Lucy Guerin Studio tour (accessible)

Exterior

A 360-degree panorama of a red brick single-storey building with a gravel car park. A ramp leads up to the entrance of the building with the number 28 and the words Lucy Guerin Inc. visible to the right of the front door. The recital room, which is visible form the car park, has a gable roof. There are several cars parked in the car park, which extends to a road. A large crane amidst several industrial building can be viewed on the far side of the road.

Welcome

Lucy Guerin Inc’s white-type logo affixed to the brick facade of the West Melbourne studio.

Entrance to the former Lucy Guerin Inc studio at 28 Batman St, West Melbourne, as seen in June of 2018

Welcome to the former West Melbourne headquarters of Australian contemporary dance company Lucy Guerin Inc. You can explore the studio by hovering over the navigational drawer at the top left of the page. Click on your chosen location to see a 360-degree view of the space. You can also navigate between locations by clicking the arrows at the bottom left of the screen.

By clicking on the icons you will be given information about the history of the building, the company and the work that has been made here. Within each pop-up window there are a number of tabs you can access through the explorer bar at the top of the page.

The images, videos and audio material are drawn from the Lucy Guerin Inc archives, which you can explore in more depth at the Theatre and Dance Platform, University of Melbourne Library.

A map showing the three previous locations of Lucy Guerin’s Studios throughout Melbourne.

Map showing the locations of the Lucy Guerin Inc studios since 2002.

Lucy Guerin Inc moved to its West Melbourne studio space from the company's original home in a small studio at 57 Miles Street, Southbank, in 2006.

Then, in July 2018, after more almost twelve years, Lucy Guerin Inc pulled up sticks and moved to a newly renovated warehouse space, WXYZ Studios, in North Melbourne.

The new venue is larger and also offers more security. The building at 28 Batman Street is subject to a demolition clause and given the rapid redevelopment of West Melbourne there’s no telling how much longer the little hall at 28 Batman Street will be left standing.

A sunny photograph of the small red brick courtyard at the back of the studio. It features a large shrub and black iron barred windows.

The narrow courtyard at the rear of the building. The recital hall is on the right, the administrative offices are through the door at the opposite end of the yard. There is also a water feature.

The four-room red-brick hall with vaulted timber-panelled ceilings was previously an Anglican Sunday school, part of the complex of buildings associated with St James Old Cathedral on the corner of Batman and King Streets. It has also been an Anglicare call centre and a graphic design studio.

Dance studios often take up residence in industrial or warehouse spaces in the inner city. Lucy Guerin's company is no exception, having moved from south to west to north of the central business district.

Lucy Speaks

Interview with Lucy Guerin on 18 July 2018 at the Lucy Guerin Inc Studios, 28 Batman Street, West Melbourne.

Lucy on Tour

Four men dressed in casual street cloths stand in a black room. A thin white tapped border surrounds them, two of the men are mid jump.

Promotional image for Lucy Guerin's Untrained for the 2012 season at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Photo: original ‘Untrained’ artists.

Lucy Guerin Inc was established in Melbourne in 2002 not only as a vehicle for Lucy Guerin to create new dance works but also to tour them – both nationally and internationally. The company has one of the busiest schedules among contemporary dance companies in Australia with new and repertoire works regularly touring through North America, Europe and Asia.

A black and white scan of a film negative shows nine scenes capturing three women in various expressive poses.

Contact sheet from photoshoot for Lucy Guerin's Two Lies (1996) with performers Lucy Guerin, Rebecca Hilton, Ros Warby. Photos: John Elbers.

Guerin’s work has always appealed to a broad international audience. Her first steps as a choreographer were taken in New York and she won a coveted Bessie there in 1996 for Two Lies. Also in 1996 she toured Solemn Pink and Incarnadine to the Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in France, where she won the Prix d'auteur.

A simple world map shows various pins in North America, Europe and Australia.

Map showing the cities where Lucy Guerin's Weather (2012) has performed. From the Theatre and Dance Portal.

More recently, works such as Structure and Sadness Untrained, Weather, Conversation Piece and Attractor have crisscrossed the world, appearing at major events along the way such as the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshires, the Noorderzon Festival in Norway and the Aarhus Festival in Denmark. In 2017 alone the company performed 42 shows in 10 cities around the world.

In the map above you can see the tour itinerary of Lucy Guerin's Weather (2012). Find out more about Weather's European and North American tours and view a selection of souvenirs.

