Dance Company was founded in 1984 by Maggi Sietsma and Abel
Valls. The Company gave its first performance in Brisbane in
1985 as part of the national conference of the Australian Society
for Education in the Arts. The first production was Maggi Sietsma's Snow
in that first year the company's commitment to presenting contemporary
works by Australian choreographers was clear. Over the years Expressions
has featured the work of many Australian choreographers such as
Natalie Weir, Rosetta Cook, Graeme Watson and Sue Peacock. Since
1985 Maggi Sietsma has created over thirty-five works for Expressions
including the widely acclaimed Alone Together, Rites
of Spring and Virtually
Richard3. Abel Valls has created original
scores for many of the Company's works.
Expressions Dance Company has performed at festivals throughout
the world and has earned its reputation as one of Australia’s
most dynamic contemporary dance companies, achieving national and
international recognition for works in which speech, dance and
visual media combine to create powerful imagery and intriguing
The Company's history is defined by a hectic program of main stage
performances, touring productions, schools productions and school
and community dance classes. By continuing to develop this
program and find new ways of engaging audience and artist, Expressions
keeps itself at the forefront of contemporary dance.
The history outlined below spans the period 1995 - 2007.
In March 2007,
Expressions undertook what became the most successful
international tour in the company’s twenty-two year history,
three weeks touring the U.S.A. Expressions performed two works
created by Maggi Sietsma: Virtually
Richard3 and Score!. The
company received standing ovations for each of the seven shows
performed in five cities; Washington, Miami, Hilo, Kamuela (Both
on Hawaii Big Island), and Maui. Reviews by the Washington
Post and Miami Sun Sentinel raved about Expressions “intensity
of movement”, “mesmerising stage presence”,
and ability to present “provocative moves with a surge of
In August 2007, Expressions presented
two different seasons in Brisbane at the Judith Wright Center.
The first one, a remount of Maggi Sietsma’s 2004
5th Door received strong response
form both Reviewers and audiences. The second season presented
a double bill comprising: Jigsaw by
Natalie Weir and Fragments of Memory by
former Cloud Gate dancer, Cheng Tsung-Lung from Taiwan.
"...superb performers delivering
socially relevant yet engaging dance theatre, reinforced by
a compelling score and dramatic design elements..." Olivia
Stewart, The Courier
In March, Expressions
Richard3 at Stanford Lively
Arts in San Francisco. Over 1000 people attended the show at the
Memorial Hall. On the way to the U.S Expressions conducted a short
residency at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts conducting
workshops with over 120 students and an open rehearsal whilst at
In July, Expressions performed a double
bill in Brisbane, featuring If only he could see what she was
looking at… by Sue Peacock and Flight! by Maggi
“There are many reasons for the
success of this program and this company, but none more important
than the commanding physicality and breathtaking prowess of the
dancers.” Shaaron Boughen, The Australian
This was followed by a limited return season of Virtually
Richard3 in Brisbane, to coincide with World
Shakespeare 2006. The Company then embarked on a national tour performing
and The 5th Door, and conducting
an extensive series of workshops in ten centres around Australia.
“Shakespeare with a powerful twist…They are all
technically strong and utterly convincing in their roles…
This is an exceptional and integrated work, superbly performed.”
Hilary Crampton, The Age, Melbourne
“The best moments play on the edge of passion and violence…
provocative dance theatre…” Julia Cotton,
Sydney Morning Herald
There was standing room only as Expressions Dance Company performed
Richard3 in Guangzhou (China) as part
of the 2nd Guandong Modern Dance Festival in May. The Company also
Richard3 at the Macau Cultural Centre
during this tour. Expressions returned to Brisbane to present Rites
of Spring at the Judith Wright Centre in June.
"A 20th Century classic" Ruth Ridgeway, Dance
The Company performed it’s 20th Anniversary Season Score!
in August. Inspired by Fokine’s
ballet Petrushka, Score!
is set in the context of a reality
"Score is a winner- thoroughly engaging and accessible.
Touchdown!" Olivia Stewart, The Courier Mail.
In September, Expressions performed Virtually
Richard3 as part of the annual Western
Arts Alliance Conference in Albuquerque, U.S.A. before touring Score!
throughout regional Queensland in October.
In March, Expressions performed Virtually
Richard3 at the Festival of Mexico in
the Historic Centre of Mexico City. Performing at the Palacio de
Bellas Artes Theatre the Company received standing ovations. Virtually
Richard3 was filmed and broadcast nationwide
around Mexico on the national cultural channel Canal 22, which has
a viewing audience of over 50 million people throughout Central
"An audacious, original, aurally and visually gripping
performance piece…Expressions Dance Company was well worth
waiting for and was greeted accordingly with enthusiastic applause…"
John Maxim, The Herald Mexico Edition
On their return from Mexico, the Company set off on a national tour
the country performing in Canberra, Ballarat, Shepparton, Orange,
Bathurst, Sale, Alice Springs, Darwin and Mt Isa.
"Powerful steps in creative quality… they would rank
among the best to be seen anywhere, and certainly one of the top
companies in Australia. Sietsma’s breathtaking choreography
transcends the craft… it’s a show of quality."
Larry Ruffell, The Canberra Times.
The Company toured to New Caledonia in July, performing Virtually
Richard3 at the Tjibaou Arts and Cultural
Centre in Noumea. Expressions then performed the world premiere
of Maggi Sietsma’s The
5th Door as part of ENERGEX Brisbane Festival
"Technically impressive dance with a forceful message"
Cameron Pegg, Scene Magazine
Two dance works and a dance film were performed as part of Atelier
in November, including Incursion by Emily Amisano, The
Insider by Natalie Weir and a dance film Frocks Off
by Rosetta Cook.
