Macquarie Fields choreographer Bonnie Curtis spreads domestic violence message through Sydney Fringe Festival dance

Shining a light: Bonnie Curtis choreographed a dance highlighting domestic violence in Australia. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale
Shining a light: Bonnie Curtis choreographed a dance highlighting domestic violence in Australia. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

Bonnie Curtis wants to shine a light on domestic violence — through dance.

Shining a light: Bonnie Curtis choreographed a dance highlighting domestic violence in Australia. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

Shining a light: Bonnie Curtis choreographed a dance highlighting domestic violence in Australia. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

The Macquarie Fields dancer and choreographer has created a dance that will feature in this year’s Sydney Fringe Festival, which runs through September.

Curtis had previously performed in the festival in a program called Platform Shorts, but will this year get to show off her own choreography, after being awarded a residency to develop her work.

She decided to centre her piece, called Is This Love?, around domestic violence after following the Facebook page Destroy the Joint and hearing about several domestic violence related deaths in the media.

‘‘I thought through dance, a difference audience could be reached as opposed to news media,’’ Curtis told the Advertiser.

‘‘Art and dance reach people in ways that mainstream media cannot — I wanted to create awareness around this issue that impacts one in three women.

‘‘As someone who has experience the effects of violence against women, it is a topic that is close to my heart — I am very passionate about women’s rights.’’

The dance explores the life of a ‘‘seemingly happy couple’’, and the audiences follows the violence and abuse that takes place in private.

Curtis said she used dance movements that ‘‘mirror the behaviour and body language of a dominant partner to intimidate and abuse the person they love’’, and created the characters from her own personal experience.

‘‘I wanted to create a raw portrait of this life, so I have used movement that is quite intense, both physically and emotionally, intertwined with moments of love and intimacy,’’ she said.

‘‘The piece focuses on a couple who perform a duet, however there are 11 other women, including myself, who are involved in the piece in a different way — [they] represent the number of NSW women who have died this year as a result of violence against women.

‘‘I want the audience to experience what women experience on a daily basis, I want the audience to pay attention and care about what is happening — our society often turns a blind eye, not wanting to interfere in other people’s lives or blaming the victim for inciting violence against themselves.

‘‘We need to speak up rather than be bystanders. It only takes one person to reach out and offer support to save someone’s life.’’

Is This Love? will be performed at the Annandale Creative Arts Centre as part of Platform Shorts from Thursday, September 10 to Saturday, September 12.

Tickets are $25 adult and are available from www.sydneyfringe.com.

For more information on Bonnie Curtis’ work visit www.bonniecurtisprojects.com.

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