Jack Lister’s ‘Still Life’ for Australasian Dance Collective

Australasian Dance Collective Jack Lister

Jack Lister recently joined the Australasian Dance Collective from the Queensland Ballet. A Brisbane local, Jack joined as both dancer and choreographer. Still Life, his latest work, premieres in the Australian Dance Collective’s THREE at QPAC in April.

Established in 1984 as Expressions Dance Company, this leading Queensland contemporary dance company entered 2020 as the Australasian Dance Collective.

THREE is a rare treat — a triple bill featuring Cult by Hofesh Shechter, the new commission by Jack Lister and another by Melanie Lane.

As a choreographer, Jack has created a new work every year since 2015.

“Each work has more or less been a departure from my last. Previously, I predominantly choreographed ballet. So, I relished this opportunity to create with a contemporary company like the Australasian Dance Collective. I’m very collaborative and love the exchange of ideas between myself and the artists. I always come into the room with a concept, imagery, some ideas for its sonic world and from there, we start digging. For me, more often than not you find the gold in the unexpected, the ‘happy accidents’. Every process is different, and with each, I learn and develop in different ways.”

Unique foyer experience

In Still Life, Jack fuses dance and visual art to create both a stunning mainstage performance and a unique foyer experience.

“I’m very excited about this foyer activation. During my creation period with the dancers, visual artist Scott Breton came into the studio. Scott sketched various stages of the creative process. He created some completely arresting drawings and these will be on display in the foyer.”

Memento Mori

Jack Lister took his inspiration for Still Life from the artworks of the 16th and 17th century Memento Mori movement. The Latin phrase memento mori translates as ‘remember that you must die’. The movement served up artwork as a reminder of the inevitability of death.

“It interested me to take these works of art that used symbolism as metaphors for life and use dance as the vehicle to explore those elements. Why not use a living and breathing medium, such as dance, to paint my own still life? The piece is not about death — nor is it solely about life — but an idea of time. It’s been fascinating to find ways of taking visual art and turn the same ideas into dance. In a lot of ways it’s a contradiction — one paints a permanent image and the other vanishes at the same point of its creation; impermanent, intangible in many ways. But maybe that in itself is an interesting metaphor for life?

“I like work that is layered. Whether it spells it out for you or is conceptual in its execution, I like seeing ideas which are relative to anyone and delivered through someone else’s lens for you to consider. That’s great art for me. The human experience is obviously different for every single person but I’m continually drawn to it in one way or another. I’m not completely sure why. I create with a palette of body and breath, so there must be something in that — using human beings to provoke other human beings.”


QPAC Playhouse, 1 – 4 April

Please Note:

Whilst Australiasian Dance Collective closely monitors the evolving situation, at present, they expect THREE will proceed, as planned. The collective will follow Government advice to ensure the safety of not only staff but also their extended collective family.

Updates at the Australasian Dance Collective website.

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