INTERVIEW: MoveMe Festival 2016 | STRUT Dance’s Paul Selwyn Norton for Decadance Perth 2016


Perth, are you ready to be moved? MoveMe Festival 2016 is now upon us, and our city’s stages are celebrating contemporary dance over four days this 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. STRUT Dance will be presenting Decadance Perth 2016, and STRUT director Paul Selwyn Norton tells us why this unique performance is so special. 

Where did the idea for the piece come about? 

Decadance Perth 2016 is the bespoke version of one of Ohad Naharin’s greatest works Decadance, and has been personally designed by Naharin, the director of Batsheva Dance Company, as the culmination of STRUT’s three-year exclusive choreographic training program with Gaga: Ohad Naharin’s Movement Language. Hundreds of independent Australian dance artists from all over the country have participated in STRUT’s Gaga program. Now 16 of those wonderful artists have been selected from across the program to perform in this unique event.

Paul Selwyn Norton

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

It has been a beautiful experience to watch these artists from every walk of life come to Perth for especially this event. Decadance is usually quarantined to major dance organisations, but, through the generosity of Ohad Naharin, has become available to the Australian independent sector.

A world first – these dance artists realise that they are involved in something benchmark and unique.

Creating transformative and impactful experiences for artists and audiences are the aspect of this job, directing STRUT, that I find utterly satisfying!

We are all blessed every day.

What have been the challenges?

STRUT is a small organisation with a big vision and working with global brands and world’s best practice takes a truckload of love, magic and muscle. Since we are not a dance company with a fixed ensemble, programs like Gaga are essential to STRUT’s national mandate. However we are very fortunate to have an incredible staff and board, plus a very loyal membership, all who are dedicated to both our internationally benchmarked program and our mission to make Perth a beacon of opportunity, aspiration and excellence for all dance artist across the nation.

What can the audience expect to experience from the work?

Decadance Perth 2016 is an unashamedly joyous celebration of dance. It just too easy to fall in love with it as it really punches you right in the heart.

I think the New York Times quote sums it up the best:

“Beauty and ugliness, refinement and vulgarity, tribal urgency and individual will, humor and sadness: all are present, sometimes simultaneously, in Decadance

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

All the WA dance organisations are coming together to unite in this Festival. It is a celebration of the capacity of WA to deliver dance that resonates from Perth but has a national and international resonance.


Decadance Perth 2016 runs from 15 – 17 September at the Heath Ledger Theatre.

For more information on the piece, visit the STRUT Dance website here. For more information on all MOVEME Festival events, plus tickets and a digital brochure, visit the program website here.