Common Area

A 360-degree panorama of a room with red brick walls and a timber floor and ceiling.
  In the centre of the room in a long wooden table surrounded by eight chairs. In one of the corners of the room is a small kitchenet. There are a number of posters on each of the walls and the room is skirted with storage containers. An open door is visible leading to a room with vinyl flooring.

Community and Classes

Three woman look to the top right of the frame with their hands out stretched. Lucy is right of frame directs their movements.

Promotional image for Lucy Guerin's The Dark Chorus (2016) showing Stephanie Lake, Lilian Steiner and Jessie Oshodi with Lucy Guerin in the West Melbourne studio. Photo: Gregory Lorenzutti.

The West Melbourne studio was not only a rehearsal space and administrative base for Lucy Guerin Inc. It was also the centre of a community, with people coming and going from morning until late at night. The venue hosted a busy schedule of dance and yoga classes taught by current and former company members and guests. It provided a space for workshops, masterclasses, artist talks, forums, discussion groups and showings by emerging artists. And it was also available for hire for rehearsals.

Prue Lang and Jana Perkovic sit amongst twenty onlookers in the brick walled, black linoleum floored, recital room at Lucy Guerin’s West Melbourne Studio.

Choreographer Prue Lang and critic Jana Perkovic at a Critter event. Photo: Bryony Jackson.

Lucy Guerin Inc used its West Melbourne base as a venue for programs aimed at sharing knowledge and resources within the dance community. Such programs included a series of residences allowing emerging choreographers to make new work and the appointment of an annual resident director. Many of these activities continue at the new WXY Studio space in North Melbourne.

Interview with Ashley McLellan on 18 July 2018 at the Lucy Guerin Inc Studios, 28 Batman Street, West Melbourne.

Human Interest Story

Three dancers dressed in black tight fitting work out clothes fill a stage. The two on the left are crouched and stare into the camera, the third is blurred with movement. In the background a tank fades into darkness.

Talitha Maslin, Alisdair Macindoe and Stephanie Lake in Lucy Guerin's Human Interest Story. Photo: Jeff Busby.

Human Interest Story was commissioned by the Perth International Arts Festival and the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne where it premiered in 2010. It's an ambitious work that riffs on the affective impact of news media on our daily lives. Does the deluge of information about the world coming at us from all sides make us more connected or more empathetic? Or does it only desensitise us to the suffering of others?

A woman in plain street clothes has her fist raised physically threatening a man whos cowering in fear. A man and a woman are rushing toward the violent scene. The scene is a drab suburban car park.

From an informal photoshoot at LGI Studio.

While developing the work, Lucy Guerin and her dancers explored every inch of space at the West Melbourne studio, even venturing into the carpark. Human Interest Story is a large-scale work that references big stories such as wars, street protests and natural disasters. But it also touches on the lighter side of the news – celebrity gossip, fads and fashions.

A news anchor dressed in suite and tie, sits at his desk with a blurred featureless blue background.

Screenshot from an in-show newscast featuring Anton Enus.

Among other unusual features the work included a special one-off newscast with SBS newsreader Anton Enus reporting on the personal feelings and mundane events of the ensemble.

Conversation Piece

Rennie McDougall dressed in green sweat shirt speaks into a mobile phone with an expression of displeasure. Harriet Ritchie is also speaking into a phone, she stands assertively beside Rennie.

Rehearsal image of Lucy Guerin's Conversation Piece (2012) featuring dancers Rennie McDougall and Harriet Ritchie. Second-stage creative development at the West Melbourne studio. Photo: Jeff Busby. Theatre and Dance Platform.

Lucy Guerin has always looked for ways to refresh her choreography and to make her work relatable to new audiences. For Conversation Piece, which premiered in 2012, Lucy Guerin was invited to make a work that involved dancers and actors. A prominent feature of the work was its use of the ubiquitous iPhone. The phones were used to play music, record conversations and even synthesise musical instruments.

A close-up of a woman smiling, accompanied by bold green text reads: 'Three Actors. Three Dancer. Unpredictable results.'

Promotional postcard featuring Alison Bell for the Belvoir season of Conversation Piece (2012). Theatre and Dance Platform.

Recording of the unscripted and spontaneous conversation used in the performance of Lucy Guerin's Conversation Piece at Belvoir, 15 September 2012. Theatre and Dance Platform.

In bringing together the two groups, Guerin developed a creative process that began with spontaneous conversations. These conversations, different every time, were the core of the show and informed subsequent interactions between dancers and actors. You can hear an excerpt from one of these conversations featuring Rennie McDougall, Alisdair Macindoe and Harriet Ritchie in the media player above.

