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


November 2014

What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn't everyone's life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life? - Michel Foucault

meeting places vertical NOV 14



It began as all good stories do: with curiosity. Remnant Dancers create ephemeral works of residual unfinishedness.

Charity organisations feed those in need.
Artists paint images aching with insight. Still others make beauty with materials, objects, ideas. What if we all collaborated? Could Australian artists working creatively and cross-culturally with aid partners in Myanmar facilitate communication and connectivity through the language of dance, music, art, film? Could dance-making itself carve out a space for social engagement; empowering young Burmese to tell their stories? What might be said in these meeting places?

It unfolded as all good stories do: with tension, drama, crises of character and conflict of choice for the key protagonists. There was laughter in the making; poignancy in speaking a shared language. It was hot and humid in the foreign land. We shared food, hugs and our difference of opinion. We created art work, responsive to stories about home and a dance film that explored ideas of identity and connectivity. We embodied experiences of listening and discovered meeting places of the soul as we made new dance together.

Like all good stories, there is also the wondrous ending. As we share our creative work with diverse communities this month, we realise the ending of our project lingers on, creating a portal to new beginnings. In the artistry; in the lives of each one of us we will continue to encounter our own curious meeting places. 

 Photographic image by Amanda Humprhies, reprinted with permission.



Leaderless; not lost

October 2014

"We are all artists. Piecing is our art… to bring beauty into our lives… our real quilting, our real art: making this world piece up right." Sojourner Truth, quoted in Meskimmon 2003, p.43


Glass Mountain 1 - Remnant Dance Image for Remnant Thoughts 684x1024So, my contention is this: we are entering a leaderless age. I don’t think this is such a bad thing, as our world is far more connected than ever before and access to knowledge invites each one of us to meet needs, wherever we are. Technological advancement has shaped the cartography of interrelated activities. There are greater possibilities for communication between individuals who make up diverse communities all around the world. We can all lead.

Yes, we crave mentorship and support as we stumble across obstacles in the pursuit of why we exist and what we are to do with the time we have been given. We naturally look to others who have gone before. We gravitate towards charismatic individuals and to those in positions of power: those with money or fame or the position to be able to effect change. Sometimes it seems we are swept up in the noise and colour of dominant personalities; those who shape popular culture and make up the rules. Those are the ones we often call our leaders.

I think true leaders are a lot quieter than any of us realise. Those leaders I admire the most have in common selflessness of character manifest in the action of service. Instead of solely relying on direction from political or social or religious leaders we could, each one of us, look to lead through service in our own sphere of influence. We could, each one of us, offer our piece as service in a leaderless age.


 Image: Glass Mountain 1  by Amanda Humphries

Things That Matter...

September 2014

"What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us." Henry David Thoreau

Things that matter image . . . Ice cream. Charity. Hope. Things that sparkle and make us feel shy. Faith. Sunsets like flames of fire. Mohinga soup in Myanmar. Croissants in Paris. Remnant acts of kindness. Sweaty dogs that leap and chew and wag their tails with crazy enthusiasm. Jane Austen. Red shoes. Perseverance that forms character. Character that holds to hope. The birth of a new baby; the exhaustion of a mother. Fine red wine at midnight on New Year's Eve. Kisses. Friends who listen. Friends who hear unspoken grief. Letting go to take hold. Knowing when to go home.


And knowing when to leave. Birdsongs and bees' buzzes by waters that lap at the river's edge. Choices made. Acceptance. Freedom to choose. Family dinners. Arguments about what is real and how to take hold of that which is unseen. Good questions. Weekend retreats in the secret, sacred void between matter and antimatter. Packing a suitcase to step on to a plane. Travelling. Postcards that say 'I miss you!' Memories that remind you of people who love you. Stories with happy endings.


And unexpected endings to create stories that matter.




August 2014

The ultimate end of human acts is eudaimonia, happiness in the sense of living well, which all men desire; all acts are but different means chosen to arrive at it. – Hannah Arendt

Postcard 3 clean image cropped Lucid

Today is my Admin Day.  Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?  I have dance rehearsals and research commitments most days of the week, so have selected Mondays as my Admin Day within which I must achieve great and mighty things… via email mostly.  Yes, great and mighty Things can be achieved via email in a few short hours each week, I tell myself – and anyone else who will listen. 

Today I start by reading other people’s emails over coffee and then grimly facing the Admin List.  Yes, there’s also a List to be accomplished on Admin Day, all before the children arrive home from school at 3:15pm.  I yawn a lot on Admin Days.  There’s also a lot of staring out the window at my neighbour’s apricot tree.  Bare branches have been stripped clean of leaves and replaced with densely clustered white blossoms that reshape the tree; clumped cut-outs against the blue winter sky.  Sometimes my mind wanders a little, I’ve noticed.

However, very important tasks (VITs) are approached with serious aplomb.  Today I even get out of my pyjamas to consider the List and accomplish the VITs.  Sometimes though I’ve noticed I don’t quite get out of either my ugg boots or pyjamas, and just have a second cup of coffee before checking up on the white blossoms.  I find I hum a little on those Admin Days, cupping my favourite mug in two hands and rocking side-to-side like I used to do when shushing a fretful baby. I suspect these are the moments when I think my really Great Thoughts.

Today I find my Admin Groove, ticking off VITs with satisfying fervour and glancing only occasionally at the blossoms.  There is rhythm and passion in decisions made and actioned, even if only via email.  Suddenly it is 3:15pm and the Admin Day comes to an unsteady end.  I haven’t finished the VITs on the List but I did get dressed, so I call it a day of Much Success.  I also find something akin to happiness in having given time to consider the List.  The VITs are the runway lights on my flight path: a necessary guide for safe landings and for soaring through the blue of a winter sky fragrant with apricot blossoms.

Image by Amanda Humphries, 2014

The Secret Splendour

July 2014

buildingThe fact alone of bringing forth a beautiful work, in the full sovereignty of one’s spirit, constitutes an act of revolt and denies all social fictions. . . . Whoever communicates to his brothers in suffering the secret splendor of his dreams acts upon the surrounding society in the manner of a solvent and makes of all those who understand him, often without their realization, outlaws and rebels. 

 Pierre Quillard, “L’anarchie par la litte´rature,” [1892]

As a visitor to France, I am deliciously immersed in beauty delicate in the extended twilight. I lost my sunglasses the day after I arrived and have been wandering well into the night unguarded, eyes smiling.  The light is golden, the rain gentle; the language to my ears an undulating romance.   When someone asks me what I want to order at a café, I hear an invitation to respond to secrets of the heart, s'il vous plaît.  I am cognizant of my own interpretation but am happily surrendered to the dreamscape of my own making.

The conversations to be had in this cobbled French town draw me into the stories of another.  In the context of the dance conference setting, for which I have travelled so far, I am soothed by the secret splendour of dreams unveiled and revealed.  I have encountered mystery in the shared observations of dance scholars on the journey for insight through lived experience.  In the dance I have encountered nakedness and heartache, the spirit stripped raw, floodlit and staged.  My illusory notions of dancers as truth-bearers are shaken.  I respond most deeply to the beauty of artists as storytellers and my ideas shift and morph in response to the beautiful works. 

I am encouraged to be revolutionary in my own unique way.  There are stories I should be telling and dances I should be making… not just because it is the language of my spirit, but because I have become an outlaw and a rebel with something to say.  I want to create work that breathes life and offers hope; a salve for the diseased and damaged and an act of love that embraces the whole person who has bravely defied social conventions to be who they are designed to be.