Margot McCallum │'Assemble_It'
This region where the mountains meet the Murray is a very beautiful region with so much at your fingertips. On a cultural level there is the vibrant multicultural community, wonderful educational centres, a rich creative arts and performing arts community plus commercial centre. Then we have the Hume Weir, the mountains, the Murray River, the Kiewa River, the Mitta River and numerous creeks and waterways. There is the amazing history of gold and the Snowy Mountain scheme. There is the broad acre agriculture as well as the fabulous dairy industry. The first time I came to this region I was 12 years old and I came on a school bus trip. Coming from the Mallee I was astounded by the combination of river and valleys and it was also the first time I saw snow. The view from the Monument was then and is now breathtaking as you can see so far along both the Murray and the Kiewa rivers. I live in the Kiewa Valley and every day I can look out and see this amazing scenery and hear the sounds of the activity of the valley.
A Murray Experience...
The region influences my work in many ways but in particular I have met many wonderful, creative and artistic people working and achieving amazing things from in and around Albury Wodonga. The artists I have met here have been dedicated to their art forms. When I first arrived here I was involved with Leslie Jenkins and Border Ballet and Leslie put together fantastic shows. Leslie involved not only her dance students but their parents and other community members. With Leslie and other local dance teachers I became an active member of Community Dance we ran successful workshops with visiting teachers and choreographers for several years as well as well as a series of master classes for young local students. There were fabulous community dance and drama pieces being created here such as 'River of Islands' and Albury Wodonga Community Dance put on 'Grandpa was a Dago' which was an amazing piece created for the Bonegilla Festival.
This region and the artists who live here continue to inspire me because they are so passionate about their art. It is a vibrant creative community.
The Working Life...
What are you working on at the moment? What themes have you explored?
We have just performed our show 'Take the Floor' at the Jazz Basement and it was a great success. We had a capacity audience at our evening show and over 40 at our afternoon show. 'Take The Floor' is a Triple Bill with three 10 – 15 minute pieces. Our opening piece was called 'Walls' and we loosely explored the ideas of barriers and being impeded by walls. And of course breaking through barriers and opening up new opportunities is what the group is all about. Being 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down was a nice coincidence. Our second piece was called 'Hugs'. It started with that very introspective action where you give yourself a hug and then grew into a really beautiful gentle, exploration of movement. The dancers had quite a role in creating this piece as I asked them think of their own movements to weave into the piece. The final piece of the program was 'Jazz' and we used a selection of music from Chicago. The result was so much fun. How can anybody resist dancing to that marvellous music?
Sometimes as with the 'Deni Muster' I was inspired by a young dancer wearing a Deni Muster T-shirt in a ballet class. The antithesis of all things ballet the Deni-Muster was a great theme to explore as it is one of our iconic 'country' festivals. Another piece we did called 'Beasties at the BBQ' was all about a grand final footy BBQ invaded by numerous 'beasties' (ants, flies and mosquitoes) and a giant blow fly.
In the year 2000 some our movements were inspired by the Olympic Games in Sydney.
Sometimes a work just emerges as we experiment with shapes, music, etc. other times I have definite ideas that I want to make happen.
What is your dream project?
...apart from my own grant writing assistant?!
To show this fantastic group of dancers to a wider audience. The dancers are always so inspirational. They never complain and are so obliging that I am sure they can have a role inspiring others.
Work with other local artists and musicians so that we can produce original music scores, choreography and lighting...and continue to grow.