When the COVID lockdown hit in South Australia, Restless Dance Theatre suspended all its regular workshops and closed its centre from Monday 23rd March.
Along with our colleagues in the Arts Sector around Australia and the world, Restless took urgent action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We recognise the need for everyone to contribute to the efforts to flatten the curve of the spread of this novel coronavirus by practicing social distancing and self-isolation.
We therefore closed our centre at 195 Gilles Street in Adelaide and the Restless staff for a time, as far as possible, worked from home and there were no regular workshops and no external hirers using the building.
Restless has now been able to resume its regular workshop sessions in the Meeting Room at the rear of our centre. We are reserving the use of the Studio for The Company dancers, our core group of dancers who meet twice a week for full day training. We ran a separate secure bubble for them in the Studio as they rehearsed Seeing Through Darkness and continued with their regular training.
During the lockdown, we recognised that our dancers love coming to Restless and their dancing with us can be a vital and joyful part of their existence. It was important that as a company we responded creatively to the challenges of isolation that the virus forced upon us. In this adversity more joy could be found.
We used video conferencing to conduct classes with dancers in their own homes. We started working this way with The Company dancers and this worked exceptionally well! Our regular training staff were able to lead training sessions for the six dancers with great hilarity and wonderful results. It is fabulous that the dancers were able to engage like this and that they were able to continue to extend their skills and maintain their levels of fitness.
Seeing Through Darkness is an exciting new work directed by Michelle Ryan. The work was an immersive experience in the Art Gallery of South Australia inspired by the works of French expressionist Georges Rouault for an exclusive season from Friday 4 September until Friday 2 October.
The creative team included: Geoff Cobham, one of Australia’s most celebrated lighting designers, Meg Wilson who also designed Restless’ award winning production Intimate Space and musicians Hilary Kleinig and Emily Tulloch, both previously part of the Zephyr Quartet.
Seeing Through Darkness is a physical response to the works of the painter. The Company’s six dancers performed in the Gallery alongside the works of George Rouault, with the artist’s influential monochromatic portrayals of humanity brought to life through lighting, shadow and movement.
Restless Dance Theatre is devastated to learn that the company’s application for multi-year funding (2021-24) was unsuccessful. This is bitter news indeed that will clip the wings of Restless as Australia’s leading company working with dancers with and without disability.
Michelle Ryan has won the prestigious Australia Council Dance Award for 2020.
On Monday 9th March Michelle attended a glittering award ceremony at the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst, Sydney.