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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 22:49 GMT 23:49 UK
Australian audience poll creates dance
Chunky Move dance company
Choreographers sifted answers to 33 survey questions

An Australian dance company has based its latest work on the results of a poll of dance lovers.


You don't expect this kind of survey to be conducted in the arts industry

Christina Soong, Chunky Move
The Chunky Move company said it was trying to create the country's "most wanted" dance work.

In true democratic fashion, Chunky Move asked nearly 3,000 members of the dance-going public what they would most like to see in a dance work.

Unsurprisingly, most men wanted to see women dancing seductively in skimpy clothes, while women wanted to see expressive moment in modest costumes.

Market research

"You don't expect this kind of survey to be conducted in the arts industry, where the product is usually driven by the artists' vision," says Chunky Move's Marketing and Development Manager Christina Soong.

"It's not the normal place where you would think of a manufactured product.

"This kind of market research happens in a lot of other industries, such as the food and beverage industry - they'll ask focus groups a range of questions relating to the product's taste, presentation, quality and so on," says Soong.

The 33-question survey asked participants to state their preferences across all aspects of contemporary dance, including choreographic styles, number and gender of dancers, costumes, themes, lighting, music, sets and type of venue.

The answers were tabulated by an independent data processing bureau, before being analysed by a market research company which then produced a report.

'Large scenes'

Artistic director Gideon Obarzanek then used the results as the basis for creating the company's latest work, Australia's Most Wanted: Ballet For A Contemporary Democracy.

Chunky Move dance company
Critics have raved about the show
"We sifted through the report and there were some areas that were better suited to make work with," says Obarzanek.

"All the stuff to do with types of movement, movement qualities, things that involve the dancers and their way of performing have all been turned into fairly large scenes.

Things like set design and distance from the audience are in the work as well, but don't get as much stage time as those other areas."

The inspiration for the survey came from Russian artists Komar and Melamid, who in 1993 polled Americans to find out what the most wanted painting in the USA would be.

The result was a classical landscape with much blue sky and water, native animals, an historical figure and people involved in recreational activity.

This "ideal" painting became known as the Blue Landscape.

The completed Ballet For A Contemporary Democracy, which is playing in Melbourne, is informed by the survey results - but brought to life by the dancers.

Critics have raved about the show, praising its sense of humour and honesty.

See also:

29 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
25 Mar 02 | Americas
05 Mar 02 | Americas
17 Jan 02 | Entertainment
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