Following a week of interviews in Sydney and Melbourne, 10 young Australian creatives have been chosen to be in the running to win one of three Realise Your Dream awards - $10,000 and a trip to the UK, where they will meet, work with and learn from their professional heroes.
Three panels of judges, featuring leading academics, arts managers and practitioners, were given the tremendously difficult task of choosing the 10 from over 650 applications, representing a huge range of art forms. Applications came from all over Australia this year, most markedly from Queensland, from which two of the finalists hail.
British Council Australia says, "Realise Your Dream gives us an incredible snapshot of both the Australian creative industries and the potential partnership opportunities in the UK. The sheer talent, motivation and breadth of this year's finalists means the biggest hurdle we face is whittling down exactly which opportunities to support. Frankly, I pity the judges - it's an almost impossible task this year!"
The 2012 Realise Your Dream finalists are:
Jolie Herzberg (festival director and artistic producer, QLD)
Saskia Moore (producer and artist, VIC)
Kate Just (visual artist, VIC)
Frankie Snowdon (dancer and choreographer, VIC)
Phong Chi Lai (shoe maker, VIC)
Emma Swift (radio announcer and producer, NSW)
Sukhdeep Boghal (rapper and educator, NSW)
Et Al (photojournalism collective, QLD)
Sam Hodge (photographer, NSW)
Elmo Keep (writer and broadcaster, VIC)
The top 10 will travel to Sydney to participate in a knock-out round of interviews, and to attend the 10th Anniversary Realise Your Dream awards ceremony at the newly refurbished Museum of Contemporary Art on 22 August, where the three winners of the programme will be announced. Realise Your Dream is a British Council initiative, in association with Virgin Atlantic, BBC Knowledge, triple j, NIX Co, Boccalatte and Show Group.
For more interviews see:
Jolie Herzberg Interview: www.girl.com.au/jodie-herzberg-2012-realise-your-dream-interview
Kate Just interview: www.girl.com.au/kate-just-2012-realise-your-dream-interview
Emma Swift interview: www.girl.com.au/emma-swift-2012-realise-your-dream-interview
Frankie Snowdon grew up and began dancing in Alice Springs before relocating to Melbourne to study dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, graduating in 2008. Performance credits include Stompin's Home (Melbourne, 2007) and Reverb, Brooke Stamp and Martin Del Amo (Melbourne Fringe 2009). Throughout 2011 and 2012, Frankie worked as a dancer for Melbourne Company Chunky Move in works Assembly (Gideon Obarzanek - Melbourne International Arts Festival, Sydney Festival) and It Sounds Silly (Adam Wheeler). Frankie has also choreographed for and performed in With the Lot, curated by Kyle Kremerskothen (Lucy Guerin Inc. 2009) Private Parking for Private Dances (Next Wave Festival 2010), Something Blew Stage 1 and Something Blew (2ndToe Dance Collective, 2009/2010) and Celebration for Pieces for Small Spaces (Lucy Guerin Inc. 2010). Frankie is a founding member and Artistic Director of 2ndToe Dance Collective, as well as having a large involvement in teaching and the development of youth dance in Melbourne, and maintaining a strong presence in the professional dance arena as a performer and collaborator.
Question: Why did you decide to enter the 2012 Realise Your Dream competition?
Frankie Snowdon: I previously hadn't conducted a lot of research in regards to what was happening in the UK. However at the start of 2011 I travelled to the UK and did a lot of dance workshops and I realised that a couple of the companies, that I really admire, are based in the UK. When Realise Your Dream came around for 2012 I knew it was a good idea to give it a go as I'd shifted into the role of Artistic Director at 2ndToe Dance Collective and I needed to acquire some more skills, for that.
I decide to enter because of a combination of wanting to boost my own creative practice and get further training in styles of dance that I feel I align with. I also want to go and spend time with organisations that run great programs for emerging dance artists and get information on how they do that in the UK because there is a gap in that demographic in Australia.
Question: What do you hope to achieve in the UK?
Frankie Snowdon: I want to spend a bit of time with the Hofesh Shechter Company and be in the studio, when they're in creative development to watch their process and how Hofesh Shechter works with his dancers. I am really interested in their movement style and the amount of time that they put into creating their very signature technique and style of dance. I have participated in their workshops, over the years and it's one of the few companies that I want to dance like. As an independent artist you often cultivate what you do best and the Hofesh Shechter Company is one of the experiences that has really spoken to me as a dancer.
