“Is dance who you are or what you do?” -Dr Beatriz Copello Reviews ‘…the dancer from the dance’

…the dancer from the dance. A Physical TV Company Production Presented as part of The Directors’ Cuts program in Performance Space’s YOU’RE HISTORY!, its thirtieth anniversary season, on November 30, 2013. (See below for future screenings).


Dancer Vicki Van Hout (Photograph – Ehran Edwards)

“…the dancer from the dance” is an innovative documentary directed by Karen Pearlman and produced by Richard James Allen which explores issues such as identity and culture and how these relate to dance.

The documentary starts with Pearlman dancing, with a voice-over talking about what it meant to her to be a dancer and what it meant to stop being a dancer and returning to her art after being ten years away from it. Pearlman raises questions such as: is being a dancer an identity, a culture, a waste of time? Is it a shared tradition in which a body of knowledge is passed from dancer to dancer?

According to many theorists a person’s artistic production is not the result of the artist but rather the result of the culture that comes through the artist. This post-structuralist view of culture asserts that self-identity is a construction and it develops from the interaction between the way we represent ourselves, power relations and our actual presentations. (Bertens, 2001)

This view of identity is somehow asserted in this documentary by the answers from the dancers who were interviewed and asked questions such as: “Is dance who you are or what you do? Can you tell the dancer from the dance?”

Dancers such as Imogen Crana, Kate Champion, Martin del Amo and many others reflect on what being a dancer means to them. Through their answers it becomes apparent that their identity is strongly attached to dancing. For some of them dance defines them. For others dance contributes to the sum of characteristics and roles that make their identity.

The profound reflections of these dancers are fascinating and intense, they reveal that behind this art, which involves body movements, there is a force that travels not only through them but through time, a force that goes from dancer to dancer and it is modified, embellished, transformed, and inherited sometimes through blood, other times through training and other times again as the result of the creative spirit in all artists.

This beautiful documentary tells us that although the movements that each dancer makes cannot be captured second by second, this art is transmitted from body to body and the dance movements are accumulated, captured, preserved and passed onto others who also would create new movements, new techniques and new emotions.


Dancer Richard James Allen (Photographer – Ehran Edwards)

It is lovely to see young dancers expressing themselves with words and body but it is also marvelous to see older dancers, not only moving gracefully but also to see the spirit of this art emanating from their whole persona. We can see through these older dancers that the dance owns a living and subtle history.

Two children: Samuel and Jadzea Allen with their intelligent and insightful comments reinforce the idea that dance can be part of our being. Jadzea says: “Dancing makes me think clearly.”

We know that identity is never given, part of it, if not in its totality, is born from what we do, what we want to be and how we define ourselves. After seeing this artistically beautiful documentary I believe that we cannot separate the … dancer from the dance.

– Dr Beatriz Copello


Dr Beatriz Copello’s is a Psychologist, poet and fiction writer, her poetry book Women Souls and Shadows, Bemac Publishing, 1992 received excellent reviews and was highly commended in the Wild and Wooley, 1993 Awards. Her novel Forbidden Steps Under the Wisteria (1999) was published by Abbott Bentley in Sydney, and A Call to the Stars (1999) by Crown Publisher. Her book of poetry Meditations At the Edge of a Dream, (2001) was published by Interactive Publications -Glasshouse Books and Under the Gums’ Long Shade, Bemac Publication, (2009).

…the dancer from the dance will be screening next at the World of Women (WOW) Festival in Sydney on:

  • Wed 12/3/14 1.30pm DanceFocus WOW @ The Powerhouse Museum. Tickets
  • Thurs13/3/14 7pm Pop Up Cinema: Dance-Metro Screen.  Tickets


Rochford Street Review relies on the support of its readers to continue. If you like what we are doing please consider making a donation.

The return of the Gestetner Revolution……sort of…. The double launch of: THE SELECTED YOUR FRIENDLY FASCIST edited by Rae Desmond Jones & P76 Issue 6 (The Lost Issue)

The return of the Gestetner Revolution……sort of….Rochford Street Press is proud and slightly surprised to announce the double launch of: THE SELECTED YOUR FRIENDLY FASCIST edited by Rae Desmond Jones (to be launched by Alan Wearne) & P76 Issue 6 (The Lost Issue)


Your Friendly Fascist was a poetry magazine so deep underground that it caused tremors among persons of a pious literary persuasion on the dread occasions of its appearance. The magazine served as an outlet for views and feelings which are not expressed in polite company. Your Friendly Fascist was not the only outrageous small literary publication of its time, but it took pleasure in divergent views. Poetry can tend to sombre pomposity, or the self –consciously polite. If there is a secret to the Fascist’s modest success, it is in the energy with which it rode on the un-ironed coat tails of unruly expression. Rae Desmond Jones and John Edwards remained at the helm of the magazine despite frequent inebriation, from the magazine’s beginnings in 1971 to its final burial with absolutely no honours at all in 1986. Rae Desmond Jones has made a selection of material that appeared in YFF and pulled together an creation that sits well with the ratbaggery tradition that was Your Friendly Fascist.”

