Michelle is an independent choreographer and dance performer based in Victoria. She graduated from the VCA with a Bachelor of Dance in 1992, and received her Masters of Dance Performance in 2000. Michelle has made extensive contributions as a performer / collaborator and choreographer in the field of dance, puppetry, theatre and film. She has worked nationally and internationally with many prominent Australian choreographers as well as creating her own work. Her performance career spans working with companies / directors such as Sue Healey, Phillip Adams (Balletlab), Gideon Obarzanek (Chunky Move), Lucy Guerin, Helen Herbertson, Michael Kantor, Douglas Horton (ChamberMade Opera), Sandra Parker (Danceworks), Tracie Mitchell, Kate Denborough (Kage), Rebecca Hilton, Polyglot, Black Hole Theatre, Tamara Saulwick and Leigh Warren.
Michelle is a recipient of The Dame Peggy Van Praagh Choreographic Scholarship, The Australian Post Graduate Award (Industry) Scholarship and several Victorian Green Room Awards. Michelle has also received several nominations for her work including the Helpmann Award, Australian Dance Award and Victorian Green Room Award. In 2013 she completed an artistic residency in Kuopio, Finland and has recently been invited to teach and present a solo at the Beijing Dance Festival in China 2014 and premiere new work at the Castlemaine State Festival 2015.
In addition to her independent choreographic work, Michelle enjoys working as a movement consultant, teacher, youth mentor and choreographer for other artists. Black Hole Theatre’s award winning Coop and Tamara Saulwick’s award winning Pin Drop showcase some of Michelle’s contributions. She was also a choreographic assistant to Michael Kantor in the 2011 remount of The Threepenny Opera, a joint Malthouse Theatre and Victorian Opera production.
Michelle has taught movement and choreographic workshops nationally and internationally. Recent teaching includes: Victorian College of the Arts (Dance and Drama), Theatre of Speed (Geelong), Weave Movement Theatre (Melbourne) Over the Moon Dance School (Castlemaine), Ballarat Dance School of Distinction and Continuing Education Castlemaine (Youth and Independent Actors).
Originally inspired by animation and mime, Rod trained as a Drama teacher and has been fascinated by the psychology of the moving image for over 30 years. He is a maker, designer, performer, puppeteer, director, teacher and advocate for puppetry. He co-founded Black Hole Theatre with Cliff Dolliver and Paul Newcombe in 1993, and is still an active member of its board.
Rod has worked with the broadest range of puppet styles, from the very small to the very large utilising shadow, glove, rod, marionette and a vast array of experimental designs in theatre, opera, film, television and outdoor events. He has worked with almost every puppetry company in the country.
Highlights of recent work – he was part of the team that created the extraordinary shadow puppets for the Victorian Opera’s Master Peter’s Puppet Show in 2012, was Puppetry Director and performer in Erth’s Murder, has participated in several puppet slams including ARIA!, performed also in the La Mama season Into the Black Hole, built and designed objects and puppets for BHT’s and Here Theatre’s The Burnt Book, and recently directed and built puppets for Colleen Burke’s Death at Intervals.