Uprising by Youth Dance Makers Initiative

May 11, 2022

Under the direction of Chelsea Byrne, 10 young individuals are guided through the creation process to self-produce an hour-long work, Uprising, as part of Youth Dance Makers Initiative

Uprising is the outcome of five days of dance making, workshops exploring the embodiment of power, somatic listening, use of symbol and gesture, text and movement, discussion and collaboration. With the notion of bringing voices to the forefront and inspiring change for the betterment of our youth, Chelsea and her team of young dance makers bring a futuristic performance to audiences.

Through their own collaborative choreography and spoken dialogue, the dancers shed light on societal issues concerning today’s youth in an intimate performance setting at The Space Dance and Arts Centre. Blending virtual reality and the physical world, these social themes are projected through video to highlight desirable changes that young people would like to see in our world. Themes include financial support, environmental awareness and physical safety—all prominent among youth and future generations to come. 

The work begins in unison and quickly varies as the dancers move to form angled shapes across the buzzing tone of the music. This initial division touches on the magnitude and effects of today’s societal concerns for our youth, emphasised through percussive ‘stamping’ and moments of stillness.

Lukas White Photography.

A phone prop is complemented by spoken individual words as a solo dancer becomes vulnerable at the force of those speaking. The selected words and reactive movement play on the idea of levels of control before the phrase ends with a sense of hope; “possibilities are endless”. The focus is shifted back to the buzzing ambience as audience members return their thoughts to the initial faults addressed. 

As the work progresses, a variety of props enhance the space, including light strips and material, all in which, carry a supporting message to the overall intention. The repeated pulling action created through movement choices hints at a torn connection between levels of power, suggesting that within the levels, there will be remaining conflict despite a common goal for change.

Lukas White Photography.

The realistic process of longing change is supported through an accumulation of the dancers’ voices in conjunction with pedestrian movement (and everyday sound). Punching within the space and shouting “HA” project a sense of anger stemming from sheer determination, and the weaving transitions between isolation and inclusion further strengthen the intention and role of power within our communities.

Simple music choices and costume changes ensure the audience holds their focus on the storytelling at hand, allowing individuals to further their interpretation of the meaning behind movement. It is evident that the youth are screaming for change to occur so that generations that succeed them will have an easier upbringing. 


Choreographer/performers: Alice Atkinson, Charli Cantoni- Bud, Isabella Davidson, Ashleigh Franks, Anna Fry, Natalie Gleeson, Ineka Leffler, Tabatha Sango, Alanah Shelley and Alyssa Willetts
Producer/ Creative Director: Chelsea Byrne
Artistic Mentors: Shelley O’Meara, Gemma Notara, Elanz Sheshgelani and Giovanna Yate Gonzalez
Sound Design: Gemma Notara
Lighting Design: Bronwyn Pringle



Chelsea is a Naarm/Melbourne based dance artist and educator obsessed with interdisciplinary collaboration, creating immersive environments and promoting active spectatorship. Her movement practice uses image based improvisation and composition techniques to create varying tones and textures. Chelsea’s primary passion is creating experiences for young people that broaden their perceptions of dance while fostering interpersonal connection and unapologetic self-expression. 

Chelsea studied dance extensively and holds a B Arts (Dance) / Education, P.Grad. Dip. in Performance Making (Choreography) and Master of Dance. Notable performance credits include Hypnagogia (Amanda Lever 2015) and Tangi Wai… The Cry of Water (Victoria Hunt, 2017) for International Festival, Dance Massive along with several screen based and live interdisciplinary works as a founding member Root Synthesis Collective. She also worked with Ausdance Victoria to coordinate community dance festival Big Dance in 2018 and advocates for dance being accessible to all by working across diverse settings.

Chelsea is a certified Keep Kids Safe In Dance teacher. 

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