In June, the Company performed Virtually
Richard3 in Toowoomba and Sydney.
"This is a performance that holds great power. The trajectory
of the piece is always strong and clear, moving inexorably and intensely
to a deadly climax in just under an hour and a half of Sietsma’s
characteristically incisive, angular dance." Jill Sykes,
The Sydney Morning Herald
In August, Expressions Dance Company hosted one of Asia’s
most acclaimed ensembles, City Contemporary Dance Company from Hong
Kong. The two companies performed on the same program combining
the Australian Premiere of CCDC’s 365 Ways of Doing and
Undoing Orientalism and the World Premiere of Flight!
by Expressions Dance Company.
"Sietsma’s new work Flight!, continues to expand
her dance vocabulary, creating yet another superb work of individuality
and strength...accolades must flow to all..." Stefan Treyvaud,
The Courier Mail.
"Technical brilliance...explosive movement, lively sense
of humour..." The Australian
Expressions toured Jigsaw and Alone Together to
the Beijing Modern Dance Festival. In April, Maggi Sietsma’s
Vanities Crossing was nominated for best ensemble work
for the prestigious Green Room Awards. In July, the Company undertook
a successful tour performing Virtually
Richard3 at the Ludwigsburg Festival in
"Explosive dance theatre." Claudia Gass, Stuttgarter
"The performance by Expressions Dance Company with their
exceptional Virtually Richard3 is truly great, alarming and rousing
theatre. We are left in amazement and admiration." Bernd
Krause, CEST Stuttgart (Germany).
Expressions presented the world premiere of Maggi Sietsma’s
Spring at the ENERGEX Brisbane Festival 2002 in September.
"This is a performance from the whole Expressions team
that is impressive and charismatic, and reinforces Sietsma’s
reputation for originality and skill." Rosemary Sorensen,
The Courier Mail
In early 2001, the Company travelled to Europe to perform Vanities
Crossing in Austria at the International Dance Festival in
Linz and Alone Together in Basel, Switzerland as part of
a cultural exchange with Tanz Ensemble Cathy Sharp.
"Maggi Sietsma is a master of the art of staging choreography
and dramatically structured narration." Silvia Kitzmantel,
"The dancers and the dancing remain unforgettable."
Roswitha Reichart, Neues Volksblatt (Austria).
"Sietsma’s brilliant piece allows the moods to tilt.
The vocabulary of neuroses and obsessions is spelt out playfully,
humorously, wittily, it’s everyone for himself and therefore
alone, together with all the others." Rolf Bürgin,
Basellandschaftliche Zeitung (Switzerland).
Upon their return to Australia Expressions Dance Company and Tanz
Ensemble Cathy Sharp continued their cultural exchange program and
performed at The Playhouse in Brisbane. Expressions presented Maggi
Sietsma’s Behind the Wall. Expressions toured to
Singapore in November 2001 to perform Vanities Crossing
at the Victoria Theatre.
In May, Expressions performed its 15th anniversary season Secret
Passions. This was followed by performances in Korea at the
19th International Modern Dance Festival in Seoul and at the Asian
Next Wave Festival in Tokyo.
Maggi Sietsma's Virtually
Richard3 made its world premiere at ENERGEX
Brisbane Festival 2000 in October followed by a tour throughout
"Every component of this piece - design, lighting, sound
and movement - works in harmony with the other ... It is a powerful
work, and one that would bear viewing a second or third time."
Denise Richardson, Dance Australia (Australia).
Expressions was presented by Made to Move in Melbourne and Sydney
before travelling to the U.S.A. to perform in Philadelphia and New
York in July. The Company was ecstatically received in both cities.
"The Expressions Dance Company smashed dramatic situations
into smithereens and presented them as sharp choreographic fragments.
This modern dance Troupe from Brisbane, Australia made a strong
impression...vivid images and striking episodes...always a pleasure
to watch." Jack Anderson, The New York Times
"A dazzling tour de force... This company needs to be seen
again in New York - hopefully soon!" Phyllis Goldman,
Backstage – New York (U.S.A.).
August saw the world premiere season of Vanities Crossing
in Brisbane, which followed with a tour to regional Queensland.
"Maggi Sietsma has extended her awesome boundaries of dance
theatre (with) 'Vanities Crossing'." Barbara Hebden, The
1998 saw the Company perform in Taiwan at the Taipei International
Arts Festival. The Brisbane Festival also commissioned Expressions
to create a major new production, Attitude, involving dancers
from Hong Kong.
"They use their physical and ideological methods to bring
out the beauty of Australian modern dance." United
Daily News – Taipei (Taiwan).
In early 1997 the Company was awarded the prestigious Sidney Myer
Performing Arts Award for outstanding achievement in the performing
arts. In the same year, the Company was nominated for a Green Room
Award. In July the Company participated in the Karmiel Dance Festival
in Israel where it received standing ovations. In October/November
Expressions performed in Great Britain and Singapore as part of
a highly successful four week international tour.
1996 saw Expressions perform in India as part of the India-Australia
New Horizons program organised by the Australian Government and
tour throughout Australia on the Made to Move touring program.
Decadances, Expressions' 10th Anniversary season was critically
and publicly acclaimed in Bonn, Germany where Expressions performed
as part of Experience Australia '95.
"An extraordinary company...Perfectly trained virtuoso
dancers... Maggi Sietsma has a unique choreographic concept and
style which does not fit into any pre-existing category of modern
dance..." Angela Vucko, Ballett International…Tanz
In August/September of the same year the Company travelled to Papua
New Guinea to take part in a unique creation and performance project
in conjunction with the Brisbane Warana Festival.
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