Dnacer and choreographer Fleur de Thier has never been shy about taking risks in her work – but her new project is perhaps one of the more riskier she’s undertaken.
The Leap Project is a new dance company designed to put together shows quickly, with minimal funding, with a host of dancers and creatives who may never have worked together before.
“There’s an overseas company called Frantic Assembly that I knew about and they get people from all around the world and get dancers together for five days and make a show – and I’ve always really loved this idea – so I put together ‘The Leap Project’,” says Fleur. “It means I can put shows together in a short time, and use dancers who may be travelling through the city who want to be part of it and the amazing thing is, no performance is exactly the same.”
The Leap Project makes its debut this Sunday At Lyttelton Arts Factory as part of a fundraiser benefit for Ukraine.
The show – Finding Light – has had just two rehearsals and is very much a collaborative piece.
“I haven’t taught a single step. I’ve created a movement language so all the dancers are operating in the same space and I’ve given a beginning and ending but the rest of the show is made up by the dancers.”
There is some risk in this, but Fleur has no concerns about the talent of the six dancers and the one musician on stage.
“It was a little bit scary going into something like this, but I just had to be open to the process. The dancers are amazing. When we did our first run through and they did the opening, I burst into tears it was so cool,” she says. “Yes, there is a risk, but it’s a calculated one, and it helps if the audience is aware of what the project is so they know that what is happening is happening in the moment.”
The Leap Project is unique in that it doesn’t rely on funding, which can be a major obstacle for choreographers wanting to stage their own shows. The cost of production can be prohibitively expensive – paying dancers for five-week rehearsal periods, – as well as all the other associated production costs.
With Finding Light the box office is divvied up between all the participants and it means Fleur can have more dancers on stage than she would normally have.
Even the score is collaborative – Dylan Howes is providing the music for the show.
“I heard him busking outside the Lyttelton supermarket,” says Fleur. “I didn’t quite know what his music was like, other than what I’d heard outside the supermarket, so we had to really work together as we went along to see what sound matched what movement. But it all fell into place really easily.”
Finding Light is a reflective piece on the last couple of years.
“For me it’s just a piece reflecting on what’s happened over the last while. Performing arts have taken such a hit and so many of us have had cancelled shows, that it felt like this was a way to look at what feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just a great way to celebrate goodness.”
There are two opportunities for audiences to catch Finding Light – this Sunday’s show at LAF and another performance on May 14.
100% of the proceeds from Sunday’s show will go to Ukraine.
Dancers who wish to be involved with The Leap Project can contact Fleur at: