Dance from the heart

Body language: Dorothy Lucius and Peace Aziawor, along with eight other Ballarat girls, are using dance to explore themes of multiculturalism. Picture: Josh Hazendonk

Body language: Dorothy Lucius and Peace Aziawor, along with eight other Ballarat girls, are using dance to explore themes of multiculturalism. Picture: Josh Hazendonk

There are some things that can be said through dance that just can’t be expressed in words.

This Friday night, a group of 10 young Ballarat women will take to the stage, expressing a range of complex issues through dance and choreography.

The girls have spent the past six weeks working with professional Melbourne dancer and choreographer Shermaine Heng, who has been travelling to Ballarat twice a week to help them explore themes of multiculturalism.

This Friday’s performance, Things They Said, has built on the success of Heng’s 2015 Breathe, Woman! artist in residency at Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council.

That project included workshops and performance with Ballarat women from diverse cultural backgrounds telling their stories through dance and interactive soundscapes.

“When a number of girls requested that I return to Ballarat to teach, I thought about how I might be able to pair this interest with a program that enables a similar process of sharing and choreographic discovery,” Heng said.

Dancer Meg Lee, 19, said young people aged 12 to 21 had been invited to participate in the program, which was held at Mt Clear College’s dance studio. No dance experience was necessary, and young people from all cultural backgrounds were welcomed.

“Shermaine has been helping the group to explore ideas of multiculturalism through dance,” she said.

”There’s a mixture of girls from migrant backgrounds and refugees or people who live just outside of Ballarat. The aim was to give the opportunity to everyone.”

She said the young women had learnt a lot about choreographing dance.

“Everyone has had an opportunity to experiment with their own choreography, with help and support, which has been really wonderful,” she said.

“Each participant has their own unique solo that has been woven into the dance.

“I feel like everyone in the project, with (Shermaine’s) encouragement, has become more confident in themselves as dancers and inspired to experiment with their own choreography as well.”

Things They Said will be performed this Friday night in two shows, at 6.30pm and 8pm, at GPlace, 102 English Street, Golden Point. Tickets are $6.50 at the door.