Lizzie Thomson

It is only the work that matters but, finally, the work is only there to lead us in search of it. [1]

As I write this editorial, the eight choreographic works commissioned for this year’s Keir Choreographic Award are yet to meet their audiences. For these future spectators, the works might be quietly registering in the periphery of their minds as formless states of potential and anticipation…or simply as a date in their busy virtual calendars. Sitting here now, I imagine these works existing in various stages of development. I imagine each group of artists occupied by their evolving processes of decision-making, filled with the presence of various histories, cultural values and habits, as well as engaged in strategies for working with or against these forces. I imagine how each work deals with the politics and poetics of bodies (that are also people) moving in space (that is also place).  I imagine how they are consciously or unconsciously grappling with the reality of living and working within the context of ongoing colonialism on unceded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ lands.

This issue brings together writers and artists to consider dance from the perspective of choreographic processes. An emphasis on process reminds us that dance exists in perpetual formation. And although Yvonne Rainer famously stated, my body remains the enduring reality, this enduring reality is one of constant change.[2] This issue’s foregrounding of process provides insight into particular aspects and moments of creation that the spectator may not usually be privy to when viewing a work at its later stages of performance. But of course, a choreographic process does not just pertain to the creative process in the lead up to a performance, nor does it only belong to the work of the artist/performer. It extends into the creative processes employed by spectators during (and after) their live negotiation of a work. If dance exists as perpetual formation, then the most crucial process needed to engage with it is one that is perpetually reformed.

Through the mediums of text, moving image and drawing, the contributions in this issue call attention to dance’s capacity to wilfully reimagine the political and aesthetic dimensions of our current enduring reality.



This issue was put together with the support of Carriageworks and the Keir Foundation as part of The Carriageworks Keir Choreographic Awards Public Programs. Special thanks to Katrina Noorbergen who initiated the project and worked tirelessly to make it happen. Thanks go to the Keir Choreographic Awards semi- finalists who opened their process and rehearsals to the issue’s artists and writers. The issue would not exist without the work of the contributors, Runway’s board, the issue’s managing editor Sarinah Masukor, editorial assistants Kathleen Linn and Tessa Rex, and Runway’s web designer Andrew Robards. Thankyou.


Pop-up windows by Sarah Rodigari and Brian Fuata.


[1] Blanchot cited in Louppe, L. (translation Sally Gardner). Poetics of Contemporary Dance. Hampshire: Dance Books Ltd, 2010, p. 230.

[2] Rainer, program notes for The Mind is a Muscle, 1968. In Rainer, Y. Yvonne Rainer: Work 1961-73. Halifax: The Press of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1974, p. 71.

Lizzie Thomson is a choreographer, performer and researcher. Her practice interrogates processes of embodiment as they relate to cultural, historic and temporal forces. She works with both...


Search Runway