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Local Artist Spotlight: Beth Lane

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Beth Lane, Frankston City Council Artist Project Grant recipient

Quirky human behaviours and interactions observed during the COVID-19 pandemic are at the heart of dance artist and teacher Beth Lane’s new performance, ‘Emergent’.

Beth said she had been both inspired by and intrigued in how people used natural and urban spaces, particularly as part of a process of re-evaluating their relationship to others in a time of social distancing.

“Habitual daily pathways and rituals of movement seem heightened during the pandemic. I think that’s really interesting. Will we keep noticing and acknowledging other people in the same way when this is all over?” she said.

“I’m also excited by the natural spaces we have at our fingertips in the City of Frankston. I want to play with the way we all relate to them, functionally and creatively.”

Beth will bring Emergent to life thanks to an Artist Project Grant of up to $4000 from Frankston City Council.

“Emergent is a series of site-specific choreography. It acknowledges the changing ways we are all using these public sites during this pandemic,” she said.

“Inspired by quirky behaviours and actions observed in public spaces when exercising during COVID lockdowns, Emergent personifies the oddity and necessity of public space and re-frames the way we see 1.5m and the inhabitants which obey these laws.”

It involves live dance at public sites with a small roving audience – COVID-19 restrictions dependent. Sites will include reserves and walking trails such as the Kananook Creek track, as well as open urban spaces and thoroughfares in Frankston’s CBD. Performances and some pre-recorded elements of the artistic process will also be available online later to view.

Beth noted that dance in its conventional form was familiar to residents, but not so much in public spaces.

“Quite a few locals have stopped and made conversation as we’ve been improvising on our local bush track. That’s not something you see every day here!” she said.

“All these interactions have been really positive. Conversations, a few giggles - I think now is a great time to challenge our old normal. Lockdown has shown us how important a happy, healthy body is for a happy healthy mind. Dance and a creative body is a great way to get there.”

Beth said she was rapt to be recognised with the grant, adding: “The process of applying for grants and opportunities is time consuming and a whole other set of skills for artists to build.

“To be supported by my local council and the area I’ve had a life-long connection to, is really appreciated. I can’t wait to bring some more dance to the community.”

A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts/Melbourne University (2011), Beth has worked as a dancer and creator on a range of independent performance projects in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. She is an established and sort after teacher in dance education, youth and community projects throughout Australia, working in tertiary, school and company spaces.

Frankston Council has significantly expanded its Community and Business Grants program this year to support up to 16 artists and creatives.

This was a result of the $6.434 million Relief and Recovery Package, which the council created to help Frankston City recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The arts grants are designed to help artists and those working in creative industries to pursue their passion while delivering culturally important work to the community.

They included Artist Project Grants each up to $4000 for eight artists to develop new works that can be presented online, on location or at a venue when restrictions allow.

There were also a further eight Creative Industries Professional Development Grants, each up to $2500, to support artists via further training, career development activities, mentorships and workshops.

Arts grant recipients must complete their projects by June, 2021.

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