Dancing with Amplification
Paul Andrew speaks to dancer Brooke Stamp about her role in the hotly anticipated reprise of Ballet Lab’s 1999 opus, Amplification.
What do you love the most about dance as an art form?
It’s an amazing and exciting mystery. When you think back to the first true dance artists, I think it clearly has it’s origins in rebellion and a desire to look towards the future. I love that it’s a form that lingers in the collective conscious of the audience – you can’t keep it, you can’t hang it your wall and you can’t download it as an MP3.
Tell me about your earliest recollection of an enthusiasm for dance?
I’m the perfect cliché when it comes to the early days of my dance life. It was my mother’s vinyl copy of Off the Wall that started it all. I left home at 15 to study at a classical ballet focused school, though I always knew I was not so interested in the convention and tradition of ballet. I’m too inquisitive for that kind of structure and regimen.
What do you do as a dancer – health diet, exercise and so on – to keep your body ‘prepped’ for dance?
I’m not typically concerned with traditional training anymore, I eat well and I practice yoga. I’m somewhat solitary when I enter performance season, it’s about energy conservation so meditation is important.
Amplification returns this month after debuting over a decade ago – tell me a little about the journey of Amplification since it first opened – has this season been updated or altered?
The Malthouse will be the perfectl setting for Amplification. It was performed at the Athenaeum in 1999, and with a few cast changes over the years, the current cast have been working together since 2004. Such is the nature of a work that spans a twelve year history. The most memorable experience of this work for me was a performance in Mongolia in which people arrived from the mountains on horseback to see us. We hooked turntables up to the engine of a bus as a generator, put on our costumes and danced on the side of a mountain.
From the UK and Europe, Asia and to the USA, it’s amazing that the work has been part of our lives for this long; it’s rare in the contemporary dance world to have the opportunity to revisit work in such a way. Amplification is a completely different work to the piece it was in 1999 and it is absolutely illuminating for us all to perform it every time.
How would you describe the choreography to someone who has never experienced contemporary dance before?
I recently watched an interview with Ballard, and loved the purity of his British accent saying “it was a carnival of limbs and torsos” when describing scenes in film inspired adaptations of his work. This is like Amplification. Dancers manipulate one another, it’s the thrashing, throwing, whipping, and manifest adrenalin that is frequently described in this work. It’s a wonderful microscopic look at this history of dance in this country.
Describe Amplification in seven words.
Intense, furious, modernist-sci-fi, epic, sublime, loud, timeless.
MALTHOUSE THEATRE PRESENTS BALLETLAB’S AMPLIFICATION
MARCH 22 – MARCH 26
VENUE: MERLYN THEATRE, THE CUB MALTHOUSE, 113 STURT ST, SOUTHBANK
TICKETS: $21 – $49 + MIN BOOKING FEE $1.50BOOKING INFO: www.malthousetheatre.com.au / 9685 5111