Vicki Van Hout is a dancer, choreographer and writer of Wiradjuri and Dutch descent; in her work she plays with dual identities and lays bare the complexities of negotiating culture across disciplines, genres and eras.
Several years ago, Van Hout first saw the satirical potential of itemising solemn cultural ceremony, a proceeding that has become commonplace at events across Australia. "I've been looking at commodification and bartering, and authenticity being tied up in how much something is worth."*
Indigenous art-making involves a lot of negotiation, consultation and mediation. In Van Hout's Liveworks sharply comedic show plenty serious TALK TALK, crisis ensues because a Welcome to Country dancer has double-booked gigs and fails to show up to begin proceedings. In the show's title, the words plenty serious are in lower case, to signal a tongue planted firmly in cheek, and TALK TALK repeated in pidgin style.
In an interview with Create NSW, Van Hout discusses her use of the flight or fight response in choreography: “The flight or fight response is vital, it’s necessary for survival and is prevalent in a sporting context where outcomes are never predictable. I suppose what started as a physical tactic to excite an audience, to almost make them want to get up and try the dance for themselves, has become part of a greater ethos to slay predictability of any sort. Also, I am grateful to the varied physical legacy that has been bestowed on me through hours of shared experience.”†
“Vicki Van Hout blends traditional and classical dance, ironic self-awareness, spoken word, sketch comedy and drama in a fierce critique of the contemporary Indigenous dance scene and Australia’s ongoing failures in regard to its First Peoples. An excellent example of how critique can be embodied. How it can be physical and funny as well as scalpel sharp."‡
- Robert Reid on Vicki Van Hout’s plenty serious TALK TALK
Find out more about plenty serious TALK TALK.
* Sydney Morning Herald
† Create NSW
‡ Witness Performance