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Liesel Zink takes a stance at APAM

Get ready to see urban spaces transformed and pedestrians engaged when the site-specific dance and sound project The Stance rolls into APAM this month. Produced by one of Australia's most talented choreographers, Brisbane-based Liesel ZinkThe Stance investigates the choreography of bodies in protest through nine dancers who will perform to a live, original sound composition that is transmitted through wireless headphones. We recently spoke with Liesel about her relationship with body politics and public spaces.


What inspires you to create work?

I am inspired by psychology and social psychology research as it stimulates my intellect and encourages me to look at my surroundings in a new and more inquisitive light. I also love seeing the ways in which humans move in and out of urban spaces on both a micro and macro level. As an artist I like to explore how I can bring this everyday choreography to light so that audiences begin to see familiar locations in new ways. Finally, I am driven by a need to create work; to bring to light questions that are relevant and important in our current social political climate.


If you could take time out to travel the world to see art, where would you travel, and why?

I don’t think I could pick just one place to travel to see work…I am open to it all! I particularly see value in having coffee and conversations with like-minded artists from all over the world. It is motivating to feel part of a larger international arts movement.


Where can we see more of your work?

I am working quite a lot between Tasmania and Brisbane this year…but generally you can see my work all around you in public space! I have a particular attraction to working in busy urban spaces because it is such an immediate way to engage with a diverse and expansive audience that you wouldn’t necessarily get access to in a theatre. As part of my practice I like to create, rehearse and perform my works entirely in public space in the eye of the passer by. Not only does this occupy and activate city spaces but it also allows the general public to see artists at work and engage in conversation about artistic practice.

The Stance. Choreography: Liesel Zink. Photography: Fenlan Chuang



What’s the most surprising reaction to your work that you've received?

When rehearsing outdoors in Melbourne a man from the general public sat down next to me and watched a thirty-minute improvisation we were doing. During this time we spoke about what I was exploring, how my research was being translated into dance, how I survived as an artist and how the project was funded. By the end of the conversation he was giving me choreographic advice! It was a small opportunity to have an artistic dialogue with someone who had not been exposed to a great deal of artistic practice. I believe the more the Australian public see and engage with the artistic process the more likely they will grow to accept art as an integral part of Australian culture.


How do you work best? Do you almost create backwards, thinking about how the audience will react and then putting the pieces together?

I work best in conversation with my creative team. I have two key collaborators, Mike Willmett (sound artist) and Martyn Coutts (dramaturge) who push, challenge and question me. Then I bring in dancers who help get my ideas out of my head and into their bodies. I also really enjoy being in conversation with Rohan Kapitany (a psychology researcher) who offers a completely different perspective that can take my work into unexpected territories. I also find working outdoors in the Brisbane sun is a nice way to keep the process joyous.


The Stance. Choreography: Liesel Zink. Photography: Fenlan Chuang


What’s the coolest art tip you’ve ever received?

Don’t make work that is ahead of its time…make work for now.


How would you describe the Brisbane arts scene?

Savvy, bold and hard working… particularly the independent scene, where each individual brings their own unique strength to culminate in a diverse arts scene.


As a Queensland choreographer, what do you hope to achieve by taking part in APAM 2016?

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my work with the broader national and international industry, to instigate conversations with interesting artists and hopefully make connections for new and exciting opportunities.


In 2015 Liesel attended Dance Massive and the National Dance Forum in Melbourne, where she was selected to present her development work for The Stance. You can read about her experience in our Liesel Zink case study

Catch The Stance at APAM on 23 February, 3:00 – 7:00pm (4 hrs) at the Cultural Forecourt, QPAC. Join the conversation via #APAM2016. 

Follow Liesel on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, or visit her website

Check out our other Q&A Profiles with the Queensland artists/companies showcasing at APAM in 2016: Kate McDonald, Luke JaanisteCircaThe Farm.