As Artistic Director of WA’s flagship contemporary dance company Co3 Australia, Raewyn Hill takes on the responsibility of creating change. Through education, training, choreography, performance, working with youth and development programs with remote communities, Raewyn’s leadership is aimed at making the world a better place.
Raewyn was appointed the founding Artistic Director of Co3 at its commencement in 2014, and since then has headed a main company of professional dancers, a training squad as well as a youth ensemble. The multiple arms of the company is a the root of her passion. “I love that [in my work] I have the opportunity to nurture young artists and create opportunities for their development,” she starts. “I love that I have the opportunity to create a variety of programs that connect into our community and industry in a way that is meaningful. I love the responsibility that a leadership role brings, and believe that within that role you have the responsibility make significant change in your industry.”
Raewyn Hill, photo by Naomi Lee.
Her career in dance has seen Raewyn take up positions in Paris, New York, China and Moscow, as well as here in Australia, and her work has been performed at festivals from New Zealand to Russia, from Hong Kong to the USA. Her movement across the globe reflects dance as a universal language that “traverses culture and geographic location.” Similarly, the close knit dance community throughout the world is interconnected and supported to the extent that Raewyn feels globally connected through her work. “Our industry is small, you don’t have a sense of isolation within it despite geographical distance,” she explains.
With Co3, Raewyn is involved with City of Perth Fitness Fridays, in which dancers from the company lead a 50 minute beginner ballet class at King Street Arts Centre during Friday lunchtimes. It is free to attend, and the class involves a holistic approach to wellbeing. Through programs like these, Raewyn is an advocate for using dance to maintain and improve both physical and mental health.
In conjunction with Act-Belong-Commit, Co3 present school holiday creative intensive courses aimed at stimulating the imagination, boosting confidence as well as developing performance skills. Act-Belong-Commit Co:Dance is another way Raewyn affects change through dance.
Education and young people are our future and so I take that part of my role seriously. I am constantly asking myself what changes I can make to my industry in terms of how we treat, nurture and grow people. I see immense opportunity in the area of implementing new working methodologies, to create an environment where dancers are respected and working conditions promote growth and respect for our young artists. I really believe that happier people contribute more.
Co3’s first production for 2018, Frank Enstein, opens at the State Theatre Centre of WA next week, running from 11-15 April. It’s a retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic tale presented through dance-theatre in a work that is aimed to both children (8+) and adults alike. It promises to be a sensational mix of physical theatre and magic, all set to a contemporary soundtrack.
Frank Enstein is co-presented by The Farm, a Gold Coast based collective of dance and theatre makers choosing to focus on performances that reflect the strength and fragility of the human condition. And what better story to do so with than that of Frankenstein? Shelley’s novel about a lonely doctor animating bodies through his precise surgeries powered by an electrical storm questions who the real monster is: the creator or the created?
For Raewyn, Frank Enstein captures a story that we can all relate to. “The struggle to fit in, to find a place, to find worth… it’s a work that speaks to all of us. We sometimes need that reminder to be a little less judgmental, and a little more accepting of ourselves and those around us.” She promises a mesmerising balance between humour and contemplation told through the voices of young people.