TALENT: Dancers Jana Castillo and Marnie Palomares rehearsing Off the Record, co-developed by Philip Channells.
TALENT: Dancers Jana Castillo and Marnie Palomares rehearsing Off the Record, co-developed by Philip Channells. GREGORY LORENZUTTI

Local choreographer's inclusive work premieres in Sydney

OFF The Record is the name of the latest dance piece co-developed in Sydney by local choreographer Philip Channells with Carriageworks resident company Force Majeure.

Channells, who lives in Federal, was invited to work with Force Majeure artistic director Danielle Micich in a collaboration piece that includes performers with mixed abilities.

The performers include Melbourne contemporary dancer Jana Castillo; actor and disability advocate Alex Jones from Sydney; Guildford film, television and theatre actor Gerard O'Dwyer; Sydney contemporary dancer Marnie Palomares and actor and Auslan interpreter Neil Phipps, also from Sydney.

Off The Record is the second commission under Carriageworks' National Arts and Disability Strategy New Normal supported by the NSW Government that will have 10 major works over three years developed across contemporary performance, music, dance and visual arts.

Speaking from Sydney during a break between rehearsals, Channells said Off The Record draws inspiration from the lives of its five performers.

Philip Channells has created The Corner Dance Lab in Federal for people of all ages with and without disability. Photo Veda Dente
Philip Channells has created The Corner Dance Lab in Federal for people of all ages with and without disability. Photo Veda Dente

"It questions how much of our true selves we reveal to the outside world and captures moments of the life experiences these people have gone on," he said.

"In moments in the work, it touches on a perspective about people being patronised,and misunderstood. Even us, while workshopping these ideas, realised we were guilty of making misconceptions."

"Carriageworks called me and asked me if I would be interested in being involved in a project with Force Majeure, and I accepted of course.

"We put a call out for artists, because it's rare that a project would engage professional artists with disability. We attracted about 35 people from across NSW and selected five performers who we have been building this show with."

Channells said the work was developed over two weeks last year, and this year the group completed four weeks of rehearsals ahead of this week's premiere season.

Channells has dedicated his career as an artist and choreographer to projects that include dancers with mixed abilities, not only in Federal with Dance integrated Australia but also projects overseas.

The work is having its world premiere season at Carriageworks in Sydney this week.