Dance-maker Lucinda Coleman making dance with wily words and syllables that clamber to be stories gently moving.

Through the Grape Leaves

February, 2016

Not all the knives of the lamp-posts,/ Nor the chisels of the long streets,/ Nor the mallets of the domes/ And high towers,/ Can carve/ What one star can carve,/ Shining through the grape-leaves.  Six Significant Landscapes- Wallace Stevens

This is your invitation: Come! Taste the fruit of the vineyard! Drink of the Vine!

Ok, that it may be a little dramatic, but I do think a drop of vino shared amongst friends in an idyllic location, with live music, dance and artwork is somewhat sensational! Yes, this is your invitation to the premiere of winery psalms– the mixed half dozen, in the Swan Valley, Western Australia, April 2016!

winery psalms has been a highly collaborative, experimental project in which the patterning of thought has found corporeal expression in six short contemporary dance theatre works. Each of the six winery psalms were inspired by a literary quote, matched with the aroma of a particular wine, and invited to be responsive to a winery site in which the artwork, musical compositions and contemporary dance is to be installed. New ideas have sprung from the pattern of each individual’s thought processes. Through collaboration, there has been the development of patterning and thought through a complex process of negotiation and exchange with one or more participants, or co-creators.

Critical thinking shaped by others has the potential to enrich or dilute creative material, but in the final outcome, will propel participants towards an engagement, as philosopher Emmanuel Levinas might describe it, beyond the Self, towards the Other. This high-risk process may become unhinged at any given moment, and yet the “reflection of discourse on itself does not include it in itself” (Levinas, 2013, p. 171). Turning outwards, to be responsive to the Other creates opportunities for engagement, exchange and the kind of thinking that makes for interesting artwork.

Gilles Deleuze maintained thinking takes many forms (Deleuze 1988) and I would add that deep thought can be embodied through creative exploration into the shape and form we often call ‘art’. The making of art involves constant moving from the front to back realms of thinking, folding ideas in on oneself, exploring back-to-back with others, both physically and philosophically. Much like Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of the rhizome, there is ceaseless movement of thought, embodied in action that shapes thinking to recreate new neural pathways and patterns of movement: to create new art work.

The patterning of our winery psalms collaborations has been like the growth of leaves on the grape vine. Each unique shape has been branch-dancing overhead; sheltering the growth of fruity bunches of grapes, soon to be ripe for consumption, or crushed to make very fine wine. Some branches hold many leaves, in some places leaves and fruit are scarce or have dropped off the branch altogether, but still the grape vine winds its way across a trestled landscape, nurtured by sun and rain and the soil from which it springs. This is seasonal work. It will produce fruit, hanging amidst a proliferation of leaves which continue to sprout in the right place at the right time.  At the close of the season, the grapes will be gathered and the leaves will turn sunset colours to be swept away by the wind.

So, don’t miss this premiere! In the making for over a year, the collaborative outcome has drawn on the work of each individual to create something unique beyond the solo practice. But, oh how the individuals themselves are stunning! Thank you to the following creative visionaries, who have collaborated on this project: Lyndall Adams, Shoeb Ahmad, Ellen Avery, Frances Barbe, Kirsten Biven, Katie Chown, Samantha Coleman, Robyn Cooper, Jo Darvall, Alix Hamilton, Anna-Kat Hicks, Digby Hill, Amanda Humphries, Hyphen (Jacob Lehrer, Chloe Flockart, Matthew McVeigh), Stephanie Khoo, Kate Leslie, Johannes Luebbers, Jacqui Otago, Sue Peacock, Scott Putman, Esther Scott, Sue Starcken, Caroline Stevenson, Joanna Tan and Julie Valenzuela. It has been a privilege to have the opportunity of working together. Each of the winery psalms holds delicate beauty, balanced with aesthetic rigour – and is now ready to invite others in to experience, in the words of philosopher Kitaro Nishida, “the appearance of eternity in time”.

This is your invitation: Come!

Tickets on sale now:  

More info: 


IMG 2672

Photography of Pinelli Winery Estate by Lucinda Coleman 2016, reprinted with permission.



Deleuze, G. (1988). Foucault (S. Hand, Trans.). London: The Athlone Press.

Levinas, E. (2013). Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (A. Lingis, Trans.). Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Duquesne University Press.




Flowering Underground

January, 2016

In 1928 in the wheat belt of Western Australia a farmer named Jack was drawn to a fragrance emanating from a crack in the soil of his backyard. On investigation he discovered a tiny plant flowering underground. What he had discovered was a completely new type of orchid, later named the Rhizanthella gardneri or more commonly called the Western Underground Orchid.

