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The Critical Conversations series provides four opportunities across the second half of 2021 for a discussion on critical artistic themes amongst peers – local, national, international members of the dance community and the public.

Three sessions will be curated by ADT, and one session is open to individuals and collectives to nominate a theme or idea they wish to discuss and explore with others. All sessions are free to attend and will take place at ADT’s home, The Odeon in Norwood, Adelaide.

To read about previous sessions, please visit this page.



13 November 2021
Time: 5:00 – 6:30pm
Location: The Odeon, 57A Queen Street, Norwood SA 5067
Title: Queer Performance as Resistance
Presented by ADT’s International Centre for Choreography as part of FEAST

Image (c) Liz Ham


Queer Performance as Resistance is a round table conversation inviting artists to talk about the political underpinning of their practice. The panel will be facilitated by the Garry Stewart, Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre. The interstate speakers are Mathew Bergan, the director of Dancing Warrior Yoga, speaking on queer identity and healing. Emma Maye Gibson who engages her body as a medicinal site of performative catharsis and pleasure. Mandeep Raikhy, a choreographer based out of New Delhi, leads with the notion of queer intimacy as an embodied mode of political engagement.

Speakers from Adelaide are Virginia Barratt a researcher, artist, writer and performer and dance-maker Daniel Jaber.  Daniel is interested in the transmittance of energy between performer and audience to champion empathy, equality and self-reflection. He will share his passion for honest story-telling about connection, experience, desire and vulnerabilities through the visceral and kinetic.  Virginia Barratt is a researcher, artist, writer and performer living and working on unceded Kaurna Land. They are completing a PhD at Western Sydney University’s Writing and Society Centre. Virginia’s doctoral research is an auto-theoretical and experimental exploration of the marginalised body living with/in panic, and the phenomenological, affective and political agencies of that embodiment. This research takes place through the methods of performance, experimental poetics and vocals. Over three decades, Barratt has been instrumental in developing critiques around gender politics and the digital realm, gaining recognition as a pioneer of the cyber-feminist movement in the early ‘90s as founding member of the collective VNS Matrix.

Mathew Bergan, since 2000 Bergan has been running Dancing Warrior Yoga in Sydney, directing yoga teacher training programs & workshops. Prior, he was a dancer & choreographer in London and Australia. Bergan has a BA in film & cultural studies from UTS. He has written & produced his own full-length show, Tales of Helpmann, later adapted into Lyrebird and staged by Sydney Theatre Company. He co-curated Anti-Static Dance Festival, with The Performance Space, Sydney, premiering international dance artist. He has written & choreographed his own dance films for ABC & SBS TV: The Father is Sleeping, Body Corporate & Resonance. He has been the recipient of artist development grants from the Churchill Fellowship, the Australian Council for the Arts, NSW Ministry for the Arts for shows including Dance Camp, Pendulum, Boys Toys and Freud, Club Bent, Resonance and Scary Kiss.

Emma Maye Gibson (AKA Betty Grumble) is a Warrang/Sydney based performance artist. Largely through the avatar/war mask/love letter/critter of Grumble she engages her body as a hopeful and medicinal site for catharsis and pleasure. Often moving in a genre smash of ritual theatre, autobiography, cabaret, performance art and multi-media, she is a proud ecosexual and believes in art as an action of her spirituality. She has her Masters in Fine Arts/Arse and has presented work at The Sydney Opera House, Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe, Perth & Adelaide Fringes, The Melbourne Comedy Festival, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Belvoir St Theatre, The Bearded Tit, Red Rattler Theatre, OUTsider Festival (Austin,Texas), MoMA (NYC), Joe’s Pub (NYC), The Glory (London), LiveWorks, AsiaTOPA, Dark Mofo, Mona Foma, Berlin Fringe and beyond. She believes in the flesh riot and is currently engaged in developing a new work under the guidance of mentors Annie Sprinkle, Elizabeth Burton and Victoria Spence. Major works include: Sex Clown Saves The World, Love & Anger, The Unshame Machine, Grumble n’ Friends, Grumble Boogie, Goddess – The Elizabeth Burton Story & Enemies of Grooviness Eat Shit.

Daniel Jaber, born in Nairne, in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, Daniel is of Lebanese and Maori cultural heritage.
Jaber joined the ADT in 2004 under the direction of Garry Stewart. He has toured the world extensively with the company and participated in the creation of new work as well as performing repertoire works including: HELD, Nothing, Birdbrain, The Age of Unbeauty, Devolution, G, Proximity, North/South and Anthology. In 2013, Stewart commissioned Jaber to create his first full-length work, Nought. Nought was subsequently nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Choreography in a Dance or Physical Theatre Work and received several accolades in the Dance Australia critics survey awards, including Most Outstanding Choreography and Best New Work. In 2014 he premiered two new works at the Adelaide Festival Centre, in 2015 was creative director of Dance Hub SA creating a solo work for performer Kialea-Nadine Williams and spent 2015-20 freelancing as a choreographer and guest tutor at colleges and universities around the world. His credits include; Australasian Dance Collective, QUT, New Zealand School of Dance, Houston Ballet 2, Qantas, Dance Moms and Dubai Festival. He returned to ADT as a company dancer in 2021 while perusing choreographic investigations and initiating projects for performance in SA.

Mandeep Raikhy is a dance practitioner with a particular interest in exploring the intersections between dance creation, performance, research, and pedagogy. He began studying jazz at age19 at the Danceworx, New Delhi, and his subsequent interest in contemporary dance took him to London where he completed a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at Laban. He toured with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, London between 2005 and 2009. Mandeep has created several dance works, notably Inhabited Geometry (2010), a male ant has straight antennae (2013), and Queen-size (2016) and Anatomy of Belief (2019). These works have travelled across the country and internationally over the years including Kampnagel, South Bank Centre, and Singapore International Arts Festival. Between 2009-2019, Mandeep has been Managing Director at Gati Dance Forum, where he has worked to develop a supportive environment for contemporary dance in the country through projects as diverse as residencies, festivals, publications, and advocacy initiatives. He has been teaching as an assistant professor at the MA Performance Practice (Dance) at Ambedkar University, Delhi, since 2018. Mandeep is currently on a year-long road trip across India engaging with the question of the secular through conversations, choreographic collaborations and performative interventions in public spaces.






Main image above left (c) Sven Kovac