Opening and Closing Ceremony

Opening and ClosingCeremony

Opening and Closing Ceremony is a solo dance performance work by Jane McKernan. Inspired by Spartakiada, the mass physical displays of communist Czechoslovakia; the history of gymnastics as a nationalist form; the Brisbane Commonwealth Games opening; and a family celebrating the bicentenary in 1988 with a fancy dress party, Opening and Closing Ceremony attempts to find where the individual body intersects with notions of family, community and nation.

At first Jane speaks directly to the audience. It is part workshop - a pastiche of a release movement dance warm up exercise; part lecture - a history of modern gymnastics, physical culture in Australia and a comparative study of the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremonies; and part narrative - ten short paragraph stories about feelings of community.

The second half is danced, the movement layered with both parody and the earnest attempt to be one of many in a mass gymnastic display or a dancer in a physical culture competition.

Opening and Closing Ceremony is humorous and entertaining, but provokes questions about nationalism, belonging and ideology, particularly in moments of celebration or display. The simplicity of the structure and production elements belies the complexity of the concepts inherent in the material. Taking from Benedict Anderson's notion in Imagined Communities that both nation and family are the two allegiances we don't choose, Opening and Closing Ceremony plays with dichotomies of movement/narrative, personal/national, real/imagined, and private party/massive event.

Arlington Oval, Dulwich Hill SYDNEY, 13-15 September 2012

Created byJane McKernan
ArtistsAgatha Gothe-Snape, Eamon Flack, Jane McKernan
ProducerRosalind Richards, Artful Management