A Night Out!

Created by Natalie Allen in collaboration with Kynan Hughes, Rachel Ogle, Alexander Perozzi and Imanuel Dado.

Originally performed by Natalie Allen, Kynan Hughes, Rachel Ogle, Alexander Perozzi and Imanuel Dado

Music composition and compilation by Dane Yates

 A Night Out! is created by Natalie Allen in collaboration with Kynan Hughes, Rachel Ogle, Alexander Perozzi and Imanuel Dado. This 40-minute dance performance explores a range of popular dance styles throughout history while celebrating the human need for social interaction. The aim of this professional production is to bring the audience onto the dance floor to participate in a social dance post-show.

Social dances – from the formal court dances of the 15th century to the “free movement” of solo club dancing – are intended for participation and socialising rather than performance. This work engages with the audience and wider community, inspiring them to celebrate dance in its social form.

A Night Out tracks social dance across the ages, taking the audience on a journey through dance history. The work embraces a range of styles: waltz, ballet, the Charleston, Tango, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary dance and more. It features solo, duet and group sequences in a friendly and fun format. 

The project offers deep community engagement. Prior to the performance, the Artists involved run classes/workshops for young people and adults of all levels of ability and experience. During the workshop participants learn sections of the performance as well as generate their own movement material.  Workshop participants are encouraged to attend the performance and join the professional dancers on stage for the finale of the work.  The performance segues into a social dance evening – professional dancers, workshop participants and the audience all join together to dance the night away..

As part of the scoping phase of the Regional Arts Partnership Program for contemporary dance, the artists undertook a Mooring Residency with Mandurah Performing Arts Centre to further develop and refine the work.  The cast considered options for double casting the work to ensure full cast availability during touring periods (all cast are in-demand independent dance artists with busy schedules!).  During the residency consideration was given to how the community would fit into the performance. Using a strength-based model, the performance model of many vignettes, allows opportunities for the community to come in and out of the professional show according to their skill level.  Plans were made for varying workshop types and styles: with a broad range of dance experiences, the cast can deliver many styles of workshops catering for each community.

How this might work for regional touring

 Through the creation and trial of A Night Out at All Saints College, the team has crafted a performance with very flexible and easily adaptable structure that can easily meet the needs of each community.  If there are particular preferences, existing skill sets in the community, or if there are gaps that a community wants filled, the structure and content of A Night Out! can be reworked so that each community produces its own unique version of the work.

The work can facilitate solo, duo, partnering work and group movement, offering accessibility to all ages and levels, from beginners to professionals. The work also has the capacity to tell a story from the community, to explore community issues, or simply give expression to ordinary human relationships.  The underlying motivation for the work created in and with each community will be in response to community decisions.

The process

·      Identify the desired outcome – dance styles and content

·      Establish the dance styles to be focused upon and identify personnel to teach classes and lead workshops*

·      A series of training classes and workshops – “testers” – offered to all members of the community

·      Opt in or opt out of the performance project – participants in the training classes and workshops can choose whether or not they wish to continue participating in the project.  If they choose to opt out, they will still have the capacity to join the social dance at the conclusion of the community performance.  Choosing to opt in will require a commitment to ongoing training and development

·      Creative development workshops – shaping the work from ideas explored through the community classes and workshops

·      Rehearsals and production.

* Local regionally based dance artists will be offered the opportunity to lead the development of the project.  The engagement of professional dance artists that are not regionally based will depend upon local needs.  Mentors can be engaged for emerging artists, for example.  There may be opportunities for intra-community engagement of regional dance artists.

For the final performance outcome, communities will have the option of including a professional performance of the original A Night Out alongside the community performance.  Communities can also decide whether or not the performance evening continues with a social dance.

Note: Arts Learning Area Curriculum

From 2018 the new Arts Learning Area Curriculum for Pre-School to Year 10 will be rolled out in all schools.  Dance is one of the Arts Learning Areas.  One of the requirements of the curriculum is that students learn about dance through the ages and across cultures.  A Night Out! could assist teachers in delivering the dance curriculum and ensure the engagement of school communities.