How Antony Hamilton started his dancing career
I don't really decide to do things. Things tend to happen to me. Kind of like happy accidents. I happened to end up in a ballet class when I was 8 years old. But I really got interested in dance enough to work hard at it when I was about 18. The key aspect to this is that it is important to just turn up to class, be in the right place where things can happen, and when you're there, be interested in what's happening. I consider myself still a student, but of my own creative practice. That is the way learning happens. The student teaches oneself through inquisitiveness.

The difference to be a dancer and a choreographer
It is always about one’s own perspective of the situation. I would say that many aspects of being a dancer or choreographer or both are the same on each project, but by the same token, it is also different form project to project. Whether dancing or choreographing or both, one of the main things I have been attracted to philosophically, is letting go of authorship of the work. Whether performing or making work, I try to let myself be servant to the work, not the master of it. I help 'it' happen, but I try not to have too much desire of how things should be in the work. It is challenging, because someone must decide how the work will be, how it will exist, but part of what it will be should be free, and unknown even to the maker.


The influence of Michael Jackson and other pop culture elements.
Quite simply, I grew up in the 80's and 90's, and was heavily into Michael Jackson and a lot of hip hop. I was a b-boy for quite a few years, so hip hop and Michael Jackson have both respectively influenced my movement language heavily. Black Project 1 isn't specifically influenced by Michael Jackson, but coincidentally from the fact that my particular choreographic grammar is. In the post modernist world, I think it is fairly inconsequential where influences come from (be they pop or other), and in that sense, my work responds to culture at large, and draws influence from innumerable sources.

The experiences of staying abroad
The most important aspect of being abroad studying or as a resident artist, has been to be removed from what is familiar. In that sense, it is less about what is gained, but more so what you are relieved of- comforts, familiarity, the social structure of your little world, and so on. When away from these things, it is easier to be self- reflective, to start again with nothing. Old truths fall away, and you are allowed to discover new pathways in life and art.

The repetition of the physical movement in Antony Hamilton’s works
I guess it is an important theme in my artistic expressions, but it's more about drawing attention to the impossibility of repetition- that things are in fact different every time, changed by the nature of their duration, the effect of fatigue, our perception of time passing etc. Another important related aspect of my work is the cyclic nature of things, which is a reality that is often hard to deal with in a theatrical situation, because of the fixed time of a show. I am interested in no beginning, middle or end.

The use of music, sound, video, and projection in Antony Hamilton’s works.

 

It is like a kind of alchemy. As I said before, I try to guide the work, and be it's servant in some ways. The use of video and sound in my work has always been a challenge, and I have always tried to make them seamlessly blend with the choreography, so that the 'dance' is in no way a dominant feature, but just part of a more complex scheme.

The production process of BLACK PROJECT I & BLACK PROJECT II. 


With Black Project 1, I was interested in this meshing of the body with it's environment, hence the single tonality that blankets the space and body, making them one. Black Project 2 extends on this premise, but looks at the body even more as vessel for something other- non-human. We worked with the idea that the 6 bodies are one, yet can be divided between the singular and the gathered mass, forming a new complete whole. Design elements are all very important to articulate these ideas. Costume plays a very significant role in Black Project 2 to assist the image of bodies messing together, where we can not tell where one body ends and the next one begins. Lighting in both works is entirely projected. This was necessary to create the pure atonal white light that can be harnessed and controlled to frame the space. In Black Project 1 it's particularly important to give the space a sense of instability. It is a non-fixed, always transient environment. So having created Black Project 1, Black Project 2 needed to have the same palette and energy, but exploring a slightly different situation.

The collaboration with Melanie Lane in BLACK PROJECT.
Melanie and I studied together at WAAPA in Perth. Since then, we have both been making work from opposite sides of the world, but had always shared an interest in similar choreographic ideas- the body interfacing with materials, objects etc. So while Black Project 1 was created by me, Melanie's sensitivity to understanding the properties and potential of the different materials we work with in the piece was integral to it's creation.

The “darkness” in BLACK PROJECT.
It's less about dancing in the dark. I discovered in fact that by reducing the tonal palette, and making everything black, we instead are able to focus even more on detail, than if we were distracted by contrast. The black actually seems to make everything even more visible than before.

Antony Hamilton’s future projects.

Black Project was completed with Black Project 3, a work for 22 dancers which premiered in France in 2010 with the Lyon Opera Ballet. My current project is a remount of a commission I made two years ago for Chunky Move. The work is called Keep Everything, and it explores humanism, evolution, symbolism, language and mythology.