Over the last five weeks of Term 1, previous Tasdance company member, Australian Dance Theatre’s 2022 Associate Artist and freelance artist, Tobiah Booth-Remmers joined us on the Wharf as our Pre-Professional Year Choreographer in Residence. He worked in collaboration with our PPY 2 cohort to create their end of term showing titled, Where the World Things Are.
Tobiah was recently announced as the new Pre-Professional Year Course Coordinator at Sydney Dance Company and we’re thrilled to have him join the team!
We asked Tobiah about his experience working with the PPY 2 cohort and what the future has in store for him.
My main discoveries during the recent residency with the second year PPY students would be my creative process and the continued refinement of its ability to include the voices of the performers, as both dancers and people. I’m interested in creating work that reflects humanity and I’m always striving for a creative process that can achieve this by giving the artists space to contribute authentically to the work, and at the same time designing the piece to be readable and relatable for an audience. I think it’s a careful balancing act and undertaking these kinds of residencies always helps me to uncover more and more about that process.
This is a very interesting question, because right at the beginning of the process one of the students asked me what the work was going to be about, and I said I had an idea of the vision of the piece, but I didn’t know what it would exactly be because I didn’t know the students that well. I knew that they would be contributing a lot of the content and creative decisions, so I knew that it wouldn’t be until later in the process that we could start to really define what it is about. And fortunately, this is exactly what happened!
We spent a lot of time researching and testing ideas and images and slowly started to narrow down what would be in the performance structure. I tried to undertake this process alongside the students as much as possible, so that they would continue to have their ideas heard and contribute not just movement, but also creative decision making. The work was shaped by what they gave to it. It is very much based around them and that means the overall concept really worked, because it became a structure for their creative voices. So essentially, they decided what the work was about.
I’m really looking forward to taking over the Course Coordinator role. I think it’s an incredible course because of the variety of artists and industry professionals that the students get to learn from. Linda Gamblin, Omer Backley-Astrachan and the rest of the team have done an amazing job in building this program and keeping it aligned to the underlying philosophy of training artists who can push boundaries and become the next generation of movers and shakers.
I’ve always enjoyed being someone who can support and facilitate younger artists in their journey and I’m really hoping my experience and skills can be of use to the students in this context, especially as young freelancers who enter a pretty challenging world post-graduation. I’m also looking forward to being able to bring in my own artistic networks and work with people who I really respect as fellow makers and performers and see how that can keep challenging the students in their learning
We very excited to see you flourish Tobiah as you step into the role of PPY Course Coordinator, and we thank you for this wonderful co-creation. Want to follow Tobiah’s journey with PPY? Follow @sydneydanceco.training!