye gaze device as my main outlet for communication. I have 24/7 care provided by support workers, family and friends.
I love most kinds of music & it’s my lifeline. I have done lots of music, art and drama courses through Tafe & other community groups. I have done lots of poetry & writings and I enjoy playing with the use of words to express how I see this society. I am related to Henry Lawson. He was my great great Uncle so writing is in my blood.
I am a seeker of possibilities. I have been given & done a lot of amazing things in life. This opportunity with Fiona would be a great way to express myself even further. I cant wait for this next journey with Fiona
Fiona Rachel Bryant
“Bryant is such an exciting choreographer it’s difficult to do her work justice in words. The Sunday Age, Melbourne
Fiona is a Sunshine Coast based choreographer, performer and movement educator. She has created and performed dance works for curated and independent seasons at the National Gallery of Victoria (2014), Melbourne Fringe Festival (2008, 2012), Next Wave Festival (2010, 2012), Lucy Guerin Inc. (2009), Melbourne International Design Festival (2008), Melbourne International Arts Festival (2007), L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival (2007), and Dancehouse (2006-2012). She has studied with Australian and internationally renowned teachers and artists, including Deborah Hay (USA) from whom she commissioned and performed two solos (2008, 2010). Other recent experiences include performing Maria Hassabi’s (USA) Intermission at The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2014) and the premier of Judith Walton’s Lehte at Heide Museum of Modern Art (2014, 2015).
Fiona’s practice is chiefly concerned with discovering and re-discovering ways in which to engage the whole psychophysical self in the processes of generating and performing dance. She considers the multidimensionality of the human organism offers an extraordinary landscape to be traversed in the realm of live performance. In recent years her works have covered a diversity of themes including ageing, folk-pop culture, natural disaster, loneliness and the ordinary.
Fiona regularly develops and presents her works in non-traditional performance spaces as was evidenced in On Rondo (a solo commissioned for the National Gallery of Victorian’s 2014 Melbourne Now program) and her full-length outdoor performance – Hiatus (2012 Next Wave Festival, Green Room Award Nomination).
In recent years Fiona’s performance works and ongoing research have been recognized and supported by awards and scholarships including a Melbourne Research Scholarship (2007-2009), Fringe Festival Best Dance Award (2008), Next Wave Kickstart (2009), City of Melbourne Young Artist Award (2010), Australia Council Art Start (2010), Chunky Move Maximized ((2012), Besen Family Foundation grant (2012), Australian Postgraduate Award (2014-17) and Haihatus Arts Centre Residency Scholarship Finland (2015).
Currently Fiona is using her history and training, including as a qualified Alexander Technique and Tai Chi instructor, in order to work with two groups of dancers with disabilities who are based in the Black Box Theatre (Nambour, QLD). These groups perform full length works and regularly tour. In her solo practice Fiona has just recently finished performing in Rhiannon Newton’s Doing Dancing at the Powerhouse, Brisbane,Second Hand Opera at the University of Sunshine Coast Art Gallery and Skinny Love at the Horizon Festival Dinner En Noir. Her situational living sculpture work Pääskyt was given special mention in the 2018 Sculpture on the Edge Festival in Maleny.