A scan of an article promoting 'Conversation Piece'. The article written in Czeck and English says
  'Three dancers, three actors, and smartphones... communication is the daily bread of young people surfing the ocean of megabits. But how to sort information? and what happens when it comes to conversing face to face?' To the left of the article is a photo showing four dancers dressed in casual clothes. They are in mid motion in a stark black and white studio.

Tanec Praha (Dance Prague) Festival 2014 Mini Program for Conversation Piece. Theatre and Dance Platform.

After seasons at Belvoir in Sydney and Arts House in Melbourne, the work has since toured to the Czech Republic and Scotland.

Structure and Sadness

Lucy Guerin speaking about Structure and Sadness in front of the West Gate Bridge in 2011 to promote the company's tour to Edison Theatre, St Louis. Theatre and Dance Platform.

Structure and Sadness is inspired by the tragic West Gate Bridge collapse of 1970. Choreographer Lucy Guerin researched the disaster extensively and used engineering principles like tension, structural strength and gravity to develop a unique movement vocabulary. The dancers push, pull and balance on objects and each other, and even build a large structure that eventually comes crashing down.

Six dancers dressed in khaki and plain-grey clothes fill the image. The stage is matt-grey with a black background. It features an array of lime coloured fluorescent lights arranged in a way that suggests a bridge.

Production Image from the premiere season of Lucy Guerin's Structure and Sadness (2006) at the Mathouse Theatre, Melbourne. Photo: Jeff Busby. Theatre and Dance Platform.

The work was critically acclaimed in Australia and internationally. In 2007, Structure and Sadness was awarded a Helpmann Dance Award for Best Dance Work and an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a company.

Two snippets of a newspaper scan are placed on a plain-white background. The left snippet reads
  'Ted gives tour cash THE Premier and Arts Minister, Ted Baillieu, has announced grants of nearly $530,000 for International and regional tours by Victorian artists and productions. Ranters Theatre gets $20,000 to take the show Intimacy to Dublin and then go on to London's National Theatre Studio to develop a new work.

Article about a Victorian government touring grant for Lucy Guerin Inc enabling the company to take Structure and Sadness to the US. Theatre and Dance Platform.

After performances across Australia, Ireland, Germany and the United States, Lucy Guerin and company were awarded a grant from the Victorian Government, which took the work to Edison Theatre in St Louis, Missouri, and the Walker arts Center in Minneapolis in 2011.

It was performed in Minneapolis just four years after the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse, a disaster that killed 13 and injured 145. This gave the work powerful new significance and underlined its ongoing relevance. As the Minnesota Post noted at the time – all that rises must someday come down.

Recital Hall

A 360-degree panorama of a large
  room with red brick walls and a gable wooden roof. The room has a black vinyl floor and is entirely empty except for a small table, chair and ladder in one corner and speakers in two other corners. There is a set of three windows at each end of the room. A small courtyard is visible through one set of
  windows while high-rise buildings can be viewed through the other. Wooden beams with florescent lights can be seen supporting the roof.

Collaboration

The torsos of three figures in the act of dancing
  can be seen in the foreground with a forth being obscured by the frame. In the background Rully Sharbara directs the dances movements.

Rully Shabara of Javanese experimental music duo Senyawa with Lucy Guerin, Gideon Obarzanek and performers from Dancenorth rehearsing Attractor (2017). Photo: Gus Kemp.

Over the years, Lucy Guerin has collaborated with a range of artists across multiple disciplines. From visual artists such as Michaela French who provided projections for Aether (2005) and the video material for Melt (2005) to renown Japanese singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and sound artist Haco who provided the soundtrack to Corridor (2008).

Two women pose in the dimly lit recital room at Lucy Guerin’s studio. The figures mimic each other, and their poses suggest movement.

Lilian Steiner and Melanie Lane in rehearsals for Lucy Guerin's Split (2017). Photo: Gregory Lorenzutti.

Underscore for Lucy Guerin's Split (2017) by Scanner.

Lucy Guerin has worked with composers and sound designers such as Robin Fox, Oren Ambarchi, Jethro Woodward and UK multimedia artist Scanner (Robin Rimbaud). With the latter she created Tomorrow (2016), a work commissioned by Rambert in London, and Split (2017), which premiered at the Dance Massive Festival in Melbourne.

A Black and white sketch, made up of nineteen boxes. Each box is subdivided in different ways. There is illegible cursive writing accompanying each box.

Set design sketch by Robert Cousins for Motion Picture (2015). Sketch made on the back of an envelope.

