New Breed Choreographer Spotlight: Josh Mu


14 November 2019


Pedro Grieg

Australian-based independent contemporary dancer Josh Mu discovered dance via breakdance and hip-hop culture. Throughout his career he’s mastered contemporary dance, ballet, circus, gymnastics, yoga and physical theatre. We sat down with Josh to discuss ZERO, his brand new work debuting as part of New Breed.

Book your tickets now for New Breed, part of Sydney Dance Company's 50th Anniversary, from 28 November to 7 December in Sydney.
Q. What is the inspiration behind your work for New Breed?

Initially I was fascinated about the hypotheses on what the future may hold for us all. If this interests you perhaps read the book Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s incredibly interesting! I soon realised I gravitated towards dystopian possibilities and it brought up thoughts for me on the challenges for existence and my own feelings of anxiety towards the notion of death. ZERO hopes to display this sense of impermanence as a beautifully fragile and ever-evolving kaleidoscopic state.

Q. How would you describe your choreographic style?

I’ve been very privileged throughout my career to have worked for a wide variety of major dance and theatre companies across Australia. I’m sure there are a multitude of influences both in process and outcome that I have acquired and evolved to make my own.

My choreographic style is generally diverse in movement qualities and style as I believe anything is possible and up for grabs in the creative process. Rhythmically I believe there is something there which has been informed from my dance beginnings as a breakdancer and hip-hop dancer. There is a sense of athleticism I also take from my early days as a dancer which I combine with the smoother sequential techniques of contemporary dance.

It always feels strange to attempt to identify my choreographic style as I feel this can play as a restriction on the creative process. However I cannot deny I am most definitely a Frankenstein of my diverse dance history.

Q. Does the music play a big role in your creative process?

Most certainly! It is incredibly pivotal for me to have as many of the mediums from the very beginning of the creation period as possible. Not only music but visuals, lighting and costume. To be fluid with one another and inspire one another during the creation, encouraging this strong interconnectedness can evolve works from shows to amazing live performance worlds.

Q. What can audiences expect from your work?

A complex constellation of movement qualities and textures on an energetic crash course. There are dramaturgical fragments however no narrative arc to uncover – it is an experience of feelings and atmospheres of mind.

Q. What has been your career highlight so far?

Performing all over the world is certainly amazing and unforgettable. However, to have the honour to create a work on Sydney Dance Company dancers takes the cake for me.

Q. What are you currently listening to and which books are on your bedside table?

The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield and Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss.

Q. Who/what are your influencers?

In Australia, Byron Perry and Antony Hamilton inspired me a lot in my formative years. However, I must admit, every single dance experience I have had has shaped me in one way or another. Overseas, DV8 would be at the top of my list.

Another large portion of my influence comes from my upbringing in to dance. I was a Darwin born wannabe breakdancer with no teachers and no YouTube to learn from. Most the time was spent with a few friends creating our own set of unique athletic movements we would call our own. Spinning and flipping on a piece of lino or cardboard on the backyard grass, working it out as we go, powered by our own insatiable curiosity for movement. Saturday morning RAGE music television helped a bit.

Experience Josh Mu's ZERO as part of New Breed from 28 November to 7 December in Sydney.
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