#7 Metro Arts
We acknowledge the custodians of the land on which we are gathering and dancing on, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay our deep respects to their elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the fact that dance has been practiced by their ancestors for tens of thousands of years on this country and how powerful that is.
We also acknowledge the rich and complex dance lineages represented in this program. We pay respects to their creators and ancestors as well as to our artists who keep these movement languages and stories alive in their bodies.
All tonights artists are active members of the incredible and thriving Meanjin and Yugambeh dance community. Follow them, take class with them, go and see their work!
Click on the below images to link to their instagram accounts or websites.
Yenenesh Nigusse is a passionate African dance artists and performer with over 20 years of dance experience. Yenenesh has endeared herself to thousands of people throughout Australia, and continues to develop a distinct and authentic community practice, informed by her own experiences and love of moving. She is a vibrant facilitator who uses the power of dance to bridge gaps across languages, cultures and socio-demographic groups.
Kayah Guenther is a regional New South Wales based artist whose practice crosses dance film and theatre. In 2016 his film “The Battle” with Gavin Webber and HW Collective premiered world wide , Kayah co-choreographed “The Crossing” with Gavin Webber, which he has since co-performed with Webber in Australia, Chile, Malaysia and Hong Kong. He has also worked with The Farm on his show “Glass Child” which is showing at QPAC 2023. He is currently working on his Triple Bill “Tall Man”.
Thais Carvalho is a Brazilian fusion dancer based in Brisbane and the owner of Queensland Fusion Belly Dance, an integrative dance crew with a variety of belly dance styles that promotes inclusion and woman's empowerment within the Brisbane community through its annual retreats. Thais has danced most of her life, with background in Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Brazilian regional dance and Fusion Belly Dance styles.
Johan Bolivar is a passionate and strong Latin dancer from Venezuela. He can't remember when he started dancing because he has been doing it since he was a toddler but has more than 12 years professional dance experience. Johan has had very diverse training but is characterised by his urban flavour and specialises in Salsa and Afro-Cuban rhythms.
Johan is passionate about sharing his culture and roots. He loves teaching the dances he grew up with but now with a more technical point of view and extensive knowledge.
Roj Kabalan is a Breakdancer from Lebanon now based in Brisbane. He started breakdancing when he was 16 years old because some school friends were already involved. His main interests were always teaching, performing and battling. He travelled across the Middle East and Europe to learn and compete. Some of the jams he’s competed in and taken first place include Rise The Top Germany, Ground Hitters jam Cyprus, WBC qualifier Qatar. He has been teaching for 10 years, more intensively from 2017 where he started to incorporate fitness and conditioning.
Malvadine, an immersive ball of chaotic energy ready to spin, twirl, dip and split their way across any stage or dance-floor. Commonly described as Meanjin's Pocket Rocket, Malvadine's highly animated performances defy all expectations and create a fantasy that allow people to escape reality. Twirling around since 2019, Malvadine brings crazy, comedy and camp through their electric performances that aim to put a smile on everybody's face!
The Disco Ball
It's hard to deny that the disco ball is our most treasured party symbol. Reflecting fractals of light from above the dancefloor and pulling our focus to the center of it, the mirrorball tells everyone: this is where the action is. There is no more reliable witness to the ups and downs of clublife than the disco ball, omnipresent and omniscient. As Tracey Thorn sings in "Mirrorball," the 1996 tune from her group Everything But The Girl, "the lovely mirrorball reflected back them all, every triumph, every fight under disco light."
Yet, as is the case for many party icons, the disco ball's origins are a bit sketchy. While the disco ball came to power in the 70s as part of the disco era, the origins of the spinning reflector can be traced to nearly 100 years before Donna Summer topped a single chart. The first documented appearance of the disco ball goes as far back as 1897, where an issue of the Electrical Worker, the publication of an electrician's union in Charlestown, Massachusetts discusses the group's annual party and its most notable decorations. The group's initials (N.B.E.W.) were illuminated with "incandescent lamps of various colors on wire mesh over the ballroom" and another light (a carbon arc lamp, now embraced by steampunk enthusiasts) flashed on a "mirrored ball."
