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issue no. 85

from the artistic director

Hello

This is the first newsletter since we learned that our application for Four Year Funding from the Australia Council was unsuccessful.
 
To say that we are disappointed is an understatement.
 
Restless is in the strongest position that it has been in over the near 30 years of its existence. We have garnered a string of awards over the last few years, our recent productions have been critical successes, our work is in demand in Australia and internationally and yet the Australia Council, despite its avowed commitment to diversity, has chosen to defund Restless, the only organisation delivering high quality, professional work by dancers with disability.
 
We have a lifeline of reduced funding until the end of 2021 but the withdrawal of organisational funding after that could seriously undermine our viability. You can read our full statement below.
 
We have been buoyed by a wave of support flowing in to the company from around the country and around the world and we will keep working on strategies to survive this devastation and eventually to thrive.
 
And, what extraordinary times we are living through! As soon as it became apparent how serious the threats posed by the virus were, we realised we had to act decisively. Some of our dancers have compromised immune systems and we obviously had to do our utmost to protect them. We ceased all our workshop programs from 16th March, closed our studio down and our staff have all been working from home.
 
Nonetheless, we moved very quickly to explore working virtually. I am very proud of the creative responses that we were able to come up with. The members of The Company began working through Zoom almost immediately. This has been a great success! The dancers have been able to keep in contact with Restless and each other and maintain their fitness and their skills.
 
With the start of Term 2 we are restarting all our regular workshops through Zoom. During this time of lockdown it is especially important that everyone has the opportunity to keep their regular connection with Restless.

We are eternally grateful to our new partnew Bank SA Foundation, supporting Restless to continue our workshops and training program online.

Thank you.
Michelle Ryan Artistic Director
 

Restless Dancers rehearsing for Seeing Through Darkness – the next Restless production directed by Michelle Ryan. To be performed at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
L to R:  Alexis Luke, Chris Dyke, Jianna Georgiou and Michael Noble         Photography:  Shane Reid

Congratulations!

Michelle Ryan performing with Vincent Crowley in her award winning  production: Intimacy
Photographer: Rachel Bernhaut

Michelle Ryan wins 2020 Dance Award
On March 9th Michelle Ryan was awarded Australia’s top accolade for dance: the Australia Council 2020 Dance Award. Michelle attended a glittering ceremony held at the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst, Sydney where she was presented with the award by Adrian Collette AM, the CEO of the Australia Council.

Michelle was recognised for her outstanding contribution to dance over her 25 year career working as a performer, choreographer and artistic director.

Michelle gave a beautiful acceptance speech which she concluded with the words: “If I can leave you with one thing that I have learnt from my seven and a half years at Restless is that you should expect excellence and not be surprised by it” Her words are all the more apposite given the Australia Council funding cut.
 
Restless were invited to perform at the awards ceremony and Jianna Georgiou and Alexis Luke gave a brilliant duet performance to the rapt audience of dignitaries, other award winners and guests.

Watch the Video Presentation from the awards ceremony.

Watch Michelle’s Acceptance Speech and the Restless Performance

Photo Credit

 Zoom Boom at Restless
COVID-19

Restless took immediate and urgent action to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In mid March we suspended all our regular workshops and closed our studio. Restless staff have been working from home.
 
However, we know that our dancers love coming to Restless and their dancing with us can be a vital and joyful part of their existence.
 
We quickly trialled using Zoom for The Company our core group of dancers who meet twice a week for full day training. This is working exceptionally well! Our regular training staff have been able to lead the training sessions for the six dancers with wonderful results. It is fabulous that the dancers can engage like this and that they have been able to continue to extend their skills and maintain their levels of fitness.
 
This has worked so well that we have extended the Zoom virtual workshops to all of our regular once a week workshops. It has meant a lot of extra work to set everyone up for the start of Term 2 but it is worth it.
 
It is important that as a company we respond creatively to the challenges of isolation that the virus has forced upon us. In this adversity more joy can be found.
 
Martin Hoffman, CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency was interviewed on the 30 March and asked about positive responses to working online. In reply he cited Restless as one of the “best providers” for having “pivoted so quickly” to provide dance workshops via Zoom. He continued:  “And so we’ve got participants taking part, artistically expressing themselves, keeping active, keeping fit, but also engaging socially with the rest of the class, which they would previously have gone to one centre and now they are doing it via Zoom.”

