This essay on the life of dancer Jane Avril touches on the history of the asylum and the treatment of neurological disorders in the late C19th.

Download article HERE: CSIRO-L’OPTIMISME

Jane Avril was incarcerated in Saltpetriere asylum as a teenager because of a movement disorder that she later claimed was ‘cured by dancing’. She became one of the favoured dancers at the Moulin Rouge, and a good friend, supporter and muse to Toulouse-Lautrec. Her physical oddness was celebrated by poets and artists of the period. Toulouse-Lautrec’s depictions were of a woman whose dance was irregular and a little uncontrolled.  This essay touches on the way both art and science can understand and document—perhaps even heal—the human condition, but via very different means.

L’Optimisme was a performance-presentation for DANscienCE Week, CSIRO Discovery Lecture Theatre, August 10, 2013. Its first version was a cabaret-biography, created for the National Gallery of Australia ‘City of Lights’ Promenade, March 2013.



Sharing country. Quantum Leap, Hit the Floor Together
Canberra 100 – Online e-dition August 28, 2013
RT 116, online August 28 2013

Asleep but awake and dancing
QL2 dance theatre, noplace
RT 110 Aug-Sept 2012

Many abled bodies: QL2, Canberra: Select Options.
RT 93 Oct-Nov 2009

Art moves: Quantum Leap’s Exhibitionism. NGA, Canberra, Sept 26-28
RT 88 Dec-Jan 2008

Performance alchemies
Igneous, Mirage, Suzon Fuks, James Cunningham Australian Choreographic Centre, Canberra, Nov 16-18, 2006
RT 77 Feb-March 2007

Two for one: Excavate: A two-man dig. David Corbet, Jacob Lehrer, Australian Choreographic Centre, Canberra, May 16-20
RT 74 Aug-Sept 2006

Between violence and the inviolable: Wendy Morrow, Leigh Hobba, Blue (excerpt)
RT 62 Aug-Sept 2004

Recording ecstasy. Dances of Ecstasy [film] Michelle Mahrer, Nicole Ma, Dances of Ecstasy; 58 minutes.
RT 58 Dec-Jan 2003

Unsettling realities: Clare Dyson, Constructed Realities
RT 53 Feb-March 2003

Night moves. Wendy Morrow: Sleep. Canberra School of Art Gallery, Sept 19-21
RT 52 Dec-Jan 2002

Ada: Struggles at the dance-technology interface
Choreographic Centre Canberra September 25-28, October 2-5
RT 52 Dec-Jan 2002

Improvisation & the thickening of time
Precipice, Australian Choreographic Centre, Sept 2002
RT 51 Oct-Nov 2002

Trouble with destinations
Dance Works, North Melbourne Arts House, May 4-6, 9-13
RT 37 June-July 2000

Stored roots, stacked histories: travels from Monk to Dumas.
RT 30 April-May 1999

Shakespeare’s pillowslips
Heavy, Wendy Morrow, Athenaeum II, Melbourne, November 7 – 15
Dec-Jan 1998

Praise the lord, recent dance events in Melbourne.
Sandra Parker, Shelley Lasica, Rebecca Hilton, Phillip Adams, Lucy Guerin. Dance Lumiere, Bodyworks 97, Dancehouse; Lines of Flight, Deakin University; Theatreworks.
RT 23 Feb-March 1998

Physical diffusions, Exploring themes of the double.
Gary Rowe Company (UK). Dancehouse, Carlton, February 5.
April-May 1998

RealTime @ MAP
A question of visions: Mixed Metaphor Week One,
Dancehouse, North Carlton, June 25 – 28
RT 27 Oct-Nov 1998

RealTime @ MAP
Tests of the time: Mixed Metaphor Week Two,
Dancehouse, North Carlton, July 2 – 5
RT 27 Oct-Nov 1998

Another mapping
Thresholds, Dance Compass, Theatreworks, August 6 – 9
RT 27 Oct-Nov 1998