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Presenting at a Little CONference

Two images sit side by side. On the left image the torso of a woman sitting in a chair can be seen. Further back from her is a man sitting in a wheelchair with his hands in his lap. The right side photo is a close up of the mans hands as he sits in his wheelchair.

Guest Blogger: Matt Shilcock

Hosted by Dianne Reid and the Deakin University in Melbourne, May 2015 saw the second annual “Little CONference” for improvisation and performance. South Australian performers Cinzia Schincariol and Matt Shilcock made a bee-line for Melbourne to present their work Scomodo.

The CONference saw two day weekend of open studio time, guest workshops, performances, presentations, papers and discussions related to practice based research, dance/physical improvisation and performance. Both days (Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 May), consisted of two hour morning workshops, in improvised dance and movement led by Olivia Millard, and entering into a creative state of mind with Peter Trotman.

Presenters included; Dianne Reid and Mel Smith, Dani Cresp, Paul Roberts, Andrew Morrish, Shaun McLeod, and from South Australia – Cinzia Schincariol and myself, Matt Shilcock. Cinzia and I performed Scomodo (the Italian word for ‘uncomfortable’), a 10 minute improvised dance performance based around the task of dismantling and exploring components of a wheelchair, layered with the question “where do I place myself?”

Our performance was well received, but the real value of attending this conference is the inspiration that gets soaked up from being in a room full of wonderful and creative people, many whom were holding, or currently studying PhDs! Some of the many powerful presentations we witnessed included a duo between Dianne Reid (Hipsync, AUS) and Mel Smith, dancer, film maker and writer; titled Unbecoming – blurring boundaries without burning bridges.

For those who don’t know, Mel is a leading advocate for disability in art. She dances with cerebral palsy and incorporates wheelchairs and speaking aid devices with contact improvisation. Dianne is a choreographer, dancer and filmmaker under her company name Hipsync.

The attendance of Cinzia Schincariol and Matt Shilcock at the Little CONference was supported by Arts SA through the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability program.