Gideon Obarzanek is a director, choreographer and performing arts curator. He was Artistic Associate with the Melbourne Festival, 2015-17, co-curator for XO State at the inaugural Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA) 2015-17, and is currently Chair of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Gideon founded dance company Chunky Move in 1995 and was CEO and Artistic Director until 2012. His works for Chunky Move have been diverse in form and content including stage productions, installations, site-specific works, participatory events and film. These have been performed in many festivals and theatres around the world including Edinburgh International, BAM Next Wave NY, Venice Dance Biennale, Southbank London and all major Australian performing arts festivals.
In 2013 Gideon was a resident artist at the Sydney Theatre Company where he wrote and directed his first play ‘I Want to Dance Better at Parties’. He later co-wrote and directed a documentary screen version with Mathew Bate winning the 2014 Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award.
In 2014, Gideon choreographed a new work for Sydney Dance Company’s Interplay. Created in collaboration with actor/writer/dramaturg David Woods, L’Chaim! (‘to life!’ in Hebrew and Yiddish) is a playful and epic piece showcasing Gideon’s genius for choreographing movement on a grand scale.
Recent creations include There’s Definitely a Prince Involved for the Australian Ballet, L’Chaim for the Sydney Dance Company and ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ the first Virtual Reality film commissioned by the Australian Centre of Moving Image.
In 2017 Gideon co-created Attractor with fellow choreographer Lucy Guerin, commissioned by Dancenorth Australia and co-produced by Asia TOPA, WOMADelaide and Brisbane Festival. He stage-directed Bangsokol – A requiem for Cambodia which premiered at the 2017 Melbourne Festival and later at BAM Next Wave Festival, New York. In 2018 Gideon directed, One Infinity, a collaboration between Chinese music ensemble, Jun Tian Fang, musician Genevieve Lacey, Beijing Dance Theatre & Dancenorth Australia for Melbourne, Sydney and Perth festivals.
He is a recipient of an Australian Creative Fellowship working with theatre, dance and documentary filmmakers to develop projects with simultaneous live and broadcast outcomes.
Awards include ‘Best Short Documentary’ for Dance Like Your Old Man at the 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival, 2008 Flickerfest International Film Festival and the 2008 Cinedans Film Festival in Amsterdam. In collaboration with Lucy Guerin and Michael Kantor, Gideon has also received a New York Bessie award for outstanding choreography and creation for Chunky Move’s production of Tense Dave. In 2008 he received two Australian Helpmann Awards for Glow and Mortal Engine.