Why are you laughing?

The more we worked together in the studio, with the kabuki drop, costume and make-up, things started to evolve in a way that was humorous to us as co-creators. We wanted to capitalise on these ‘funny’ moments as they intuitively emerged during the process without loosing their authenticity. We explored how these moments could exist outside a rehearsal setting and in a performance setting – I was curious as to how the piece would translate and how we should expect the audience to respond to the work once on stage (or if we should expect anything at all). I did some reading into humour in dance works and performance and found a few nuggets in Burrows’ A Choreographer’s Handbook (2010) particularly pertinent. This one helped me understand not to look to the audience to see if they’re rolling around to determine whether they found something ‘funny’ or not:

“Some dance pieces are funny, though laughter is not necessarily proof”

Burrows (2010: 162)

I tried to think critically about the tension and release that Burrows refers to, and how this manifests within Ludo:

“The laughter of a dance performance is a contrary thing, born out of a collision between the tension that arises in the absence of language and the release that comes with anything graspable”

Burrows (2010: 162)

And I held onto where the piece was coming from and what we initially started exploring in terms of social and political themes:

“The important thing is to find balance between allowing the humour, and at the same time letting us know that underlying it there remains a serious proposition”

Adrian Hethfield in Burrows (2010: 161)


(Image sourced via Google search)

We used 60s style images a lot at the beginning of the process as a springboard for movement exploration. The above image featured during a task that led to creation of duets, and we played with deconstructing and reconstructing the image: the dancers always had to come back to this even after they had folded/ fallen/ moved away from it. The dancers movement had to evolve intuitively from this, the source, and were advised that if they hit a ‘block’ then to come back to the original iteration and see what other evolutions might occur.

For each group (the “faces”, “gloves” and “sunglasses”) a constraint was applied:

Faces: This group needed to be aware that their faces will be painted and therefore their face cold not come into contact with each other’s bodies.

Gloves: This group’s constraint was that they were unable to connect hand-to-hand.

Sunglasses: These dancers were unable to make eye contact with one another.

There were general guidelines for the construction of the duets, which included: no unison; dancers allowed to move in and out of contact; keep crafting.

From this, we started to select and refine material that would feature in the final work, alongside the runway walks, beach solos and quartets, and animalistic solos (more on these soon!)


In collaboration with the costume designers and technicians, we decided that using a kabuki would not only be a wonderful and striking opening to the piece but would also form part of a ‘moveable’ set and the male dancer’s costume!

This was taken at the first costume fitting with Dianne Jamieson-Greaves and Aylin Altinelli. The dancer pictured is Demetris Kleanthous.

And the first rehearsal with the Kabuki at Artsdepot Theatre!

First Rehearsal

Sunglasses Group: Megan, Georgina, Emily, Antonia

Gloves Group: Eleanor, Georgia, Beth C, Katie

Faces Group: Elle W, Elle B, Hannah, Beth F


    • Each dancer given an image of a model in 60s fashion
    • Runway/ catwalk improvisation (plain catwalk, with pose, vary pathway)
    • From this devise a walk (choreographed)
    • Create a short movement phrase in response to character. The model’s pose (in the image given) needs to be the starting point of phrase and movement exploration
    • Watch each as a solo
    • In groups of 4 (sunglasses, gloves, faces), teach each other’s solo so have a longer movement phrase as a quartet

By the end of the rehearsal = 12 runway solos + 12 model solos/ 3 quartets.

Snapshot of the cat walking, still in the very early stages of the rehearsal process(!)


Pertinent Quotations

The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and responsibilities that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibilities – John Lennon


In the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes – Andy Warhol