Modern Dance Ensemble. (1966-1981)

NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-721074

Biographies

Founded in Melbourne by Margaret Lasica, the Modern Dance Ensemble (MDE) was an ensemble company presenting a significant body of experimental contemporary work outside the traditional company system.

The MDE grew out of the Melbourne University Modern Dance Club, and continued to present its bi-annual seasons at the Union Theatre, Melbourne University. In addition it performed in workshops and in public spaces, toured to festivals in Canberra, Sydney and Adelaide, and collaborated with companies such as the Victorian Opera Company and the Melbourne Chorale,

Under the direction and choreographic hand of Margaret Lasica the company presented over two hundred works. Fifty of these were by Lasica, including Thou Shalt Not? (1973) performed at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, during the 40th Eucharitic Conference. Works created by the ensemble included Jo Starr and Dan Taggert's Transients (1970), A Journey of Discovery by the Eloquent Body (1971) by the ensemble, Fred Bolza's Recollections of a Red Balloon (1971), Bob Thorneycroft's When I Shut My Eyes (1974), Margaret Norwood's Percussive Play (1975), Lloyd Newson's Impasse (1977), Ann Tregear's Duet in a Corridor (1979) and Shelley Lasica's Could This be the Day (1980).

Operating with fifteen to twenty dancers for each performance period the company promoted an eclecticism of style that fostered the talents of all participants. These included Helen Ennis, who went on to become a curator and lecturer in photography, Nehama Patkin - musician, Hugh Colman - theatre designer, Lynden Nicholls - early improvisation practitioner, Rosemary Simons - exhibition designer, Bob Thorneycroft - actor, and Shelley Lasica and Lloyd Newson - choreographers. Musicians Geoff Gion, Stuart Challender and Richard Vella collaborated as pianists and composers.

On disbanding as a performance group in 1981 MDE continued to operate as a support group, producing Image '83, Dance '84, Image '85, and Image ?90 at Margaret Lasica's Carlton Studio, Extensions. These programs of works presented independent performing artists from around Australia.

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  1. Modern Dance Ensemble (1972-1978)
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