Kady Mansour is an incredible emerging choreographer and artist, who loves to create inclusive and participatory experiences through dance. Her work investigates shared experiences in everyday life, and incorporates elements of physical theatre throughout the choreographic process.
We sat down with Kady, and discussed the inspiration for her innovative (and extremely relatable) new work, entitled Menstruation the Musical, what she loves about the Convent, and what most excites her about collaborating with her fellow artists presenting as part of ESCALATOR, presented by Stephanie Lake Company, in association with Abbotsford Convent.
Interview with Kady Mansour
What first inspired your piece for ESCALATOR, and how did you approach choreographing it?
Menstruation the Musical is inspired by my own personal experiences, and the experiences of other women whose lives get consumed by struggling through their menstrual cycle. My 28 day cycle is an absolute rollercoaster of PMS, mood swings, physical pain and fatigue. I have always struggled with the lack of understanding and awareness around how our cycle deeply impacts our lives every day, not just when we’re bleeding. My approach to choreography for this work has been to follow my uterus! Give it all of the opportunities it wants to express what it needs to.
ESCALATOR features works from some of Melbourne/Naarm’s most exciting new voices in dance (including yourself). How do you bring your unique voice and style to your work? What excites you most about the other dancers presenting new works?
I really enjoy incorporating aspects of physical theatre into my choreographic development, and often use text and media in my works. I find that this approach, combined with my love of incorporating humour, helps to break down barriers to accessibility of contemporary dance with larger audiences. I am interested in making work which can bring to the forefront experiences we all share in everyday life.
What excites me the most about the other dancers presenting is that they are all amazing! I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside artists I haven’t had the chance to do so with, and to see how our diverse practices and experiences will sit alongside each other in a performance environment.
What do you think dance conveys that words can’t?
Dance is definitely not the most simple way I could choose to convey an experience or thought, but it’s definitely the most interesting and exciting way. Often we can look at a piece of art or listen to a new album and make a decision pretty quickly about whether we are into it or not. Dance is ephemeral in its nature, and as an audience we can decide to decode and decipher as much as we like, or we can simply just watch and bask in its glory. It is really up to the individual to decide how they connect with the movement, and as a performer all you can do is hope that something connects. It’s pretty amazing like that!
How has rehearsing at Abbotsford Convent inspired your work at all?
Rehearsing at Abbotsford Convent has absolutely inspired my work. I will be performing in the Magdalen Laundry, which feels so fitting for this piece. The Magdalen Laundry is a loaded space with incredible historical context for women. Working in this venue has allowed me to reimagine the hardships, prejudices and experiences of women in a new context. I feel honoured that I have the opportunity to voice the frustrations and angers that women have shared across generations!
What do you hope the audience takes away from your performance?
I don’t feel scared to bring some accountability to the stage. I hope that women watch this work, take a sigh of relief and say, “Thank God someone finally went there!”. I want audiences to have a good laugh but understand the genuine frustration and anger that comes along with being a woman.
ESCALATOR , presented by Stephanie Lake Company in association with Abbotsford Convent, will feature five brand-new short dance works from (in alphabetical order):
16 — 19 August