According to archival photos, mirror balls appeared in an assortment of locations, typically those related to social functions. Nearly 30 years after those electricians created a mirror ball for their shindig, an inventor named Louis B. Woeste filed a patent for an object he called a "myriad reflector." The 1924 US patent filing describes the device as a "sphere, yet any other geometrical form-may be substituted therefor, which is preferably hollow and has its surface covered with a multitude of mirrors."
After almost half a century in the dark, the disco ball made its big return at the dawn of the disco era. New York's disco king, the DJ Nicky Siano, was there for its revival. "It's been around forever, but they weren't called disco balls back then," he tells THUMP. "There was no name like that. When I came on the scene it was called the mirrored ball, because there hadn't been that transition yet; Billboard didn't decide to make billions off an industry that we created, and label it disco."
As a young New Yorker, Siano became enamored with the blossoming club culture of the early 70s. One of his first encounters with a disco ball happened at David Mancuso's famed East Village disco holy ground, The Loft. "I was just 15 and it was so striking how [the mirrored ball] was used. The room had no other light, and when [light on the ball] went out, you were in total darkness."
Siano recalls a time when one of The Loft's 48 inch balls fell on an unassuming dancer's head during a party (mercifully, it was hollow). He also remembers when New York house legend Larry Levan would take mid-set trips to the dancefloor where he would climb a ladder and meticulously spot clean the disco ball's mirror tiles. Levan wanted perfection.
As the disco scene grew in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Montreal, San Francisco, and Paris, the disco ball went with it. It would be hard for any particular city to lay claim to the disco ball's origins, but because of how Siano, Levan, and Mancuso used their disco balls as part of the sensory bliss of the disco scene and later, the house scene, it became an integral part of clubbing's formative years.
Source: Meet Me Under the Disco Ball: A History of Nightlife's Most Enduring Symbol, by David Garber, https://www.vice.com/en/article/xypxjk/meet-me-under-the-disco-ball-a-history-of-nightlifes-most-enduring-symbol
The Conga Line
The conga or conga line dance, as we know it, originated as a street dance in Cuba in the early 20th century. Its full history goes back much further – with the roots of African slaves who were forcibly brought to the Caribbean. The dance also became associated with the Santeria religion and Easter traditions of the islands. The conga -- both the dance and the style of music it is generally danced to -- became popular in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, largely due to the influence of bandleaders Xavier Cugat and Desi Arnaz, both then working in Hollywood on a series of Latin-themed musicals.
There are several conga dance variations. The most familiar is the single file line dance in which the dancers hold on to the hips of the dancer directly in front. The line then zigzags around the dance floor – and off – with the dancers kicking alternating legs on the beat as they move forward. The conga version for couples resembles the mambo or any of the other Latin ballroom styles, with the couple holding hands but switching hands on the beat and turning occasionally.
As a street dance, the conga had political implications in pre-revolutionary Cuba. At different times, the dance was banned or restricted as a way of discouraging mass assembly. At other times the dance was associated with annual Carnival and Easter celebrations and performed as a kind of processional. The dance is executed to a distinctive drum rhythm. Conga music holds an important place in the Latin and North American cultural landscape.
Conga dancing became popular in the nightclubs of Paris first and then became fashionable State-side in the 1930s. All things Latin were in vogue at the time – Hollywood cranked out one Latin music and dance movie spectacular after another, nightclubs were Latin-themed and offered lessons in dances like the conga and mambo. Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz – who married comedienne Lucille Ball and starred with her on the TV series "I Love Lucy" – became a huge star associated with the conga craze and is credited with introducing it to Los Angeles and New York.
Like the “Macarena," the conga and conga line dance has become a staple of the wedding dance floor. Its mass familiarity was ensured by its ease of execution and its ubiquity. The conga line has been a recurring theme in cartoons and comedies on television and in the movies throughout the 20th century. And Miami Sound Machine’s Gloria Estefan had a hit with her single “Conga” in 1985, further securing the conga’s place in American popular culture.
Source: The History of the Conga Line, by Margot Callahan, updated September 15th 2017, https://ourpastimes.com/the-history-of-the-conga-dance-12212676.html