INTERVIEW: MoveMe Festival 2016 | Laura Boynes for PRAXIS’ Dark Matter


Perth, are you ready to be moved? MoveMe Festival 2016 is nearly upon us, and our city’s stages will be celebrating contemporary dance over four days next week with a range of innovative performances. The program features three works from Perth’s main players in the field of contemporary dance, as well as a range of special and satellite events. Performing Lines WA and PRAXIS will be premiering a new work by choreographer Laura Boynes, visual artist Alexander Boynes and composer Tristen Parr called Dark Matter. Boynes talks about the genesis of the piece and what it’s like to dance with a metric ton of rice.   

Where did the idea for the piece come about? 

Alexander Boynes, Tristen Parr and I were sitting around at Easter time three years ago, talking about our careers and dreams. We all expressed that we were feeling that something was missing from our practices and it struck us that we should create something together. Having had similar experiences working in indigenous communities and with refugees we felt that there were a number of issues that we wanted to address in our work and so the concept for Dark Matter was formed.

What have been the best discoveries or surprises in creating the piece?

Since the initial development of Dark Matter the work had evolved to become an abstract, non-linear, non-narrative work. We have created a subculture of sorts with the dancers taking on other-worldly characteristics, meaning they aren’t playing any particular cultural group but are acting as a metaphor for society. The work speaks about environment and climate migration and suprisingly moves through time and space quite rapidly, at times leaving you disorientated. We have also learnt a great deal about the unusual properties of rice.

DARK MATTER Development 2 STCWA, image by PRAXIS
DARK MATTER Development 2 STCWA, image by PRAXIS

What have been the challenges?

We didn’t start small with this work with numerous set elements and a metric ton of rice! Need I say more..

The rice is a huge burden to move around and to find a home for after the show finishes. Not only that but it is incredibly hard for the dancers to work in. It is like moving around on ice and we have had a few injuries because of it.

What can the audience expect to experience from the work?

Audiences can expect a multi-sensory experience, Dark Matter is a visceral collision of movement, cutting-edge digital projection by Alexander Boynes, a pulsating live score by Tristen Parr and one metric ton of rice. Five of WA’S best dancers shape and are shaped by a new and unfamiliar world and leave the audience questioning their place in the environment.


What does the MoveMe festival mean for the company and for Perth as a whole?

It is a great privilege for PRAXIS to be included in the MOVEME Festival this year alongside Co3, STRUT Dance and many more. An event like this reminds us of the multitude of talent we have here in WA and the festival is a brilliant showcase of what the state has to offer in dance. The five days of MOVEME events will not only entice dance lovers but will hopefully see a new audience attending the theatre due to the festival’s diverse programming of work.

Dark Matter runs from 15 – 18 September at The State Theatre Centre WA Studio Underground.

For more information on Performing Lines WA and PRAXIS’s Dark Matter, visit the Performing Lines WA website here. For more information on all festival events, ticketing and to download the festival brochure, visit the MOVEME website here.