While I'm there I'd also like to develop solo work that I began a few years ago with the intention of bringing that back to Australia and reworking it on the collective. I want to spend time at an organisation called The Place who does a number of different things for contemporary dancers within London including full time course, festivals and choreographic award schemes. The Place provides a lot of support for dancers and I want to look at their model and see if we can do something similar, here.
I would like to go in and see DV8 which is run by a prolific Australian choreographer Lloyd Newson who has been working in the UK for twenty years making brilliant dance work.
I'd also like to link in with as many independent dance artists in the UK to see what they're up to, how they survive and what work they are doing.
Question: How would you sum up your creative life, in a short paragraph?
Frankie Snowdon: Wow! Dancing and choreography is something I've done from a very young age as creativity was a large part of my upbringing and when I was exposed to contemporary dance at 14 I knew it was what I wanted to do and since then I've done everything that I possibly can to get to where I am now.
Question: And that included making a move to Melbourne?
Frankie Snowdon: Yes! That includes making the move to Melbourne, going through the VCA (Victorian College of the Art), starting up an independent dance practice, working with companies here in Melbourne and travelling looking for opportunities to expand my pallet of creativity.
Moving to Melbourne was a big move; I left home when I was 18 and left the comfort of the small town, Alice Springs, and headed to the big city!
Question: What inspired you to become a choreographer?
Frankie Snowdon: I danced from a very young age and it always appealed to me even though, as a young person, I also did music and sports including gymnastics. Dancing was the one thing that I felt compelled me to keep working for it and it was the best outlet for my creativity. As I went through the VCA we began to study choreography and I realised one of the things that threw me to contemporary dance, in the first place, is that it is whatever you want it to be and it's a broad outlet for creativity. Contemporary dance appealed to me because I knew I didn't have any boundaries and I could use my movement practice, technical ability and creative brain to do a wide range of dance.
Choreographically it came from the need to find a creative outlet for when you want to say something but also as a means to continue to working independently after leaving University because to survive as a dance artist you don't have a lot of options. You either get picked up by a company and work as a dancer, for other people or you can move into independent practice where you facilitate your own projects and use your own creative practice to put on your own work and that has always appealed to me rather than stopping dancing because there was no work.
I and my collective of dancers all banded together after graduating and decided to continue perusing it and since then, we have.
Question: What do you enjoy most about your career?
Frankie Snowdon: I get to dance, every day which is awesome. Every time I get down or it becomes laborious I remember that I get to dance, every day for a living and not many people have that opportunity or the support to follow a dream that is not necessarily achievable. The fact that I get to do what I love every day and have a creative team of people surrounding me in the dance community of Melbourne and Australia is really inspiring and has afforded me the opportunity to meet creative people from so many different genres, backgrounds and mediums which is an awesome way to feed my creativity.
Question: What inspired 2ndToe Dance Collective?
Frankie Snowdon: I am part of the dance collective titled 2ndToe Dance Collective and we have been operating together for six years. 2ndToe Dance Collective was the brainchild of the now producer, Adam Wheeler.
2ndToe Dance Collective was the product of the search to make something out of all the amazing people that are around. We have a strong basis in teaching and we wanted to hand that down by working with young people and conducting projects with High School students, graduates and people studying dance. We wanted to bridge the gap between being a professional dancer and being someone who is interested in dance as a young person. Handing down, what we know, as emerging professionals is a big part of what we do.
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Frankie Snowdon: It can be anything! It depends if we're in creative development or working on a show. If we're working on a show we're in the studio from 10am - 6pm but as an independently collective we have to facilitate a lot of the parts of our work that would normally be done by other people in a company. Today I am costume sourcing for a show and then writing applications to the Australian Council and liaising with people there regarding a new application. Whilst researching a new project my days involve a lot more emails and phone calls than I ever thought I'd have to do as a dancer.
As an independent dance artist a large part of my day is writing about dance rather than dancing because of the constant pull between sustaining a physical practice and trying to get legs on your project from adequate support to be in the studio. It's an ever changing process and if I was a creature of routine I would find it quiet challenging (luckily I'm not)!
Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Frankie Snowdon: I would really like to continue the work I am doing with 2ndToe Dance Collective and build it up to be a sustainable company in its own right which is a big push, for me in order to keep the group of dancers that I have worked with for the last two years, together. I want to continue to make really awesome work.
I'd also like to do a few more things with the young professional demographic of dancers in Melbourne such as facilitating an emerging choreographic festival or finding more opportunities for funding in that area.
There are actually a lot of things that I want to do, including learning how to play the drums (laughs).
Interview by Brooke Hunter