Dexterious locals have been busily finger knitting more than 300m of coloured wool for the latest work by Townsville-based, globally-significant dance company, Dancenorth.
Wayfinder is a blend of visual art and contemporary dance being developed by Dancenorth in partnership with Japanese Australian visual artist Hiromi Tango, three-time Grammy nominees Hiatus Kaiyote, sound designer Byron J Scullin and lighting designer Niklas Pajanti.
The work calls for a mass of brightly coloured knitting, which voluntary finger knitters have been creating as part of a series of Knitting Sittings.
Dancenorth Artistic Director Kyle Page said the Knitting Sittings aim to bring people into a closer relationship with the creation of Wayfinder.
“The themes that we’re exploring in Wayfinder are really anchored to ideas of community and sharing in the most enlivening and joyous aspects of our human experience,” said Kyle.
Once knitted, Hiromi Tango will transform the strands into Wayfinder’s stage and costume design.
“As the work unfolds it feels as though the visual and choreographic worlds are feeding into each other,” Kyle said.
“Hiromi brings these invitations to the studio for the dancers to explore the materiality of her artwork in a particular way. We will choreographically respond to the artwork in the studio, so it feels as though there is a beautiful synergy and symbiosis between the two.
“Wayfinder is about … reminding ourselves of the value supporting one another.”
“The energy that is cultivated by bringing large groups of people together for the Knitting Sittings is exactly what we’re looking for in the creation of this work,” said Kyle.
“Through isolation and various restrictions over the last couple of years, it feels as though that sense of close-knit community has become a little frayed. We’ve not really been able to gather in the ways that we would have prior to the pandemic. Wayfinder is about reactivating those parts of ourselves and reminding ourselves of the value supporting one another.
“The chance to sit and have a conversation, while knitting these artworks together is a beautiful introduction back into that way of being. It’s a reminder of what it was like pre-pandemic and how we’ll be able to return to that sense of integration and interconnection with other people within the city.”
Dancenorth is holding Knitting Sittings on 6 & 7 May.
Wayfinder will premiere at this year’s North Australian Festival of the Arts (NAFA).