The Selected Your Friendly Fascist contains work by John Jenkins, Mike Lenihan, Rob Andrew, Denis Gallagher, Adrian Flavell, Peter Brown, Debbie Westbury, Carol White, Billy Ah Lun, Peter Brown, Lis Aroney, Patrick Alexander, Steve Sneyd, Ken Bolton, Nigel Saad, John Edwards, Robert C. Boyce, Rae Desmond Jones, Trevor Corliss, Kit Kelen, Rob Andrew, Jean Rhodes, Larry Buttrose, Joseph Chetcuti, Alamgir Hashmi, Anne Wilkinson, Jenny Boult (aka MML Bliss), George Cairncross (UK), John Peter Horsam, Steven K. Kelen, Irene Wettenhall, Chris Mansell, Robert Carter, Anne Davies, Nicholas Pounder, Cornelis Vleeskens, Andrew Rose, Joanne Burns, Les Wicks, Eric Beach, Ian, Gig Ryan, П. O., Barry Edgar Pilcher, Andrew Darlington, Dorothy Porter, Gary Oliver, Richard Tipping, Micah, Carol Novack, Peter Finch, Evan Rainer, Graham Rowlands, Christopher Pollnitz, Robert Carter, Philip Neilsen, Andrew  Chadwick, Stephan Williams, Rollin Schlicht, Philip Hammial, John Peter Horsam, Peter Murphy, Karen Ellis, Richard James Allen, Rudi Krausmann, Paul “Shakey” Brown, Michael Sharkey, Karen Hughes, Susan Hampton, Rory Harris, Pie Corbett and Billy Marshall Stoneking.

Your Friendly Fascist will be available for purchase from the Rochford Street Press On-Line Shop from 17 October: http://members.optusnet.com.au/rochfordstpress/.

Facebook invite for the launch http://www.facebook.com/events/419856534730684/


Rochford Street Press in the publisher of Rochford Street review

Why Dransfield…Why now?

One of the things I want to do with Rochford Street Review is to make sure writers receive the recognition I feel they deserve. I can think of a number of writers straight away which I think should be front and centre….creative writers who we should all know about, writers who should be cast in bronze, like footballers and cricketers around the gardens of the SCG or MCG…..Poets such as Vicki Viidikas, Kerry Leaves, Jennifer Rankin, Charles Buckmaster and many others.

In choosing to highlight Dransfield in this first feature I am accurately aware of the comment Laurie Duggan made in foam:e Issue 8 when he commented on Louise Waller’s review of Vicki Viidikas’ New and Rediscovered:

“I’ve read Louise’s review of Vicki Viidikas. It’s right on the money. A whole book could be written about why a male poet like Michael Dransfield (who died of drug use) could be continuously lauded and republished while a woman like VV was largely forgotten If you don’t want a whole book, then one word might do: Romanticism.”

But despite Duggan’s comment I don’t believe Dransfield’s reputation is as secure as he suggests. My understanding is that only the Kinsella edited Selected Poems is still in print and much has been made of Dransfield’s exclusion from the Lehmann/Gray anthology.

For me Dransfield remains an illusive figure. He wrote some wonderfully lyric poems, some other poems (particular some that were published after his death) were not so good. All the time, however, there is the image of the ‘poet’. the romanticism (real or created) which has threatened to swamp his poems.

And I want to get to those other poets, Viidikas, Leaves, Buckmaster and, in particular Rankin who, I believe is one of the most under-rated Australian poets of the last 40 years.

When I started thinking about pulling this piece on Dransfield together I asked various people for their views on Dransfield. There were some interesting replies, many of which were pasted on various pages on Facebook.


Chris Mansell remembered: “First reading I ever went to was: David Campbell, Martin Johnston, and Michael Dransfield. What a reading. I still remember it v vividly. Bought his book later but was too shy to ask for him to sign it”.


Richard James Allen wrote: “I wish I had met him. His iconoclastic spirit seemed to haunt the corridors of his old school, Sydney Grammar, which I also attended, in liberating way – a nice antidote to the more traditional Banjo Paterson, also an alumni. I always recall, “a moving target is harder to hit”: http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/dransfield-michael/ground-zero-0712045


Richard Tipping recalls: “Michael and I were the youngsters in an anthology Twelve Poets in 1971, when I was 21 and living in Adelaide. Michael was a year older. We never met, though I lived in Sydney for two years (1969 and 1973) and we had friends in common. One of my favourite Dransfield poems is which I sometimes recite by heart – begins: “in the forest / in unexplored valleys of the sky / are chapels of pure vision” and includes ‎”i dream of the lucidity of the vacuum / orders of saints consisting of parts of a rainbow / identities of wild things / of what the stars are saying to each other up there / above idols and wars and caring … ” Apologies for ragged quoting. Just to say that Michael words remain an important part of the experience of Australian poetry.


Juno Gemes recalls “My Aunt was Chief Librarian at Sydney Grammar for 40 years…apparently the library has strong holdings in Michael Dransfield’s papers…”


Christopher Barnett writes “michael was a great lyric poet with a connection to the lyricism of js neilson, christopher brennan, james tulip & a parallel connection with robert (adamson). it does not surprise me that minor poets have tried to aggrandize their own reputations by excluding him & the little we have from charles buckmaster. what defined them was their generosity & a very real connection to people poetry had ignored”.


Rosemary Nissen-Wade “I’ve been introducing Australian poets to an international online audience unfamiliar with them. All have been well received; Dransfield was the one whose poetry most overwhelmed them. They thought his writing beautiful, brilliant, and extraordinary. So do I.”

Philip Rees - This is a painting i did in Febuary-March last year ..it is inspired by the poem Bums' rush..its called ''out...to where the ice is thinnest'',acrylics,textas,pencils,house paint,dirt on wood, 1.2mtrsx 1.2 mtrs,
For me Dransfield poems have always since i first read him in the early 1970's invoked images in my mind's eye.