Angela Goh is the recipient of this year’s $50,000 Keir Choreographic Award, the Keir Foundation, Australia Council for the Arts, Carriageworks and Dancehouse have announced. The award, Australia’s most prestigious for choreography, was given to Goh in recognition of her work Sky Blue Mythic, which imagines dance as a non-human activity in an effort to move away from an anthropocentric worldview. The piece was performed by Goh to Corin Ileto’s live operatic soundscape. The $10,000 Audience Choice Award meanwhile went to Amrita Hepi, whose work Rinse explores whether being on the brink of extinction intensifies the past’s seductive nature. It is the second time she has received the award.

Amrita Hepi and Angela Goh. Photo © Jacqui Manning

“Congratulations to Angela Goh, Corin Ileto and team for the glorious Sky Blue Mythic,” said Keir Choreographic Award Founder Phillip Keir. “A wonderful piece of sharply defined choreographic art that resonates with our times. And congratulations to Amrita Hepi, winner of the audience award for such a personal and beautifully observed piece of dance. It was an enormous privilege to be involved in supporting all eight dynamic and diverse pieces of best of Australian choreographic work.”

“I was impressed with the multitude of layers and diversity of forms that all the selected artists worked with, as well as with the rigour and creativity with which they envision and embody choreography, by replacing the body to the centre of how we filter and reflect current times,” added Dancehouse Artistic Director Angela Conquet.

Angela Goh in Sky Blue Mythic. Photo © Zan Wimberley

Goh is a Sydney-based dancer and choreographer who produces work for a range of different venues. Her work considers the body in relationship to commodity, materiality, technology, and feeling, and has been presented in Australia as well as the USA, the UK, France, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Taiwan, Germany, Norway, Estonia, Denmark and the Netherlands. She received the danceWEB Europe scholarship, the Create NSW Emerging Artist Fellowship and was named Best Artist in the 2017 FBi Sydney Music Arts and Culture awards.

Hepi is a choreographer and dancer from the Bundjulung (AUS) and Ngapuhi (NZ) territories. Her work is characterised by hybridity and engages in extending choreographic practices by combining dance and movement with other domains such as visual art, language and participatory research. She has toured work in the form of performance and video nationally and internationally through theatres and galleries in Australia, Europe and the U.S.A. Hepi trained at NAISDA and Alvin Ailey Dance theatre New York. In 2019 she was a commissioned artist for The National: New Australian Art 2019 and the recipient of the dance web scholarship under the mentorship of Anne Juren, Mette Ingvarsten and Annie Dorsen. In 2018 she was the recipient of the people’s choice award for the Keir Choreographic Award and was also named one of Forbes Asia 30 under 30.

Amrita Hepi in Rinse. Photo © Zan Wimberley

Launched in 2014, the biennial competition seeks to identify, present and promote new, experimental choreographic practices developing in Australia. In addition to Goh and Hepi, Alison Currie and David Cross, Riana Head-Toussaint, Jo Lloyd, Zachary Lopez, Lewis Major, and The Farm were selected by an international jury to take part in this year’s competition. The jury was comprised of choreographers, critics and curators Serge Laurent (FR), Mette Edvardsen (NO), Takao Kawaguchi (JP) and Claudia La Rocco (USA).

The Australia Council for Arts, the Keir Foundation, Carriageworks and Dancehouse have confirmed their continued support for another two iterations of the Keir Choreographic Award, to take place in 2022 and 2024.