Rewards for the Tribe is an ambitious collaborative dance work for performers with and without disability by Chunky Move (Melbourne) and Restless Dance Theatre (Adelaide).
Rewards for the Tribe plays off notions of idealism in art history, asking, Is there such a thing as a utopia by design? Mondrian’s 20th-century minimalist Colour Composition Series and Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man represent different moments of epiphany in art. In their own way, each represents a utopian ideal that places perfect geometry as a symbol of the divine, channelled through human creativity and intellect. But this presents an impossible archetype to measure the body against. The real world is wonky and filled with irregular non-geometric forms and bodies that are soft and fleshy.
In Rewards for the Tribe, images of so-called perfection collapse, bend and crumple in an unpredictable dance between humans and pliable objects. Choreographed and directed by Chunky Move Artistic Director Antony Hamilton, the work features whimsical set and costume elements by Jonathon Oxlade, a sound design by Aviva Endean that incorporates the unique expressive voices of the dancers, and a nostalgic and understated minimal lighting design by Jenny Hector.
Performers (Jianna Georgiou, Michael Hodyl & Charlie Wilkins from Restless and Cody Lavery & Benjamin Hancock from Chunky Move) explore the complicated relationship between humans and the material world via a stage environment that is both ambiguous and uncompromising. What is revealed as the world around the performers twist and warp, is the need for collaboration, for creativity and for the time-honoured ritual of image-making to create a meaningful reality.
Rewards for the Tribe is a meditation on acceptance. It’s about seeing the beauty in things as we find them, without trying to change them, and this is ultimately expressed through the triumphant abilities of the performers that we as an audience witness constructing beautiful forms before our eyes.
Rewards for the Tribe has been co-commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre and Coventry UK City of Culture, who will present the work in the UK in October 2022. First dreamt up in 2018, and with many COVID-19 delays to development along the way, it has been a labour of love for Chunky Move and Restless Dance Theatre to collectively carry this project to this point. The two companies’ commitment to work in these unprecedented times is a testament to the importance of representation and diversity on stage.
Concept, Direction & Choreography – Antony Hamilton
Composer – Aviva Endean
Sound Designer – Jonathon Oxlade
Lighting Designer – Jenny Hector
Performers – Jianna Georgiou, Benjamin Hancock, Michael Hodyl, Cody Lavery, Charlie Wilkins
Understudy – Zoe Gay
Creative Contributor – Chris Dyke