New Breed

Cass Mortimer Eipper: New Breed Choreographer Spotlight

20 November 2017

Cass Mortimer Eipper and Nelson Earl have teamed up to create one piece for New Breed 2017. Here Cass provides an insight into his process and what we might expect from the audience.

How would you describe the music for your piece?
It is a dark and intense electronic composition. Marco Cher-Gibard’s remarkable talent has enabled us to embrace a blend of thriller, horror and SciFi.

What was your inspiration?
We began by exploring the concept of mental incarceration, the traps and chains we create for ourselves. Locked within ourselves, we can never objectively experience the world as we would want. We are forced to view it through lenses of perception unique to each of us. The more we created material around this theme, the more we found an affinity with Sylvia Plath’s character, Esther Greenwood, who describes her mental state as a vacuumous Bell Jar. Trapped in her own musings, she is at odds with all that surrounds her. Reflecting this, our piece becomes a dystopian collage. Dancing with our demons, we can’t help but remain caught in the revolving doorway between us and the outside world.

Do you normally work with dancers? Tell us more about your experience.
I have previously choreographed on other dancers and also on myself. I prefer to work with others as this tends to enable me to have greater objectivity. It allows me to attend to many variables simultaneously. That said, creating for and on myself also has its benefits. These include challenging myself to explore things I have always wanted to investigate and represent, but haven’t had the opportunity to pursue as a performer.

What has been your career highlight so far?
There have been a few formative milestones along the way, but winning the 2015 Helpmann Award for Quintett would have to rank pretty highly.

What can audiences expect from your piece?
This is probably the most difficult question of all. When you are absorbed in devising a work, especially one as intimate as this, it is difficult to get a clear picture of the different ways others might experience what you have created. The adjectives that come to mind are dark, intense and psychologically scarifying.

How would you describe your choreographic style?
My choreographic style has changed a lot over the last 10 years. Considering that evolution, it is quite difficult to articulate what my style is now. I have constantly pursued the sweet spot between the coordinated and the awkward. I am attentive to nuance and believe that context is everything. We always experience movement relationally. How we juxtapose and amplify movement completely changes how it can be viewed and made to speak to us — both as performers and as members of an audience.

What do you love most about contemporary dance?
The malleability of boundaries and the interplay between freedom and discipline. Contemporary dance can almost be anything you want it to be. There is no wrong or right. As a medium, this fits very well with my personality. My natural way of thinking tends to be fairly non-linear. To be able to practice an art form that answers to my own anarchy is extremely satisfying.

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