Melbourne-born Petros Treklis moved to London in 2007 where he studed at the Laban Conservatoire for Contemporary Dance. After performing in the UK and Euorpe, he returned to Australia in 2014, joining Sydney Dance Company that year for Louder than Words. He has since danced with SDC in Frame of Mind, Triptych, Anima, Orb, Wildebeest and as part of New Breed. His work for New Breed 2017, presented by SDC and Carriageworks, is called The Art of Letting Go.
Petros Treklis. Photograph © Pedro Greig
When did you first become interested in dance?
I’d always loved dance from a young age. The seven-year old me was infamous for being the family dancer at weddings and living it up on the dance floor, but I didn’t start to delve into professional dancing and training until I was 17.
When did you start thinking you would like to choreograph?
From around the time when I first started my professional training at Laban and we had choreographic lessons, I knew it was something I was very interested in pursuing.
Have you choreographed much before?
I have done some choreography in the past, but nothing as serious as getting to make a piece for a season on a professional company like Sydney Dance Company.
Can you tell us about the inspiration for your New Breed work The Art of Letting Go?
The inspiration for my work came from a place of self reflection at first. I was thinking about some things in particular to myself and how I was holding onto some things, all very different in relation to each other. But then I collected these ideas and turned them into scenarios in which I built this mini narrative for my work. By the end, I had decided the piece would be about us being taken into different pockets of one man’s mind in which we see different variations on a theme of “Letting Go”.
Is it an abstract or narrative work?
I wouldn’t personally refer to the piece as abstract, it has a strong sense of dramaturgy, emotion and wholeness. However, I would say some of the movement within the work has abstract qualities.
How many dancers are you using?
I’m using seven dancers – four women and three men: Charmene Yap, Holly Doyle, Josie Weise, Latisha Sparks, Sam Young-Wright, Todd Sutherland and Bernhard Knauer.
Have you enjoyed creating in the studio with the dancers? And did you already have a clear idea about the movement you wanted?
I loved creating in the studio with the dancers, but it was a case of me having quite a clear idea of how I wanted them to move. I personally wanted to create the steps for each individual so as to give the work a really stylised feel.
How would you describe your choreographic style?
I would say my choreographic style is a combination of strong technique, interesting form and playful dynamics. I am always interested in moving/choreographing in a way that will result in something that shows strength, beauty and emotion, and hopefully offers the audience a sense of dramaturgy that they can potentially relate to in some way.
Are there any choreogarphers who have been particularly influential on your work?
I wouldn’t say there is any one choreographer that has influenced me, rather all the choreographers who I have met and worked with. I have taken different tools and applied them to myself to help enrich my own style.
Can you tell us about the music you are using for the piece?
I’m using two sonatas in G for Cello and Piano by Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax. After giving it quite a bit of thought, I decided a classical track was the best way to go. I feel that as a dance audience we’re conditioned to generally feel an implied story, when we hear classical music with dance, because of ballet. So when I found this beautiful score by Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, I felt like it already had a sense of narrative to it, which gave me a lot of freedom with exploring my own physicality and then using the music as a structure to guide the piece.
How do you feel about New Breed and what it has offered you?
New Breed has been an amazing experience. I’ve really enjoyed working on my own style and physicality but working on other bodies has made me realise how much I do want to choreograph in the future.
What do you hope audiences will get from your work?
I really just want the audience to sit back and enjoy the beautiful world that they’ll be taken into.
New Breed plays at Carriageworks, Sydney until December 9