About Jonathan’s Residency

I Am Carisma is an evolution of my practice mixing musical, emotional, and anatomical. My love for somatics, mental health and street dance all co-exist in this Moving Forward residency. I hope in this residency to orchestrate a symphony of limbs that emerge from dancers moving to the same rhythms but never in the same quality, providing an almost impressionistic unison.

I am keen to explore the messiness of audience participation as I Am Carisma explores the beauty of many variables being negotiated, and the audience, cast, and crew have equal control. I Am Carisma celebrates the magic of coincidence—for the dancers and the audience in real-time. It spotlights the messiness of growing up; embraces the accidental, and finds inspiration from the banal episodes of life. The possibility of success and failure in this task is what makes I Am Carisma special. Life is messy; it can succeed or fail. Choreographed failure can be beautiful to watch, for it is the failure and successes that make life what it is. This work has taught me to honour dance improvisation and the joy of risk. Sitting here in the studio with Maude Davey, I talked about how Andrew Morrish reminds me to practice around the score, not directly on it. The beauty of improvisation is that is not rehearsed. How do we rehearse around the idea but not the actual work? Single word verbs are our technique to do this. From pounce to tweeze, we take a verb and its subtext to our street dance forms to create something that is truly in the spur of the moment, just like life’s little sync-ups. See our instagram live for more on that!

Join me in this work and play the word game with us. Anyone can join us on stage to create new pathways in Carisma’s life. With each show, we can wonder and daydream if she was still with us, what she would do and what beach she would have retired on.

The social healing and path to recovery is where this work is derived from. Whether that be in large community gatherings or conceptual solo performance, I am always exploring how I help others feel their own emotions more in a way that is empowering and sensitive to the viewer. I Am Carisma is a responsive call to action. It is these calls to action that reminds me why artists do what we do, and align with the ethos of authentic community engagement, achieving my goal of empowering people in these three communities, LGBTQIA+, Youth and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people (CaLD).

Thank you to Lucy and the team at LGI for giving agency to street dancers as we blur the edges of what contemporary dance is.

About the Artists

Jonathan Homsey is a Green Room award winning choreographer and curator working from the positionality of as a Queer Person of Colour based on Wurundjeri country. Originally an award winning dancer for crews during the naughties in Southern California, he is humbled to be a community leader in so called Australia for the past decade galvanising people together to dance. From Footscray Community Arts, Dancehouse to Melbourne Museum, he specalises in platforming Street and Queer dance forms to cultivate empowerment for sexually and ethnically diverse young people. Working across theatre, public and gallery spaces, he is passionate about getting people to feel good from the inside out, whether through witnessing or participating.

Maggie Zhu (also known as Maggz) is a Melbourne based movement / multidisciplinary artist, specialising in waacking – a dance style that originates from predominantly arm movements. Traversing amongst dance battles, live performances, installations and interdisciplinary collaborations with other artists, Maggz aspires to explore the possibilities of art and creativity whilst evoking the beauty of individuality within self and others. She is a poet and performance artist who explores her relationship to place and identity through waacking, a style of street dance made prominent in the 1970s.

Marnie Newton (aka. Milk) is a multi-disciplinary practitioner in both the architectural and dance fields as well as a cofounder of Melbourne’s largest female dance community, Sister Sessions. Trained in classical dance (jazz and tap) for 10 years, Marnie made her transition to Street and Freestyle Dance in the early 2010’s, learning and practicing in multiple styles(Hip hop, locking, breaking and house) before discovering the LGBTQIA dance style and culture of Waacking in mid 2012. Mentored by the only waacker in Melbourne at the time, Andy Kuramoto, Marnie co-founded Melbourne’s first Waacking community, Burn City Waack, which focused on sharing and educating people on Waacking, which has been running for over 8 years.

Coming proudly from Estonia, Kerttu Luik is one of the leading street dancers and dance teachers in the Nordic and Baltic countries). She has travelled the world performing on big stages and competing in world renowned dance competitions. Kerttu has facilitated numerous inspiring and engaging workshops utilising her key skills in different street dance styles. Since 2010, Kerttu has been teaching street dance at the biggest dance schools in the Baltics, JJ-Street Dance Company. She taught over 350 students weekly and has taught 17 new street dance teachers between the years 2010 – 2020. Since 2012 she has been the managing partner in JJ-Street Dance Company, mentoring over 45 teachers and over 1800 students until she moved to Australia in 2020 March.