Bat Lake

A Gothic New Dance Work celebrating the Dark and Theatrical World of Bats

FORM Dance Projects and Riverside Theatres

Emerging Sydney dance artist Eliza Cooper (25) will premiere her second full length dance work Bat Lake at Riverside Theatres, from October 13 to 15. 

Bat Lake celebrates the dark, theatrical world of bats from pollination to echolocation. Bat Lake transforms the performance space as elegant beasts glide swiftly across a twilight stage. The work aims to bare these misunderstood creatures, bring their complex characters to life and reveal what lies beneath their mystique.

“We’ve looked at the biological side of the bat’s life” says Cooper, “their anatomy, behaviour and migrations. Research was done into what people think of bats, which was vampires, gothic mansions, basically spooky creatures! Both ends of the spectrum are covered, from National Geographic to villains!”

Cooper is a 2016 Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Year graduate. Her first full-length work Old Life/Dead Life performed by Sydney Experimental Arts Ensemble premiered at the Old Theatre 505 in 2019, exploring the origins and development of life. 

“In 2019 I was studying Advanced Science at Sydney Uni” says Cooper. “In one lecture I saw a fantastic image of a bat covered in pollen, crawling out of a flower. The image was so strong, so theatrical, it was one of many moments which led me straight to the dance studio.  My Bat Lake journey began.  I started drawing bat images and studying their behaviour. I was fascinated to learn they accidentally pollinate, such wonderful service! Three years later, I am so excited my science lecture is ending up on stage.”

In Bat Lake choreographic ideas are pollinated from place to place through improvisation. “Moments of wild expression are dispersed through the space as dancers become a part of an unveiling ecology, propelled by clearance and impermanence” says Cooper. 

For over a year Eliza Cooper herself designed and made the costumes for the production. Sound artist Mason Peronchik, a long-time collaborator of Cooper, will synthesise the sound of bats. Reflecting echolocation, the dancers will use sound to navigate the space. They undertake deep listening in order to interact with one another and consider proximity and relation in a meditative state.

This project has been made possible through the support and assistance of DirtyFeet, Ausdance NSW, March Dance, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Creative Plus Business, Create NSW, Sidney Myer Fund & The Myer Foundation, The Nest Creative Space, Martyn Thompson and FORM Dance Projects.

Bat Lake

Sydney – Riverside Theatres, Parramatta – Lennox Theatre

From October 13 – 14


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