It is with great pleasure we welcome our new partner 
BankSA Foundation to the Restless Dance Theatre family! 
It is with the support from the BankSA Foundation that we can continue our company training and develop new ways of connecting in meaningful ways during this time. To the BankSA staff who drive the BankSA Foundation through the generosity of payroll giving, we send a BIG heartfelt thank you to you all for seeing the value of our organisation and the role we all play in creating professional career pathways for artists with and without disability.

Photography:  Fiona Cullen

Dancer Profile
Michael Hodyl

Michael has loved to dance and sing from a very young age. He joined Restless Central at the age of 21 and in 2013 he was invited in to the Youth Ensemble (now known as Impulse.) In 2014 he performed in In the Balance directed by Michelle Ryan. In 2015 he was involved in To Look Away, a short film by Sophie Hyde in collaboration with Restless Dance Theatre and also performed in Touched by Michelle Ryan.

In 2016 Michael performed in the Restless season of In the Balance for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, directed by Michelle Ryan. In 2017 Michael joined the Restless tutor team. In the same year Michael performed in Intimate Space directed by Michelle Ryan at the Hilton Adelaide as part of the 2017 Adelaide Festival.

In 2018 Michael toured with Restless and performed Intimate Space at the Hilton Surfers Paradise as part of Bleach* at Festival 2018 within the arts and culture program of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Michael also performed in the opening segment of the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony.

In 2019 Michael performed in Zizanie, directed by acclaimed choreographer Meryl Tankard. He was also one of the founder members of The Company and has been training for 2 full days each week with Restless ever since.

In May 2019 Michael travelled to the UK with Restless for the first development of Rewards for the Tribe, directed by Antony Hamilton (a collaboration with Restless, Chunky Move – Melbourne and Candoco – UK). In October Michael Travelled to South Korea and performed in Intimate Space at the Seoul Street Arts Festival.

Michael is proud of his Polish, Chinese and Russian heritage. He is also an avid photographer and has a passion for sailing.

Photography:  Shane Reid

Seeing Through Darkness  
New work at Art Gallery of SA

 
Michelle is hard at work with the creative team in preparation for rehearsals with the core Restless dancers preparing her new work Seeing Through Darkness which will be presented by six dancers at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) in August – September (virus permitting). The work will be an immersive experience in an art gallery setting inspired by the works of French Expressionist painter Georges Rouault.
 
The creative team will include Geoff Cobham, one of Australia’s most celebrated lighting designers and the Zephyr Quartet, Australia’s leading genre-defying explorers of dynamic cross-artform music focussed collaborations.
 
AGSA have a collection of Georges Rouault works. The dancers will perform within an exhibition of these which the gallery will mount especially for Restless. The audience will enter the world of Georges Rouault through a focused hallway of his work. The hallway will be divided into two corridors, an entry and an exit. The entry will feature his stunning charcoal works and the exit will showcase Rouault’s vibrant colour saturated works.
 
Michelle writes: “There are many facets that create the human experience. Some are vibrant flashes of joy and achievement while others are the lingering remains of pain and loss. But ultimately, what do we leave behind? There is an unusual beauty to the work of Georges Rouault. The imperfect form of the body and the troubled soul of the work, resonates with how people with disability can feel and be perceived.  Some may be confronted while others may see beauty and difference.”
 

 

RESTLESS WORKSHOPS

Restless runs two Open Access workshops which are open to anyone to attend – when the current virus situation permits us to be back into the building.  At this point in time, we are unable to accept new virtual participants.  Restless run high quality workshops, once we have all the creases ironed out and space permits, we may be able to accept new virtual participants in the future.  

