Photographer: FenLan Chuang.
To recognise the invaluable role of producers, Program Officer for Dance Kristian Pellissier asked three producers – Kath Papas, Jennifer Leys and Britt Guy – to talk about their role and the artists and projects they represent. In this, the final instalment, we talk to Britt Guy: an independent curator and producer working with Matthew Day, Nick Power and Liesel Zink on the program Dance Satellite, which received support through the Australia Council’s Creative Australia – Presentation initiative.
What is the role of a producer?
I don’t really think about what I do as a role of specifics, it is constantly changing depending on the project, artist and community. For the most part I am just focused on making wonderful ideas happen or bringing interesting artists and communities together. We work collectively to make the project happen, each bringing skills and ideas, which cross over each other to move the process along. I seem to always end up with the budget, however….
In the context of Dance Satellite I am in formal terms the curator, producer and community engagement facilitator. I support the dialogue and development of a dance exchange and three dance projects that are created by emerging and experimental artists and are supported by program of workshops, discussions and presentations which are individually created and embedded in each local community.
What is Dance Satellite?
Dance Satellite is a curated program of high quality contemporary dance projects that engage regional audiences and local dance communities in the process and development of the work. Dance Satellite in its inaugural program will be presented by two regional partners, Darwin Festival and Junction Arts Festival over two years.
Dance Satellite is a really exciting example of a bunch of conversations dropping into place at the same time. While I was programming Under the Radar at Brisbane Festival we created a number of experimental projects that worked with specific communities. These were communities with a shared postcode, cultural background, shared hobby or age. I loved how artists and projects could have these indepth wild experimental conversations with these pockets of people. I began to think about how this could exist in a regional context.
Since leaving Under the Radar, I have been living in Darwin working with artists, presenters, and festivals that work and create in a regional setting. I was lucky to develop a great and diverse network in Darwin, which now enables me to curate and produce work there. My time in Darwin also provided me with further insight into a regional context. I cannot live everywhere of course; therefore Dance Satellite also relies on local producers, presenters and artists to provide an insight into the local community and to invite in myself and the artists.
What are your thoughts on Australian audiences for dance? Who are they, who could they be and what are their tastes?
I think anyone could and should be an Australian dance audience member. When I am brewing ideas for programs and projects when considering the audience I often think about my Dad. My Dad does not have any formal or informal training in the arts nor is he in the loop on current artistic practice or concepts; however, he is interested in the colours, sounds, and movement of the world around him. When we have gone to the gallery or to a performance he often engages, enjoys and explores the work in a very different way to me.
Contemporary art can too often alienate audiences through appearing to have a secret language, whether this is on purpose or not, it still creates the same effect for the person trying to connect or find meaning.
Dance and movement is a powerful language and exists in all of our lives on a day-to-day basis whether it is dancing in a car to the radio, participating in a dance class or negotiating the shuffle of bodies on the bus.
If there is one piece of advice that you could give to independent dance artists, it would be…
Engage robustly in discussion not only about your practice but also about other artist practices, new ideas, different cultures, political perspectives, societal perceptions, people’s lives, and do not expect or look to agree but rather learn.