2018 Keir Artists Announced

2018 Keir Choreographic Award Commissioned Artists (L-R): Amrita Hepi, Bhenji Ra, Branch Nebula, Lilian Steiner, Luke George, Melanie Lane, Nana Bilus Abaffy and Prue Lang.

Eight Artists Selected for 2018 Keir Choreographic Award

Finals March 2018

The 8 artists commissioned for Australia’s major choreographic award, the Keir Choreographic Award, have been announced by Dancehouse, The Keir Foundation and Carriageworks.
The artists were selected by a high-profile international jury to take part in the biennial competition, dedicated to the commissioning, presentation, promotion and dissemination of new Australian choreography. The selected artists are:

Launched in 2014, the Keir Choreographic Award looks to identify and illuminate experimental choreographic practices occurring in the Australian context today. For the third edition of the Award, the eight finalists will present their new work at Melbourne’s Dancehouse from 6 – 10 March 2018, with four chosen to go on to a season at Carriageworks in Sydney from 15 – 17 March 2018 to compete for the accolade of the $30,000 Award and the $10,000 Audience Choice Award.
The jury this year consisted of ANNA CY CHAN (Head of Dance, Performing Arts of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong), LUCY GUERIN (Choreographer, pedagogue, Lucy Guerin Inc., Melbourne), ISHMAEL HOUSTON-JONES  (US choreographer, author, performer, and curator), ESZTER SALAMON  (choreographer, dancer and performer France/Belgium/Germany), CHRISTOPHE SLAGMUYLDER  (Artistic Director of  Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels), and MEG STUART (American choreographer and dancer, Damaged Goods, Belgium/German).
Jury member Lucy Guerin said of the selection process: “Such a stimulating conversation with the KCA jury and the winners are an intriguing combination of artists with compelling and urgent ideas. I am truly excited about what they will make and how it will shape their own creative practice and that of their fellow dance-makers. This feels like the future. Can’t wait!”
Held every two years, previous winners of the KCA have been Atlanta Eke in 2014 and Ghenoa Gela in 2016.


Amrita Hepi is a dancer and choreographer. A Bundjulung and Ngapuhi woman, her practice probes at the idea of authenticity, the perpetuation of culture and tradition. An artist who has toured nationally and internationally with a broad following and reach, her work has taken various forms (film, performance, sculpture, text, lecture, participatory installation) but always begins from working with the body as a point of archive, memory and resistance.
Melanie Lane is a Javanese/Australian choreographer and performer. Based in Europe from 2000–2014, Melanie worked with artists such as Arco Renz | Kobalt Works, Club Guy and Roni, and Tino Seghal performing internationally. Since 2007, Melanie has been artistic collaborator to Belgian dance company Kobalt Works | Arco Renz collaborating on projects in Belgium, Norway, Germany and Indonesia.
Bhenji Ra is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice combines dance, choreography, video and installation. Her work is often concerned with the dissection of cultural theory and identity, centralizing her own personal histories as a tool to reframe performance. With an emphasis on occupation and at times collective action, her work plays with the multiplicities of spectacle while offering strategies to resist the colonial gaze and western performance framework.
Nana Biluš Abaffy is an artist with a background in philosophy and a foreground in experimental performance and dance. Nana believes in a maximalist approach to the artistic endeavour and works through play, dance, text, moving image and social intervention to rouse the realm of the performative and herein create ‘werkplaydances’ for mixedup reality. She is the founding member of a secretive collective that performs in explicitly illicit spaces and enjoys engaging in choreographic acts of extreme tree hugging and site specific protest dancing.
Luke George, raised in Tasmania and based in Melbourne, creates new choreographic work borne out of experimental processes with collaborating artists. George takes daring and at times, unorthodox methods, to explore new intimacies and connections between audience and performers. George’s work is based in a long-term research into ‘relational performance practice’ that is rooted in the choreographic, and engages with other art forms.
Lilian Steiner is a Melbourne-based dancer and choreographer whose practice utilises the inherent intelligence of the active body as the primary tool for creating wholly encompassing visual, sonic and kinaesthetic experiences.  Her work embraces the power of ephemerality within energetic exchange through emphasising the presence of weight and density within the sculptural nature of sound, the body’s form and light as an extension of the body.
Prue Lang joined Meryl Tankard’s Australian Dance Theatre after studying at the VCA Melbourne. In 1996 she moved to France to join the Choreographic National Centre in Angers, Compagnie Cre-Ange in Paris, as well as creating and facilitating her own independent projects. In 1999 she began an important collaboration with William Forsythe as a leading soloist and choreographer of the Frankfurt Ballett and The Forsythe Company. She created five original works for the company, some of which also toured independently. She is also a leading exponent of Forsythe’s improvisation technologies and a researcher on the Motion Bank project.
BRANCH NEBULA (Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters) is one of Australia’s most adventurous companies pushing at the boundaries of performance. Working at the nexus between theatre, dance, sport and street-styles, Branch Nebula takes audiences into the extreme creativity of urban landscapes and immerses them in real time experiences. Branch Nebula works with non-conventional performers to collaboratively devise work that defies categorization.
Read more about this event here.