Shaded, in this space

By Rachel Cunningham; 7 October 2012

The instant messaging and feedback of Twitter, facebook and other social media have shaped contemporary social interactions in surprising ways by creating connections that can bring us closer together or leave us feeling more isolated than ever before.Juanita_hiding

Emerging New Zealand choreographer Juanita Jelleyman’s newest dancework Shade:less explores themes of social connectedness, community, stillness and movement – and we were happy to turn away from our screens and visit her during a studio showing and open rehearsal of the work at Estudio Nuevo in Maylands, Perth on 30 September 2012.

“I hope to expose some of our shared struggle with the desire to be together; to move together and to dance together,” Jelleyman said during rehearsal. “Being in relationship with each other involves tension as we wrestle with the invitation it issues to come closer, to soften our boundaries of self and release or open out into spaces of being together. It is not an easy journey, but one I think that we should all consider and pursue, for it has its riches too.

As a Remnant Dance guest choreographer Jelleyman is developing Shade:less, together with the Remnant Dance artists, as part of a triple bill planned for the Perth FRINGEWORLD and Adelaide Fringe in early 2013. For details visit

Juanita_sittingJelleyman said she felt privileged to be in Perth collaborating with Remnant Dance and “...working in collaboration in a way that is reflective of the richness of doing things together."

“The studio time and the conversations I have had this week have showed me again and again that this first development of the work Shade:less parallels my own journey into community and communion,” she said.

Jelleyman described some of her insights from the interdisciplinary and collaborative process with Remnant Dance:

I am being challenged to work collectively, in collaboration with other artists, and in the process to strip back my own agenda, and to find a choreographic [sic] work that enfolds into its body, the relationships that layer it. I am finding that it doesn't seem to be a straightforward journey and as a result we are encountering a community that tosses between being open and sharing and being closed and hidden from each other. Shaded and yet moving towards 'Shade: less'.

Juanita_talkingJelleyman juggled choreographing five dancers, envisioning costumes with Remnant Dance designer Kate Emily Townsend and discussing the dance work with the audience and members of the public, who strolled in to the studio space from Whatley Crescent, the busy high street in Maylands.

Mt. Lawley visual artist and educator Jane Packham, who attended the rehearsal, said the open rehearsal was “a gift to the community.”

“It was a privilege to observe the creative process and seeing the dynamic between the choreographer and the dancers,” Packham said. “I admire the time, commitment and effort involved.”




Juanita Jelleyman portrait by Katrina Williams, of Williams Photography, 2012

All other images by Rachel Cunningham, 2012