Pieces for Small Spaces is a performance program that Lucy Guerin Inc has produced annually between 2005-2017. In 2019, the program was renamed Pieces.
It aims to support the work of emerging choreographers and those working outside funded company structures. Each year, five choreographers are invited to create a short dance work of five to ten minutes, with the aim of developing their choreographic ideas and their own personal approach to the choreographic process.
Deanne Butterworth (2010) Image: Byron Perry
Pieces for Small Spaces - Background & Format
For Lucy, Pieces for Small Spaces developed out of a desire to give new choreographers the opportunity to find their voice as artists through experimenting with movement in a supportive environment.
The choreographers are given complete freedom to explore their ideas and to develop their work however they choose, without financial pressure and with the support and advice of established professionals. They are provided with space to rehearse at the Lucy Guerin Inc studio, mentorship from Lucy and the company’s executive producer, and basic production, administrative and financial support.
The completed works are performed for audiences over several nights in December each year at the Lucy Guerin Inc studio. The works are as diverse and unique as the participants themselves: from those that inspire and amuse audiences, to those that unsettle or mystify.
Gerard Van Dyck (2008) Image: Byron Perry
Following one night of these performances, a feedback session is held with peers and audience members, providing a unique opportunity for the choreographers to have their work seen and critiqued by those in the dance industry. However, critics are asked not to publish formal reviews of the works, to ensure that choreographers do not feel pressured, but free to experiment and explore.
The focus is on the developmental process, rather than the success of the finished work.
For numerous Pieces for Small Spaces choreographers, their involvement in the program has opened up further opportunities. Nine choreographers who presented work in Dance Massive 2013 were previously involved in Pieces for Small Spaces, and many have gone on to be supported by Next Wave through the Kickstart, Jump and Festival artists programs.
Benjamin Hancock (2009) Image: Byron Perry
Each year, Lucy Guerin Inc. approaches Pieces for Small Spaces in a new and fresh way. Some programs have had a clear overarching theme, while others are loosely drawn together through a design element, such as lighting. However, few limits are placed on the program, with the main focus on encouraging the choreographers to explore their own particular interest and inspiration.
The program won the 2007 Green Room Award for Best Concept and Realisation. It has developed into an exciting annual event on the Melbourne dance calendar, and continues to attract strong interest and support from the community.
Lucy is particularly proud of this program, as it, “bridges the step from dancer to choreographer, which can be confronting for many artists. Pieces for Small Spaces is an investment in a compelling and surprising future for dance” (Lucy Guerin, Facebook, 2012).
Carlee Mellow (2008) Image: Byron Perry
Pieces for Small Spaces - A Short History
Pieces for Small Spaces began in the original home of Lucy Guerin Inc – a small studio in Miles Street, Southbank. The choreographers creatively used whatever space was available to them, from the corridor to the bathroom, and even a dirt mound located outside the building, where dancers performed while the audience looked on from the windows inside.
The program was curated by Lucy Guerin from 2005 to 2011. Since 2011, guest co-curators have been invited to work with Lucy and have included Antony Hamilton (2012 & 2014), Stephanie Lake (2013) Melanie Lane (2015), Jo Lloyd (2016), Prue Lang (2017) and Mariaa Randall (2017).
It has been variously produced by Claire Bradley Duke, Michaela Coventry, Laura Levitus, Tegan Nash and Annette Vieusseux and is supported by generous sponsors.
Timothy Walsh (2013) Image: Byron Perry
Pieces for Small Spaces Choreographer Alumni:
2005: Byron Perry, Antony Hamilton, Shannon Bott, Kyle Kremerskothen, Jo Lloyd & Adam Wheeler
2006: Trevor Patrick, Helen Herbertson, Rebecca Hilton, Shelly Lasica & Michelle Heaven
2007: Lee Serle, Stephanie Lake, Amber Haines and Lily Paskas, Rob McCredie & Antony Hamilton and Rogue
2008: Kristy Ayre, Gerard Van Dyck, Sara Black, Harriet Ritchie and Rob McCredie & Carlee Mellow
2009: Brooke Stamp, Fiona Bryant, Alisdair Macindoe, Benjamin Hancock & Luke Smiles
2010: Tim Darbyshire, Deanne Butterworth, Matthew Day, Amber Haines & Frankie Snowdon
2011: Natalie Abbott, Holly Durant, Atlanta Eke, Rebecca Jensen & Rennie McDougall
2012: Ashley Dyer, Shian Law, Janine Proost, Lilian Steiner & James Welsby.
2013: Luke George, Sarah Aiken, Rebecca Hilton, Michaela Pegum & Timothy Walsh.
2014: Alice Dixon, Melissa Jones, Melanie Lane, Prue Lang & Ashley Mclellan
2015: James Batchelor, Tessa Broadby, Amber McCartney, Emily Robinson & Carly Sheppard
2016: Lz Dunn, Angela Goh, Leah Landau, Chad McLachlan & Sandra Parker
2017: Nana Biluš Abaffy, Amrita Hepi, Rheannan Port, Mariaa Randall & Yumi Umiumare
Lead image: Mariaa Randall (2017) Image: Bryony Jackson