Danielle Micich, FLOCK at Festival 2018

I love the outdoor elements, the sun, wind, sand and water and the unpredictability of what this can bring ...

Friends, the time has come! The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games is upon us and we’re not going to lie – we’re pretty darn excited for every single day between April 4–15. As well as the action from the games, we’re bursting at the seams to see what’s to come from the Festival 2018 program, which will feature a spectacular line-up of more than 1000 arts and cultural experiences in more than 28 locations. Amid the craziness, hype and live music, it was a silent production that has caught our eye from the program. The performance is called FLOCK, and it has been put together by one of the most talented creatives in the industry, Danielle Micich. So, in the spirit of the games, we caught up with Danielle to chat about what’s in store.

While we’re really excited for the entire Festival 2018 program, we’re particularly intrigued by Force Majeure’s world premiere of FLOCK. Can you tell us a little more about to expect?
FLOCK is a very different project for Force Majeure as we are known for spoken word in our productions. This does not have any words or even music for that fact. I jumped at the opportunity to work on an outdoor site-specific work after making so many works indoors. I love the outdoor elements, the sun, wind, sand and water and the unpredictability of what this can bring. I keep telling the performers that it’s ok if something unexpected happens, in fact, I hope it does. The main thing other than preparing them for the lengthy choreography and how to work with the large oversized costumes, is how to respond in performance when something happens. It’s ok to see one performer not pair up and make a couple, it’s ok to not hit your mark because there was a towel left on the beach, it’s okay if the wind blows you over. As people we look for similarity in many aspects of our lives, to be same, similar or in unison. Our eye looks for things to match up and be in sync. FLOCK explores the space in-between this. It’s like watching ‘live’ sculptures by the sea. Many silver-like creatures that are funny, quirky and mesmerising. You watch these foreign objects migrate, morph and find ways to adapt onto a beach environment.

What is it that you hope the audience will take away from FLOCK?
First up, some great pics for Instagram, it’s a beautiful beach installation. The performers are not seen from the large silver costumes and become are very interesting puppet-like characters. But when you sit down and watch closely, you see patterns and rhythms that jump out at you, just like you would when you watch a flock of birds taking off together.

What other Festival 2018 events have caught your eye/ are must-see events for you?
There is plenty to see over the Festival and I love visceral performance so what sparks my interest is Holoscenes. Early morning underwater Opera sound like nothing I’ve ever seen before. You’ll find me there when I’m not at Mura Buai, our other work in the festival by company artist Ghenoa Gela.

As Artistic Director of Force Majeure, you’re at the helm of one of the country’s leading dance companies. Personally, where do you draw most of your inspiration from when it comes to crafting and creating a new production?
I look for the potential in everything. Once I have a starting point with movement, then I’m off. I work a lot with imagery. I don’t use found images, I create new ones by making a framework around what I would like the body to be doing to evoke some kind of emotion and then try to find the best combination of movement and text to get this image across without being obvious.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the creative industry of dance and movement-based theatre over the past decade?
The standard of performers is getting much stronger. Training now days is really responding to what is being made so you will now find that a dancer will have many more skills in making and devising too. They are also multi-skilled where you will now find many dancers with a mixed dance training, such as classical Indian dance, hip hop and aerial. 

Let’s take things back a bit – what’s your earliest memory of performing?
I can’t tell if it was the memory of being screamed over the microphone at on His Majesty’s Theatre stage in Ballarat, in my very first tutu about my bad “coat hanger arms’ or me performing in the lounge room with a ring-in of neighbours and my sister to my very cool Michael Jackson choreography. Well those coat hanger arms became a signature part of my movement style and perhaps my best choreography to date was in the lounge room?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Being tall is an asset and always be yourself.

Finally, what’s your idea of happiness?
At work, I am happiest when I’m in a studio with collaborating artists. 

You can experience the magic of Force Majeure’s FLOCK from Thursday April 12 to Sunday April 15 on the Surfers Paradise beachfront as part of Festival 2018.


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