© Jeff Busby & Balletlab 2011

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Origami is inspired by the ancient Japanese art of folding paper and the intricate, tactile, and intimate nature of pop-up books. Origami sees BalletLab partnering with the award winning BURO Architects and 3 Deep Design in collaborations that fuse industrial modernist architecture, visual design and the living body in space into a cohesive and innovative performance language. The concept of the "fold" in architecturally designed set is blended meticulously into permeable architectural crevices and abstract panels and partitions - offering a dynamic physical relationship within the stage space as they are folded and unfolded by the performers.

The refined choreographic vocabulary articulates the inherent synergy of a complex architectural design, and consists of complex architectural partnering that at times directly correlates to origami instruction manuals. Following a natural landscape, where progressions of sea to land to mountains to sky occur, falling bodies slide quietly through the designed spaces, folding and creating valleys and mounds. The choreography becomes a landscape of origami, exploding like an orientalist fantasia. Other tangential aspects of the form of origami are explored and juxtaposed with cross-cultural threads; eg the beautiful art form of ikebana (flower arranging), and eccentric origami inspired attire (both tutu and obi).

The projected animations are inspired by a range of Japanese classics Origami plays with Western perceptions of Japanese culture drawn from both traditional Art and pop culture - from Astro Boy to Ikebana, Kimba the White Lion, Mount Fuji to Godzilla and Manga cartoons. Rather than seeking to recreate the styles of these masterworks, as homage ORIGAMI seeks to preserve the sense of childhood marvel and fantasy that they inspired. The starting point for David Chisholm's music for ORIGAMI is the European grouping of the string quartet. The structure of the music is built as if opening up one giant fold, like a reverse origami, flattening out the memory of the paper, not to erase it, but to create a place from whence it is possible to begin again.

Premiered: June 2006

Choreographer: Phillip Adams
Artistic Associate: Linda Sastradipradja
Composer: David Chisholm
Graphic Design: 3 Deep Design
Architecture: BURO Architects 
Lighting: Benjamin Cisterne
Costumes: Anastasia La Fey
Conceptual Designer & Origami Consultant: Matt Gardiner
Animation: Rhian Hinkley
Film Development: XYZ Studios
Dancers: Derrick Amanatidis, Tim Harvey, Ryan Lowe, Carlee Mellow, Rachel Ogle, Clair Peters, Brooke Stamp, Joanne White


Excerpt of Origami


Excerpt of film created by 3 Deep Design Origami.


Artichoke Magazine

After wreaking havoc across urban Australian, Godzilla wanders into a blossoming springtime landscape where nymph- like dancers crowned with flowered wreaths cheerfully leap into complex ikebana arrangements” . Natalie Ward

Australian Arts and Entertainment

If you see Origami, be prepared to have dance on your mind for days afterwards - Brooke Pitts–Hill

Dance Australia

The dancers of BalletLab are all phenomenal movers and cover the stage relishing exhilarating sequences of overlapping and intertwining allegro - Jacqueline Pasco

The Australian

Origami offers a plethora of the most mesmerizing and complex ballet arrangements that manages to communicate feelings of harmony, beauty and chaos - Lee Christofis

Throughout the performance the dancers remain intimately connected to the set, folding into each other in a state of perpetual transformation

In its most evocative incarnation the set begins as a flat white sheet of hinged panels. Weaving their bodies between the panes the dancers lift and tuck the set into a shifting landscape of fields valleys and mountains

Combining experimental choreography with playful architectural exploration, Origami revels in the act of creation

The result of this highly conceptual amazing dance work literally unfolds as a mass of strategically entwined limbs, cathartic skits and media- driven backdrops, a complete visual experience

Dancers fold and roll over each other ingeniously in panels of tatami flooring, creating a solemn, human bulldozer