The Broad I want to share with you today is dancer, choreographer and director Miss Ashley Sweett, Artistic Director of Sweet Moves – although this post runs much deeper into a group of young performers I had the honour of watching in Ashley’s most recent production, Bated Breath.
Sweett Moves is primarily a contemporary dance collective, but Ashley’s vision for this show brought together visual arts, musicians, singers and performance artists as young as ten years old – and this is where I see the most importance in her work.
If there’s one thing that rings true today, it’s that we live in a world of instant gratification, and to an extent, we’ve all adopted a results-based mentality. As wonderful as it is finding corners to cut, and ways to make our day-to-day lives more convenient, along with this mentality patience, dedication and commitment have often gone by the wayside. Productions like Bated Breath restore my faith that these virtues are not yet lost.
This show brought together elements of different artistic mediums that could never be possible without love and countless hours of present, conscious honing. Placing these young performers with professionals who are still working to perfect their crafts was a bold move by Ashley – as the show definitely showcased a variety of levels and technique – but one that translated so well into a moving, feel-good show that captivated from beginning to end. It’s about instilling that care and fostering into the next generation and filling them with a passion for something imperfect. It’s teaching them about the million pliés becoming muscle memory for every jump, it’s about the repetitive rehearsals to hit your chords correctly – and that work, that journey, that dedication is the integral, present work that we need to keep alive in the arts.
So many of today’s arts have the opportunity for editing, retakes, and even stand-ins – these luxuries are not allotted in live theatre.
Ashley’s show was a colourful expression of human emotion, with pieces that made you feel alive and light, to collaborative numbers that made you feel sorrowful, uneasy, jealous or simply pedestrian. The highlight for me was the strong and elegant pas de deux performed by two female dancers, Jade Chong and Kirsten McInnis, that was nothing short of technical bliss.
The show was not without flaw, of course, but I suppose that is my point in all of this: raw, uncut, live performing arts are meant to be a work in progress. We cannot be perfect – we cannot be edited. This creative expression in “result” form of a show was so enjoyable, but really, it’s about the journey Ashley led all of those performers on to make it to the stage that night.
Be sure to support your local artists, and check out Ashley’s upcoming productions and collaborations.