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“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Gandhi

Indefinite Dance Company’s ‘Content’ successfully blends dance with the exploration of individual happiness and how it can be brought about in times of strife.

This invitation-only presentation is a half-hour lyrical piece featuring all dancers from Indefinite Dance Company. The stage is small but still large enough to fit fourteen moving bodies. It is not a dazzling spectacular, but a pure and raw demonstration of the power dance can have on the mind. Spectators find themselves smiling at the joy of watching the dancers search for their own sense of contentment. The dancers question the authority of happiness; who is in charge of a person’s happiness and how can everyone find it and hold onto the feeling?

Performers dance to their own recordings on the soundtrack about their perception of happiness. Each dancer has something to contribute to the conversation, whether it is finding happiness in themselves before reaching out to others, abandoning the likes of social media to find a sense of contentment, or discovering a place of positivity during the adverse times. Some dancers go into detail about their personal anecdotes, such as confronting a mental illness by association or dealing with society’s warped values of what females should look like. The representation is by no means sombre; stories on the soundtrack are assisted with warm and heartfelt messages of joy relating to their own happiness. The upbeat and positive songs by One Republic, Dean Lewis, Florence and the Machine and much more, all contribute to the melody of happiness.

All dancers are of equal dancing ability, which provides everyone a chance in the spotlight. It is refreshing to see the lyrical style being manipulated to reflect the words of each personal story. There is no particular motif within the choreography, but there is a presence of fluid, circular motions and intricate transition of patterns to symbolise the spreading of happiness.

Casey Chellew, company director enjoying dancing in her piece Content. Photo: Mish Mackay Photography.

Artistic director and choreographer Casey Chellew believes her piece is easily identifiable among many people because everyone experiences happiness and a lack of it at times.

“Through the very popular performing art of dance, my piece is easily relatable but also very eye-opening. ‘Content’ confirms that everyone is entitled to happiness—that we shouldn’t take it for granted and that it is definitely worth fighting for,” she stated.

If you are a school teacher, principal, dance studio owner or a facilitator of an organisation dealing with young people and children, then Indefinite Dance Company can certainly help bring a little positivity to your environment. It is short enough and quick-paced to keep focused throughout, but also long enough to have the messaged communicated effectively. Casey also offers dance workshops and happiness workshops to help attain a positive mindset as well as gaining coordination.

Audience members are left thinking about their own happiness once the dancers exit the stage. That is what dance is designed to do— challenge the mind, spark a thought process, and inspire them on a path to a positive change. Indefinite Dance Company has succeeded on this level as well as on an emotional level, providing a semi-psychological experience through movement.

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