Take A Dance With Nerida Matthaei
One of the most important functions of the arts is to help have society have those tough conversations – and to do it with style. If beautiful movement and societal commentary sound like a fun night out to you, then you should know about angel-monster; the newest dance installation from Phluxus2 Dance Collective. We sat down with artistic director Nerida Matthaei to find out more.
The Creative Issue: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Nerida Matthaei: I’ve danced from a really young age – I grew up in Canberra and there were a lot of opportunities in the youth dancing scene with places like the Australian Choreography Centre and Quantum Leap, and I got a really unique opportunity to develop my own craft. I moved to Brisbane around 16 years ago – actually probably more then that, I always forget the exact number. I graduated from QUT and, I’ve actually just completed a doctorate – now I’m Dr Dance!
TCI: What is Phluxus2 Dance Collective?
NM: Phluxus2 Dance started out in my undergraduate degree with me and a few other artists – it was basically just a way to make independent work collaboratively. We stayed together in that form for about three years, and then I took over in more of an Artistic Director way, and we started to grow things a little, and then these days we have over sixty members. These days there is definitely an element of developing my personal work, which is important to me, but also helping people develop there own craft.
TCI: Can you tell us a bit about your latest project, angel-monster?
NM: angel-monster is a dance installation piece that started off as a bit of a challenge to myself and my own process. I’ve always been interested in creating work that incorporates contemporary issues, and at the time in 2015 there was a lot of public discourse about feminism and social movements. As I brought more artists into the project it became kind of a collage of related things that we find important, whether that be our own experiences or stories that we wanted to tell.
TCI: How do you think that dance conveys an important perspective in the public debate surrounding gender equality?
NM: I think any for of arts can help address those hard conversations, and that the form of arts I really about what you can bring to the conversation; angel-monster is a dance piece because I’m a dancer, and that was the best way I could address the issue. But I also think that all different forms of art are important in addressing societal issues.
TCI: What is the process for creating something like angel-monster?
NM: There is no real uniform process, largely because of the unpredictable nature of resources and funding. The original form of angel-monster started all the way back in 2015 as a personal project, and is only now coming to fruition in 2019.
TCI: What kind of audience is this work geared towards? Who do you want to hear you the most?
NM: I think this kind of story is something that everyone should be exposed to. We have put an age limit on it, and that’s because some of the content is a little confronting, and real. The stories that we portray are real instances in peoples lives, often instances that affected them profoundly. I think this work will speak to any women that has every felt different or been treated differently, but it’s also really important for men as well.
TCI: What’s the significance of the title?
NM: In creating the work we played with juxtaposition a lot, and clashing standards in society. There’s this angelic perception of women that is often promoted to the young, and a lot of us grew up with this ideal of the Disney Princess as the perfect feminine example; we’re exploring whether rebelling against, or calling out toxic behaviour makes women be perceived as monstrous.
TCI: Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked you about?
NM: Well we hit the road shortly, and we’re doing it old school! Packing into a big van like a touring van, travelling down the east coast, teaching workshops, doing shows, and interacting with communities. I’m just excited to have this work out in the public eye, to perform, and to encourage a dialogue.
Make sure you catch the show at Supercell Dance Festival in early April, with tickets available on their website. You can follow Nerida’s work with Phluxus2 Dance here.
What: angel-monster @Supercell Dance Festival
Where: Turbine Studio, Brisbane Powerhouse
When: Friday 5 & Saturday 6 April 2019 | 9.30pm
How Much: $30
Website: link to website
More Info: 15+ event