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Neighbourhood Media x SDC New Breed – Jenni Large Q&A

Tell us a bit about yourself:

“My name is Jenni Large. I'm currently based in lutruwita, Tasmania. I'm a performer, choreographer, rehearsal director, and teacher. I studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and have worked independently and with various companies around Australia.”

Your recent works have examined the female experience and body in relation to capitalism and consumerism, will these themes appear in your new work?

“For New Breed 2022 I have been sourcing inspiration from vampire culture. It has led me down a path that includes the work of Mary Shelley (Author of Frankenstein and the ‘mother of horror’) and the film adaptations of Dracula over the years. I’m drawn to the drama, suspense, tension, grit, desire, sexuality, obsession and grief. For me, vampires represent vital social deviance and are a relatable embodiment of transgression. In literature and popular culture, vampires are often used as a sexual metaphor and depicted as sexually ‘overt’ and ‘deviant’. Throughout history vampires and horror characters have served as vehicles of expression for queer culture and sexual oppression. Horror exploits our primordial predisposition to fear otherness. And yet, I think the genre’s cult followings show that we identify with ‘villains’ and ‘monsters’. We’ve all felt victimized and isolated for our differences, and paradoxically, this is what connects us.”

How does your creative practice reflect your individual experiences?

“The themes and movement vocabulary of my recent works, this one included, share a distinct sexual expression and entertainment value. Maybe a rejection of post modernism, and definitely a revival of the reasons I came to dance in the first place. As a struggling teenager, dance was my vehicle for expression and quite literally, a saving grace. I wasn’t cognisant of that at the time, but now and particularly as a freelance artist, I make conscious effort to stay connected to these core values. The miraculous ever-changing body, movement, creativity, expression, collaboration and the non-linear continue to play an important role in how I process life’s challenges. There are undoubtedly parallels between why I’m obsessed with dance and why I’ve chosen to explore horror/vampires in this work. Dance is my vehicle for expression and vampires are a tool for expressing the repressed.”

How do you approach your audience?

“I want to let audiences in, live art exists because of our audiences. I hope to create work that is both entertaining and challenging, I want the viewer to feel connected and included even if they don’t fully ‘understand’. Accepting that our intellect can’t fully comprehend the experience of dance/dancing is powerful and freeing.”

Will this opportunity change anything for you?

“This is my first choreographic commission of this scale - I’m scared and thrilled! It's an honour to be a part of New Breed 2022. I'm really ecstatic to be among such amazing other choreographers and the chance to collaborate with the incredible dancers and artists at Sydney Dance Company is going to be a thrill.”

Since 2014, 34 emerging choreographers have created dynamic, vibrant and thrilling works on the Company as part of New Breed. With four world premieres from four rich choreographic voices, New Breed 2022 will return to Carriageworks for its ninth edition from November 30 – December 17. This unmissable program is made possible with the generous support of The Balnaves Foundation.


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