“It’s not every day the audience watches beautifully choreographed work and then is subjected to a verbal assault on the ears” – Dancer Steph Wyburn talks about GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS

GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS has been a whirlwind, to say the least. We have laughed until tears run down our faces through the hilarity of ‘Boobzilla’. We have experienced the deafening silence of ‘Fitzpleasure’, a piece about the pressures on women and childbirth. Looking back to our early days of messing around in dance studios, I would have never conceived we would be preparing for our first international tour.

Steph in Berggasse 19. Photography by Ian Jones, 2015

I first met Bonnie in university, both majoring in Ballet. It wasn’t until a year later that I participated in her first major choreographed work, Berggasse 19. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to watch her creativity advance and thrive into what is witnessed on stage today – pieces that are innovative, original and, of course, hilarious. 

I get to dance, perform and create with such a crazy, talented, superhuman bunch of ladies. They make every drop of sweat, every tear and every frantic attempt of nailing ‘Satisfaction’ without screwing it up, worth it. These are the ladies I draw the majority of my inspiration and drive from. I thank Bonnie for bringing us all together. The diversity of the company members adds so much to the final product. It still surprises me how much we have all grown, individually and as a group. From being one of the more shy members of the company, I have flourished from being surrounded with such a nourishing group. The environment Bonnie has created is full of acceptance and warmth. An environment where anyone could speak their mind without fear of judgment.

Our hearts are completely invested in the work. We all relate to what it is like to be a woman. One way or another we have all experienced belittlement because of our gender. We have also experienced how incredible, amazing and powerful we can be. Why not show our struggles and triumphs through what we love doing?

Steph modelling a gorgeous audience creation in GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS. Photography by Jacqui Henshaw, 2018.

What I really enjoy about being a part of this piece is the very beginning of the creative process. All of our experiences from all our walks of life have influenced the creation of the work. We spend a lot of time talking about ideas. It may start with an article that we’ve read, such as ‘How To Look Good in Photos’. Or it’s something we’ve seen going to work one morning. Something that starts a conversation. Some rehearsals are just spent talking and refining an idea, an idea we may not even use.

We also use a lot of visual stimuli to inspire movement. Especially from paintings and weird images that Bonnie has managed to dig up from the depths of the internet. Movement is manipulated, broken and sped up to further refine what has been created. When it is applied to our bodies, it can make some really interesting stuff.

Not all of what we have created for this work is solely dance related. In my mind this what makes GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS so unique. It’s not every day the audience watches beautifully choreographed work and then is subjected to a verbal assault on the ears when the company starts yelling at each other.

That moment on the dusty carpet floor in Haberfield

The moment Eau de Urinalé (Perfume Ad) came to life. Photography by Bonnie Curtis, 2017.

One of the more memorable creative process involving speech that sticks out to me is the ‘Perfume Ad’. We were sitting in a circle on the dusty carpet floor in Haberfield. Pens in hand, trying to scribble down the most ridiculously random words we could think of. Bonnie then put all of the words in a hat. We picked them out and then put the words into dialogue taken from a perfume ad from YouTube.

The results were hilarious – colonic irrigation, pineapple, and sledgehammer to name a few. These words then spurred on the movement and insanity of the ‘Perfume Ad’. Along with my anxiety of being smashed in the face by one of Kate’s flailing appendages.

Being a part of Bonnie Curtis Projects and the creation of GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS will forever be one of my most memorable, hilarious and pivotal moments, with many more to come. 

Steph will be verbally assaulting the audience when GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS comes to Wellington on March 14-17.

Tickets are on sale now through NZ Fringe.





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