Unlike any other orchid in Australia, this flower remains underground its entire life. Instead of drawing on the sun’s energy for nutrients, it relies on fungus and the Broom Bush shrub which is the only known host of the orchid. Leafless, it is made up of the tuber, or stem and what appears to be one flower, but actually contains several tiny flowers packed together.

My youngest daughter was telling us the story of this hidden orchid and my entire family was fascinated by the idea of something fragrant and beautiful, hidden away to flower each year in the debris of its host. It reminded me of many artists and creative people I know, who are hidden away in places of dirt. Fragrant and beautiful they flower time and again, often undiscovered by those trampling above and around them. Under the right conditions and with the right support they continue to flourish, succulent in subterranean environments.

Wherever you are this year, I hope you continue to flower in season . . . winding your way through surface areas, and deep in good hearty soils. I hope you grow strong and are hardy. I hope your flowering is supported by others, and when you blossom it will reveal not just one gorgeous flower, but that there are hundreds of tiny blooms within the one. I hope your fragrance is sweet, true and breathtaking: that those around you would stop and dig in the cracks of dirt to discover what you are making – and what you are becoming.

The Underground Orchid is difficult to find and is considered a rare and vulnerable plant. It is precious and unusual. I hope as you move into work places this year, and create in your own spaces that you know how rare and precious you are. I hope you are able to recognise the threats to your own habitat and can embrace those around you in a symbiotic relationship that allows for fruitful outcomes. I hope you are protected this year and when you are discovered, I hope you bring such joy to others that it is worth every moment in the dark and hidden places of your growth.


Photography of A Cellar Showing by Sean Chang, reprinted with permission.

If You Never Did?

December, 2015

If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good. - Dr. Seuss


I keep thinking that the present is ghosted by what has gone before; we are contributing to a story mid-way which allows for learning and pleasure. I keep thinking that in our pursuit of serious [art] making, we mustn’t forget to delight in pleasure. Making something – anything! can be joyous: startling, mysterious, nourishing. To love and laugh as you make something for someone is adding colour to canvas: bringing life to the present and honouring the story of which we all are a part.

This December heralds the ending of a shared year that has been full of storied hope and things to achieve. We look to Christmas and the chance to relinquish the weight of work, and unmet expectations. It is time for beauty. It is time to celebrate word become flesh: to be wrapped in love, and held unquestioned – without judgement. It is a time for rupturing shadowed moments: to laugh with friends and hear their stories. It is time for pleasure.

I keep thinking what if we never did? Rupture the moments? Risk loving? Take the first step to fulfil a secret, sacred dream? What if we never did dance, or sing, or paint? What if we never did pursue the elusive, beautiful things that are too hard and can only be achieved by the work of faith? What if I never did?

This December rolls towards new beginnings but we are still mid-way in remnant acts of making art work. This past year has seen changes: some knotty, some tangle-free. But I keep thinking what pleasure there has been and how grateful I am for the deeply significant moments in which we really did risk, move, and change.

I am thankful for the remnant artists and collaborators I’ve had the privilege to work with – and have enjoyed spending time with each unique person. I’m aware it’s an extraordinary gift to do what you love – with people you love. If I never did, my life would be impoverished: thin, aimless, indulgent. I am surrounded by artists clothed in light, by friends who tell it as it is and by individuals who love truly and well. I hold this gift with gratitude - a small pleasure that lights the next step and fans into flame the hope I have for the [artistic] work of 2016.


240 turn


Image: sketch of (from L to R) dancers Caroline Stevenson, Jacqui Otago, Ellen Avery, Katie Chown by Amanda Humphries for the winery psalms project, reprinted with permission.



November 2015


What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare. . .

No time to turn at Beauty's glance, / And watch her feet, how they can dance. . . 

Leisure – W. H. Davies

This month my husband and I celebrate 20 years of marriage - to each other. 20 years and - three children, four houses, one dog, six fish, nine birds, a million fights, a billion meals made, and one romantic trip to Italy. What have I learnt in 20 years of marriage? That numbers do matter: three children is a lot more than two. 20 years is a lot longer than ten. A diamond solitaire is a single promise that holds a thousand fractured rainbows which sparkle as you turn.