Isi Drummond Sweeney and Bella Kobyashi  Photography: Shane Reid
 

Central Workshops
Open to anyone aged 15-26
Restless Dance Theatre presents a series of dance workshops, for people aged 15-26 years with and without disability
 
The workshops involve creating movement in a safe and fun environment where the participants’ ideas become dance.
No experience is necessary, just the desire to take part. Workshops are open to people with and without disability and are led by highly experienced tutors in an accessible space.
When: Tuesday nights 5.30 – 7.00pm
2020:  Term 2,  28th April – 30th June
Where: Happening virtually by Zoom until we can meet again in: The Restless Studio, 195 Gilles St. Adelaide SA 5000
Cost:  $36.00 per session ($24 per hour)
NDIS Info: Restless Dance Theatre is not a registered Service Provider under the NDIS. However, self managed and plan managed NDIS participants are still able to use their NDIS funding to access our workshops. If you do not have NDIS funding please contact us for more information.
Please contact us if you would like information about the therapeutic benefits of engaging in creative activities.
For bookings and further information:
phone: Mikki Reichstein on 8212 8495 or email: mikki@restlessdance.org
Bookings are essential. NB We are not accepting new bookings until we can meet in person again.
However, your enquiries are welcome for your future planning.
 
Links Workshops
Open to people with a disability aged 8 – 14 years
Restless Dance Theatre presents Links, a dance theatre workshop for 8-14 year olds.
The workshops involve creating movement in a safe and fun environment where the participants’ ideas become dance.
No experience is necessary, just the desire to take part. Workshops are open to people with and without disability and are led by highly experienced tutors in an accessible space.
When: 12.30-1.30pm Saturdays (during school terms)
2020: Term 2, 2nd May – 4th July
Where: Happening virtually by Zoom until we can meet again in: The Restless Studio, 195 Gilles Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Cost: $30.00 per session
NDIS Info: Restless Dance Theatre is not a registered Service Provider under the NDIS. However, self managed and plan managed NDIS participants are still able to use their NDIS funding to access our workshops. If you do not have NDIS funding please contact us for more information.
Please contact us if you would like information about the therapeutic benefits of engaging in creative activities.
For bookings and further information:
phone: Mikki Reichstein on 8212 8495 or email: mikki@restlessdance.org
Bookings are essential. NB We are not accepting new bookings until we can meet in person again.
However, your enquiries are welcome for your future planning.
 

Restless to lose funding
Australia Council to cut support from 2022
Restless Dance Theatre was 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.
Restless has enjoyed stunning success since Michelle Ryan was appointed Artistic Director in 2013 and has recently won many awards and achieved great critical acclaim.
In March this year Michelle won the prestigious Australia Council Dance Award in recognition of her brilliant contribution to the dance sector over many years.
Michelle commented that: “Restless is the only dance company that provides professional career pathways for artists with disability. We strive to create bold new work that celebrates diversity on stage nationally and internationally.  I am absolutely shocked by this decision that will impact on the disability arts sector and the role that Restless plays in the arts ecology in general.”
Restless is acknowledged to be a leader in its field. The recent successes and acclamation Restless has enjoyed make it difficult for the company to comprehend why it has been removed from the pool of multi-year funded organisations by the Australia Council.
With limited State funding, the future of Restless is precarious and its survival threatened.
The Australia Council has a strong commitment to supporting diversity and Restless is the only Australian dance company providing professional work for dancers with disability. The loss of the company will decrease the diversity of the arts in Australia.

The company is in the strongest place it has ever been in its near 30 year history.” said Nick Hughes, Restless Company Manager, “Our artistic achievements and the recognition that we have received for the excellence of our work with dancers with disability have never been higher. We can only attribute this action to the chronic shortage of funding that the Australia Council has suffered in recent years.”
The Australia Council will make some reduced “transitional” funding available for 2021. Restless will receive 70% of its 2020 level of funding in 2021. Restless will now regroup, draw upon its remaining supporters and redesign its program for the future.
Restless congratulates the many successful organisations that have received four year funding. It is particularly heartening to see the number of new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations that have been supported. We also applaud the support for organisations working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and LGBTQI communities. This aspect of the Australia Council’s commitment to diversity deserves congratulation.
We also extend our collegiate commiserations to the many other organisations who were unsuccessful with their applications. The dance and theatre sectors have been hit particularly hard with these decisions. Many may not survive given the added stress of the coronavirus disruptions. We are all in this together.

Many Thanks to the following Supporters and Sponsors of Restless

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