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Dancing Into the Age of Unknown

What does it mean to age? This is a question that’s usually pondered for years by dancers before they reach the visible signs of ageing. 

By Jenna Hoare

For Tracks Dance Artistic Director David McMicken this very idea is at the centre of his latest project collaboration – Generating Divergence: Ageing into the Unknown. 

“The field of dance and the ageing body appears to be quite new in this country, but it is something that a few people have been working on for many years," he says.

"We’ve been working with [dance group] The Grey Panthers, over 60’s, for over 35 years. Dealing with the idea of dance and aging.” 

McMicken says being able to continue to expressively dance and create throughout his whole life and involving those who have later years of experience is something that’s of great interest to him.

“We do a lot of work in Indigenous communities, and we do a lot of work with Southeast Asian communities and their idea of elders is quite established and quite profound in the way it’s treated. Through Tracks we’ve been focusing on that as being a pinnacle for arts [recognising] that our elders across the board have got lifetimes of experience in their bodies.” 

The first development of this exciting project involves five well-established dancers including Helen Herbertson, the 2022 recipient of Australia Council’s Award for Dance who joins Tracks as a guest collaborator and provocateur. Other dancers involved, who have all made significant contributions to dance are Rachael Wallis, Putu Desak Wati and Maari Gray. 

“These professional dancers will meet on a retreat in Batchelor to explore the topics of dance and the ageing body. This is about starting the social conversation that applies not only to dancers, but sporting athletes and other athletic professions too,” McMicken says.

Jump online for a free interactive Q&A livestream this month, open to anyone interested in learning and engaging in the conversation of dance and the ageing body. 

Generating Divergence: Ageing into the Unknown
WHEN THU 19 OCT | 4-5.30PM

Photos: Duane Preston

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