Early in her career the production and design elements in Guerin’s work were relatively minimalist. Since forming Lucy Guerin Inc, however, she has experimented with larger ensembles and more elaborate settings. In that time she has collaborated with the likes of visual artist David Rosetzky and interior designer and architect Donald Holt.

A colour, sketch
  depicts a lady with an afro hairstyle wearing a flowing dress. There are hand written notes accompanying various parts of the drawing.

Costume design for Lucy Guerin's Motion Picture (2015) by Robert Cousins.

Guerin has collaborated with a number of outstanding costume designers over the last two decades, including Harriet Oxley, Shio Otani and Robert Cousins. This sketch is one of Cousins' designs for Motion Picture (2015).

Rehearsal and Development

Lucy Guerin stands in the foreground pointing to her right while talking to somebody outside of the frame on her left. There is a second woman in the background standing with her arms crossed.

Photograph from a 2013 development forMotion Picture (2015). Choreographer Lucy Guerin with dancer Stephanie Lake. Photo: Lachlan Wood.

Having a space of her own has allowed Lucy Guerin to experiment with new ideas in a freedom and fullness that would have been impossible if she was reliant on hired studios and competitive residencies. Having a permanent base in West Melbourne has also allowed her to develop more rigorous training regimes for her dancers while developing new work.

Rehearsal video of Lucy Guerin's Corridor (2008), first-stage development in the West Melbourne studios. Recording made 4 May 2007 with dancers Sara Black, Antony Hamilton, Kirstie McCracken, Byron Perry, Harriet Ritchie, Lee Serle. Theatre and Dance Platform.

The LGI Studios in West Melbourne were the site of some weird and wonderful movement experiments, not only involving the body but also a wide range of multimedia and design elements. Indeed, some of Australia’s most iconic contemporary dance works were first workshopped here. In this clip of a rehearsal video for Corridor (2008) you can see the hall as it appears when the old canteen windows are unboarded.

Several white, helium balloons are dispersed throughout the Lucy Guerin recital room. Each balloon is anchored to the floor with white string and are floating at waist height. A man stands in the middle of the room inspecting
  a balloon.

Photograph from development for Weather (2012) at LGI Studios, West Melbourne. Dancer Alisdair Macindoe and James Shannon experimenting with helium balloons. Theatre and Dance Platform.

During the development of Lucy Guerin's Weather, the ensemble tested the dynamic qualities of plastic bags and balloons using hairdryers. Other items that Guerin brought into the studio include a confetti cannon, large fans and a snow machine. It was all part of her search for ways of making the air itself visible on stage. In the end, only the plastics bags made it to opening night.

A Room of Her Own

Interview with Lucy Guerin on 18 July 2018 at the Lucy Guerin Inc Studios, 28 Batman Street, West Melbourne.

Pieces for Small Spaces

Ashley McLellan kneels on the floor of the studio and arches her torso to the right, placing both hands on the floor.

Ashley McLellan in “Purl”, part of Pieces for Small Spaces 2014. Photo: Gregory Lorenzutti.

The annual Pieces for Small Spaces series offers both emerging and mid-career choreographers the opportunity to make short, site-specific work in the LGI studio. Through this series, guest artists have explored the intimate aspects of choreographic work through choices of lighting design motifs, use of the gaze, idiosyncratic ‘movement’, vocalisation and changes in tempo.

A light-green poster with dark-green text has the words ‘Pieces for Small Spaces’ repeated and dispersed across the page. There are several small circles containing the names each of the dances also dispersed across the page.

Invite to Pieces for Small Spaces 2013.

Pieces for Small Spaces was inaugurated in 2005 while the company was still at its Miles Street base, a much smaller studio space. The annual program continued at the larger West Melbourne studio, although it kept the original name. Almost seventy emerging and independent choreographers have participated in the program, along with many more dancers and other collaborators.

An excerpt of Kristy Ayre performing “Rabbeat”, choreographed by Kristy Ayre and Jo Lloyd at Pieces for Small Spaces 2008.

Pieces for Small Spaces continues at the premises in North Melbourne. Choreographers are offered space to rehearse, mentorship from Lucy Guerin and the company’s executive producer, as well as basic production, administrative and financial support.

Choreographers who have contributed to this series include Helen Herbertson, Rebecca Hilton, Byron Perry, Antony Hamilton, Shelly Lasica, Gerard Van Dyck, Carlee Mellow, Brooke Stamp, Alisdair Macindoe, Natalie Abbott, Holly Durant, Atlanta Eke, Rebecca Jensen, Rennie McDougall and many, many more.

The Studio Reanimated