I’ve learnt that time is divided by the number of heartbeats which race in moments of heightened emotion, and slow in the aftermath of wild explosions. The numbers of sunsets watched together are important. Noticing details is important. Messages that say ‘I love you’ for no reason other than saying it, so you remember it when you don’t feel it, are important. Praying together, eating together, walking together, and listening together: it all counts.

I’ve also learnt that keeping track of all the mistakes, the lost moments, and the accumulated pain makes for an ugly ledger. It’s better not to remember how many times I have been hurt. These are the numbers that damage. These are the big numbers that loom and overshadow the quiet number of shared heartbeats, sunsets, toddlers’ first steps, dinners out and morning sleep-ins.

I count the days of good that dance. And I’ve noticed something about numbers that turn on the moments of good. As the years pile up, there are fewer numbers. It becomes simpler and clearer: the two become one. The decision-making is halved. The arguments decrease. The children’s generous kindness multiples moments of wonder in ways that can’t be quantified. We tell them we love them to infinity and beyond. And we do.

My husband of 20 years has said ‘I love you’ more than 7,300 times. But the commitment turns on how the many words have created one love. It’s not good maths. But I was never fond of maths at school. I do think the numbers matter: the issues matter. I also think all the choices are reduced down to one choice and all the days become about one marriage. I turn. He turns. We stop measuring and trust to eternity in the two hearts, become one.

Luci and Dave

Photography of Manarola, Italy by Lucinda Coleman, reprinted with permission.


Reflexive Wrestling

October 2015

Elizabeth Grosz has observed “Knowledge is an activity; it is a practice and not a contemplative reflection. It does things” (Meskimmon 2003, p. 151). I confess I have been doing things. Painting in the void, I have been leaving things unsaid, whilst madly scribbling on the body of my own self, and of others. A repository of ideas and of the doing of things, the body has become an archive of memory and of the story of doing things that effect change.

I have wrestled with this mark-making on self and others. My own critically reflective practice has plunged me into reflexive approaches: a portal to analysis and review. I find I have few words to fully describe the creative act-in-action effectively. Words strangle the lightness; the feathered lightness of insight and of being. I think of Maggi’s  written observation:

Thinkers and artists grapple with this unregulated realm of yet-to-be-knowledge, straining to delineate incipient patterns in the flux through whatever means of articulation might be at their disposal (Phillips 2014, p. 285).

I hold the thought that reflexive approaches invite an experience of the unknowable other through the creative act and the art work itself. I insert myself into the narratives of others, knowing that “reflexivity is always part of a necessary uncertainty . . .  ‘remainder’ between the visible and the invisible, the present and absent” (Stronach 2013, p. 288). I am alert. I miss Maggi. I recall remnant acts of making in which the creative risk forged connections sometimes elusive, sometimes clear.  Each has been infinitely precious and absolutely terrifying.

In the past years of Remnant Dance practice, I have been exploring borderlines and surfaces, both physically and metaphorically. My intention has been to look through glass fronts: to shatter them if possible, in order to encounter the perspectives of others. I have been shocked at how often my own reflection is all I have seen.

In Myanmar, I looked away. But there were glass fronts in every direction. When I closed my eyes, small fingers nudged their way into my large hands hanging limply by my own form, inert and stuck. Surprised by touch, I could look in another direction and found myself within large smiling eyes, framed by white thanaka on brown cheeks and wordless connection through the movement of one small body towards that of my own. As my fingers closed gently around the brave, bold hand, I responded to the tug and turn of this quiet body, and was led in a different direction in the world I thought I had entered.

As a reflective practitioner I am responsive, reflexive and uncomfortable; present in this moment. I continue to wrestle with knowledge, both spoken and unspoken. There is an ache for what has been, yet traces remain. We are connected, you and I. Marked by colour, framed by text we telling the story of our wrestling together. 

wrestle 2

Photography of Katie Chown and Caroline Stevenson by Lucinda Coleman ©2015, reprinted with permission.



Meskimmon, M. (2003). Women Making Art. London: Routledge.

Phillips, M. (2014). Choreographies of Thought: Dancing Time Back into Writing. In L. Ravelli, B. Paltridge, & S. Starfield (Eds.), Doctoral Writing in the Creative and Performing Arts. Oxfordshire: Libri Publishing.

Stronach, I., Frankham, J., Bibi-Nawaz, S., Cahill, G., Cui, V., Dymoke, K., & Khir, M. M. (2013). The X-Factor: Performing Reflexivity as Indeterminate Praxis. Qualitative Inquiry, 19(288), 288-297. doi: 10.1177/1077800412471508