THE MELBOURNE RHYTHM PROJECT
Born from a desire to capture the shared spirit of movement and rhythm in Jazz and Dance, the Melbourne Rhythm Project is an ensemble where the movement is truly the picture of the sound, and the music the inspiration of the movement. Based around the music of acclaimed Melbourne Jazz musician Leigh Barker and conceptualised by internationally renowned dancer and choreographer Ramona Staffeld, the Melbourne Rhythm Project has the flexibility of a small Jazz band, the excitement of a modern dance company and the playfulness of a late night Lindy Hop party. The Melbourne Rhythm Project bridges the gaps between Music and Movement, Jazz and Dance, Swing and Tap, composition and improvisation, social dancing and choreography, and aims to bring back the joy of dance to the world of Jazz through a wholly collaborative process.
The company of dancers have come together from the all too often disparate worlds of Swing, Lindy Hop, Contemporary Dance and Tap, to find the common thread of movement and rhythm. Likewise the band, who not only draw on the immense well of Jazz and Blues, but who also have that special bond born of years on the road together. Something special happens when dancers need musicians, and musicians need dancers, especially in the vernacular musical idioms of Jazz, Swing and Blues. It is this recipe that produces an original and authentic experience like no other – with all original 21st century music, and all original 21st century choreography and movement. The company differs itself from other contemporary dance through flexibility; where each segment of music and movement can be morphed into new shapes and new possibilities at each individual concert or appearance. The band improvises with each other and with the dancers, and vice versa. The compositions themselves become modular – where whole sections can be lengthened, shortened, extemporised or left out all together – just like any classic jazz or dance improvisation.