2017 Australia Council Fellowship recipient Stephanie Lake

Stories
May 25, 2018
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Choreographer and dancer Stephanie Lake is director of her own contemporary dance company, the Stephanie Lake Company, and creates works for other major companies here in Australia and overseas.

Her major choreographic works – including REPLICA, Pile of Bones, Double Blind, DUAL, A Small Prometheus,AORTA and Mix Tape – have been performed at major festivals and theatres in Australia and across Europe, the UK and in Asia, and have secured her reputation as one of Australia’s leading choreographic talents.

With a style described as ‘visceral and emotionally charged’, Stephanie’s work incorporates physically extreme movement in her ongoing pursuit to address ‘challenging concepts through the use of the human body at its most elemental.’

Photo: Jen Brown. Dancers: Brianna Kell and Alana Everett

Throughout her career, Stephanie has received numerous awards for her work. In 2011 she was recipient of a Green Room Award for Mix Tape, and in 2014 she won both won the Stephanie Helpmann Award for A Small Prometheus, as well as the Australian Dance Award for Most Outstanding Choreography for AORTA.

Stephanie has also been the recipient of three fellowships, which were awarded at crucial points in her career. In 2012, she was awarded the very first Dame Peggy Van Praagh Choreographic Fellowship and in 2013, received the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship (2012). In 2017, she was awarded an Australia Council Fellowship of $80,000 in 2017.

‘I have been choreographing for nearly 20 years now and I’ve been freelance for the duration of my career,’ she explains. ‘The Fellowship offers invaluable financial stability across two years and that support couldn’t have come at a better time since I established the Stephanie Lake Company relatively recently and have had to make financial sacrifices to get it off the ground. I also am at a stage where I want to work on ambitious projects and the application for the Fellowship gave me the chance to propose some big ideas.’

Stephanie’s ‘big ideas’ include a new work for 50 dancers, a Arts Centre Melbourne /Fringe Festival commission that will premiere in September, a creative collaboration with theatre director Matthew Lutton of Malthouse Theatre on a new work, and a third new piece, a duet.

This productivity, according to Stephanie, was enabled by her Fellowship, which she says has given her a ‘bolt of energy and momentum to continue for the next few years’, noting that most artists are awarded fellowships at a ‘somewhat precipitous and delicate ‘mid-career’ stage when many start to feel burnt out and exhausted’ from working to sustain a career in the arts. In this way, she explains, ‘Fellowships such as this are crucial for sustainability in the arts.’

Find out more about Stephanie’s work and the Stephanie Lake Company at stephanielake.com.au/

And watch a trailer for Stephanie’s recent work Pile of Bones here:

PILE OF BONES | Trailer from Stephanie Lake on Vimeo.