Spark Youth Dance Company is touring their show ‘Shatter’ around the suburbs of Melbourne in mid-April after months of rehearsals coordinating an orchestra and a savvy, youthful cast.
Spark Youth Dance Company recently performed a historical account of the 1900s Suffragettes movement through contemporary dance with a cast of entirely young people. The lyrical performance is based on a true event of the British suffragette movement, focusing in on groups like the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).
Now six months later, Spark Youth Dance Company brings its premier tour of ‘Shatter’ to the outer suburbs of Melbourne, including Geelong and Narre Warren.
Spark’s artistic director Alex Dellaportas is the choreographic mind behind ‘Shatter’. Because most of the performers are as young as eight and no older than 25, Alex decided to marry dance with historical education. That was when she came up with this 90-minute piece to salute the female rioters and to also shatter ageist expectations of what youth can and cannot perform. Working in harmony with the current world movement to close the gender gap #TimesUp, Alex’s contemporary work could not be more relevant.
“I loved the feminist element to the story when we first choreographed ‘Shatter’ and now I am loving that most of our cast would be able to stand up and give a 30-minute presentation on who the Suffragettes were and what they did. Education through dance is something we are very proud of with this work!” said director and choreographer Alex Dellaportas.
The show’s choreography has been tweaked with fresh transitions while cast members are working to invest themselves into the character using acting techniques. Director Alex said it has been an emotional and vibrant roller coaster.
“Looking at Shatter again in preparation for our tour has allowed me to step back and really make connections between the story and my own life,” Alex said.
Being on tour is a company first for Spark. Alex felt, ‘Shatter’ was the perfect entry show to break boundaries. Yet like all shows, the ride to re-staging a dance piece with a full orchestra and a youthful cast has not been easy.
“We’ve been working round the clock this term to make it happen and with two seasons within two weeks of each other it has been challenging to say the least!” she said.
“I just can’t wait for that moment when the curtain rises and our young cast hold their breath side stage as the orchestra plays their first notes. That moment right there is why I do what I do,” added Alex.
The show follows the character Rosie, who is desperately trying to get past her fears and leave an old version of herself behind. Society pushes against her when she abandons her family to become a Suffragette.
“There is this one scene at the end of act one that relates to all of us when we’ve had to make a decision to leave something or someone behind holding us back. That decision to finally trust ourselves and believe in our own voice…represents being brave enough to quiet the two warring sides of yourself and go all in on who you really are in your heart,” Alex smiled.
If you are a history buff, or a believer in equal rights, a ‘muso’ or even just a fan of contemporary dance, then this is the show for you!
Purchase your tickets here.
Wednesday April 11th Bunjil Place, Narre Warren
Saturday April 14th Geelong Performing Arts Centre