Expressions Dance Company’s Elise May Announces Departure
Final Performance in ‘The Play of Light’ March 15 & 16
One of Queensland’s leading ladies of contemporary dance, Elise May, has announced her retirement from Expressions Dance Company (EDC) after 10 years.
The Australian Dance Award winner, who has starred in more than 45 EDC productions including Helpmann Award-nominated performances in Behind Closed Doors and The Red Shoes, leaves the company to take up an exciting new role as Associate Lecturer of Dance at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
Elise is a dancer, choreographer and video artist who has worked as an independent artist in Australia and internationally, as well as a member of EDC (since 2008). Elise has worked internationally in Taiwan, the US, South Korea, Switzerland and extensively in China. Elise has choreographed works for EDC including Lumen Body, Propel and the 2018 Helpmann Award nominated Mozart Airborne, as well as choreography for Opera Australia’s Aida. Elise has also choreographed for the 2017 Guangdong Modern Dance Festival in China. Elise completed a Masters of Arts by Research at QUT in 2016, through which she created Shifting Lenses, a solo performance installation which investigated the use of moving image and digital media in live performance.
Expressions Dance Company Artistic Director Amy Hollingsworth congratulated May on the appointment.
“Elise leaves an incredible legacy as EDC’s longest-serving ensemble member and a remarkable body of work as both a dancer and a choreographer,” Hollingsworth said. “As an industry peer, I have enormous respect for her contribution to the dance landscape in Brisbane and the wider Australian community.”
Hollingsworth said May’s new position was a coup for both QUT and the next generation of Australian dancers.
“The knowledge and gifts that lie within artists like Elise are invaluable to the growth of the creative capabilities of the future generation of dancers and dance makers,” Hollingsworth said. “QUT is so lucky to have her, and I am delighted that our already strong ties and connection to QUT are now deepened.”
EDC’s former Artistic Director Natalie Weir, with whom May collaborated on more than 18 works over nine years, paid tribute to “an X-factor like none other”.
“In every work we have created together, there is the ‘Elise moment’ – where the audience is knocked sideways by her,” Weir said.
May described her departure from EDC as “like leaving home”. “Expressions Dance Company has been my creative home for the past decade, and somewhere I have felt safe to take risks and discover my creative voice, while being nurtured and encouraged to grow as an artist,” May said.
Hollingsworth said May would remain an integral part of the EDC fabric through various roles, including as a guest lecturer at the company’s popular Brisbane Contemporary Dance Intensive.
“We will be thrilled to nurture an ongoing artistic relationship with Elise, with her continuing to contribute to the programs and initiatives at EDC,” Hollingsworth said.
May’s EDC swansong will see her latest work, The Play of Light, premiere at the inaugural Curious Arts Festival in March. This site-specific work features projected light, geometric shapes, dynamic sculptural 3D animations and their striking interactions with live moving bodies. Created by Elise May and featuring animation by Paul Van Opdenbosch this work is part of a larger body of work that investigates the intersection of dance and digital technologies such as motion capture and interactive live projection.
Elise has re-developed this exciting choreography with emerging dancers from the Toowoomba region who have helped to shape the design and performance concept specifically for Curious Arts Festival 2019. The Play of Light is a free event happening this Friday 15th & Saturday 16th March at 7:30pm at The Oasis, Empire Theatre Forecourt.