"Congratulations to Julea Boswell and Propeller Dance for an incredible performance of visual art and inclusive dance at labO Theatre ...we were blown away by the dancers, the music, the choreography and Julea’s energetic and motivational paintings."
"An inspiring evening - not just a new realm of inclusiveness but a reminder of the power of music and movement. ...Thank you for an inspiring evening and a new experience of inclusiveness."
"The whole thing came together for me, as I watched the show last night: the paintings, full size, hanging at eye level from the raked seats, as the shadows of the dancers moved over them, was perfect."
"The backstage passages were darkly outré and suited to the venue - that handsome man roaring around in his wheelchair, wow!"
"The music for the finale fit well... and I heard the strains of Moonlight in Vermont moving around the guy in the long red gloves, like woodsmoke in the air."
"It was wonderful! Heartfelt congratulations!"
"Thanks, Julea, I was grateful to be there."
Thank you to those who came out to see This is Happening. As you can tell by the comments and photo above, I was extremely privileged to be a part of this undeniably moving and barrier-breaking artistic experience, and there is a lot to tell you about it.
The show was described as "An exclusive glimpse for small audience groups backstage. Interspersed are solo and duet works, and one ensemble piece, all under the colourful banners of striking visual art by Julea Boswell.".
For Propeller, it was their first-ever National Arts Centre Co-Production and international collaboration with Stopgap Dance Company (UK). Propeller never ceases to amaze me with what they accomplish!
Big thanks to Artistic Co-director, Renata Soutter and Artistic Lead, Elizabeth Winkelaar for inviting me onstage to tell the audience about the paintings and the special connection they have to Propeller. I was touched when Elizabeth Winkelaar (show host), spoke about the dancers being inspired and seeing themselves in the paintings when they looked up at them as they danced.
I used my borrowed painting prop — a wheelchair rim used by Propeller in their Flesh and Spokes choreography — to explain the circular shapes in the work. I also spoke about how the paintings are composite expressions distilled from over 100 improvisational sketches painted in rehearsals and performances with Propeller Dance, plus separately with Atlantic String Machine, how titles came from collaborators' inputs, and how the colour spectrum represents the diversity of the artists involved.
Special thanks to multi-talented artist Aaron Daniels Casey for stepping in to direct the installation of the paintings for me.