WAAPA rising stars fuse ballet and contemporary dance in ‘Rise’

Rise, WAAPA’s mid-year dance season, offers audiences a perfect mix of ballet and contemporary dance performed by the stars of tomorrow.

The 2nd and 3rd Year Dance students take to the stage of the Geoff Gibbs Theatre for a week-long run from Friday 10 to Thursday 16 June.

Headlining the program is Tout de Suite, a stunning showcase of student skills that brings together moments of heart and soul from some of the world’s favourite ballets. These exquisite excerpts are a collaboration between WAAPA Classical Dance Coordinator Kim McCarthy and visiting guest artist, Leanne Stojmenov.

Perth-born Stojmenov joined the Australian Ballet in 2001 and was promoted to principal artist in 2011. With her dancing described by The Australian as ‘flawless’, she brings a wealth of expertise from her many years with Australia’s elite ballet company to her teaching at WAAPA.

For the contemporary dance component of the Rise program, WAAPA is delighted to welcome back two of its dance alumni, Laura Boynes and Jenni Large, as visiting guest artists to work with the current cohort of students.

Laura Boynes is an award-winning dancer, choreographer and dance filmmaker who graduated from WAAPA with Honours in 2007. Her fascination with the moving image has seen her involved in projects across the genres of dance, theatre, experimental music, site-specific and opera. Boynes won a Dance Australia Critics’ Choice Award for Most Outstanding Dancer and two prestigious Australian Dance Awards for her choreographic work.

Mammoth, her new work for Rise, invites the students to explore physical ideas that reference ‘the sublime’.

“It’s an artistic effect that is productive of the strongest emotion the mind is capable of feeling, a mixture of awe and terror,” explains Boynes.

When Jenni Large graduated from WAAPA in 2010, she set the tone for her career by taking out the Hawaiian Award for Most Outstanding Dance Student. Since then she has worked extensively in independent and company environments both nationally and internationally, most notably as a formative ensemble member at Dancenorth from 2015-2020. Currently a Creative Associate at Tasdance, Large is a passionate independent dance practitioner.

Large is collaborating with the WAAPA students to create an exciting new work which expands on themes that present themselves through the creative process.

“My intention is to hone the dancers’ receptivity to each other to increase interconnectedness and cohesion,” she says. “Although the work might result in something quite specific, my hope is that this approach will strengthen their sense of unity to create a holistic performance experience.”

With such brilliant expertise and fierce creativity to guide them, WAAPA’s talented dancers are guaranteed to rise to new artistic heights.

Rise is being staged at ECU Mt Lawley from Friday 10 – Thursday 16 June. For more info head to waapa.ecu.edu.au

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