Presented by Arts House
Tuesday 20 – Sunday 25 February 2024
Tue – Sat, 7.30pm
Post-show artist talk hosted by Lucy Guerin
Wednesday 21 February for all ticket holders
Tactile Tour and Audio Described performance
Thursday 22 February, 7.30pm
This performance is designed for audiences to stand or be seated on the floor. Limited seats are available.
A small transaction fee will be charged per order.
Suitable for ages 10 +
CUDDLE contains partial nudity, haze effects, quick flashing and strobing lights, changes in colour and intensity, voice manipulation, live videography and projection.
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
Partners in crime raise the stakes and go all out on a dance heist. The window is short and the road is dangerous — will they make it out alive?
In CUDDLE, two of Melbourne’s contemporary dance artists on the rise, Harrison Ritchie-Jones and Michaela Tancheff, engage in a difficult and dynamic duel filled with surreal sonic and visual surprises.
Weaving contemporary dance with elements from martial arts, figure skating, rodeo barnyard dance and a host of more abstract inspirations, CUDDLE ebbs and flows from the joyful and absurd to the inventive and technically brilliant.
With the audience gathered around the space as though at a wrestling match, CUDDLE is a unique and unpredictable press into a strange and wondrous intimacy.
‘…a thrilling and mesmerizing contemporary dance performance that pushed boundaries and defied expectations…[left] the audience in awe.’ – DanceLife
CUDDLE uses humour and absurdity mixed with hard core technique to strike a unique balance between not knowing when to laugh, feel scared and be moved. Michaela Tancheff and I dedicated ourselves to learning and mastering various forms of partner work. We learned moves from ice skaters, took classes in martial arts like jujitsu and judo, practiced contact improv, rodeo barnyard, Latin dance, wrestling and many more abstract references, only to then start to mix and blend them together to amalgamate movements and invent a new form of forms.
On top of this we would practice wearing heavy duty gear usually practicing in car parks and public spaces. We would do early morning runs to the Eye of the Tiger and begin to build ourselves up like warriors mentally and physically so we could be ready to fight out the dance of our lives.
– Harrison Ritchie-Jones
About the artists
Harrison is an independent artist who graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) in 2014. In 2013, he was awarded a Victorian College of the Arts Undergraduate Most Outstanding Creative Scholarship.
In 2018 he was nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Male Performer for Stephanie Lake’s Pile of Bones. He was also selected for Next Waves’ Kickstart program and premiered his work Shimmer Of The Numinous in the 2018 Next Wave Festival.
He has recently received commissions from Chunky Move as a part of FRAME festival to present an iteration of his work CUDDLE, Stephanie Lake company for the inaugural season of ESCALTOR where he presented his new work BIG WIG SMALL GIG and Lucy Guerin Inc with The Substation where he presented his new work TANTRUM for 6 as in the PIECES season.
He has worked with and performed in creations by some of the country's best choreographers including Stephanie Lake, Graeme Murphy, Jo Lloyd, Antony Hamilton, Lucy Guerin, Alistair Macindoe, Prue Lang, Shelly Lasica, Rebecca Hilton and Rebecca Jensen.
Michaela Tancheff – Performer
Michaela is a Naarm/Melbourne based dance artist. She has performed in works created by Chunky Move (Token Armies), Stephanie Lake (Colossus), Harrison Ritchie-Jones (CUDDLE), Kady Mansour (Two Women Enter The Toilet Cubicle) and Kayla Douglas (A Study Of Being). In 2023 Michaela performed in the world premiere of 4/4, a new work by Chunky Move. Michaela collaborates closely with Kady Mansour as the duo Hot Glue Buns performing at music festivals and facilitating workshops to share dance with the wider community. Michaela graduated from Transit Dance in 2018 where she received the award for most outstanding dancer.
Alex Walton - Videographer
Alex is a documentary filmmaker primarily working as a freelance editor and camera person. Her work focuses on stories with a social conscience. Having a background in Psychology, she is concerned with making sense of the world through human experience.
Alex is a graduate from the European Film College in Denmark and a Masters graduate of the Documentary course in Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne.
In the years since graduating Alex has navigated a diverse range of roles across the industry. Her experience spans a wide array of formats, including short narrative films, music videos, artist profiles, event coverage, feature-length documentaries, and some commercial content.
She has worked closely with Harrison Ritchie-Jones on multiple projects including his most recent Banshee Cried Silver and CUDDLE.
Nick Roder – Composer
Nick Roder is a composer, arranger and performer with a passion for beautiful and moving music that can be heard throughout all of his work. Nick works on a range of projects including creating solo work, music for screen & video games, music for dance and arranging & orchestration.
Nick has worked alongside contemporary dancer/director Harrison Ritchie-Jones on several projects that explore an intersection between movement, music and film. These include short-film banshee cried silver and live-show CUDDLE, both of which premiered at the 2023 FRAME Biennial in Melbourne, and Big Wig Small Gig presented as a part of Stephanie Lake’s ESCALATOR series.
Max Dowling – Composer
Max Dowling is a producer, composer, performer, and mastering engineer originally from Melbourne and currently based in London. He is active across a wide array of musical outlets; from performing, composing and producing with a broad range of popular and alternative music acts, performing internationally as an improviser, collaborating within the contemporary dance discipline, mastering audio, as well as crafting his own eclectic solo music under the alias Yelderbert. A saxophonist by first trade, Max is also a highly-proficient electronic musician and keyboardist. His unique musical pathway has combined with his incessant investigation of his own craft, resulting in his ability to create music that is simultaneously divergent, authentic and nuanced. The intensity with which he pursues music-making is matched by his broad and varied output.
Some of Max’s career highlights include multiple ARIA nominations (Client Liaison, Parvyn), prime-time performances at many of Australia and the UK’s largest music festivals, widespread airplay and acclaim for much of the music he has created and worked on, and an artist endorsement from Yamaha Music in 2020.
Michaela Coventry – Producer
Michaela has been working in the arts for the past 25 years. She is currently the Director of Sage Arts working with artists and companies including Jo Lloyd, Matthias Schack-Arnott, Harrison Ritchie-Jones, Lee Serle and Musica Viva Australia.
In recent years she has been the Executive Producer of The Substation (2020-2022), Lucy Guerin Inc (2018-2019 & 2005-2012), Speak Percussion (2015-2017) and Megafun (2012-2014) and Producer of Marrugeku and Stalker (2004-2005) and of Performance Space in Sydney (2000-2003).
Michaela currently sits on the Board of Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) and Aphids and has been a regular panellist and peer assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria and City of Yarra.
Dancers: Harrison Ritchie-Jones and Michaela Tancheff
Composers: Nick Roder and Max Dowling
Videographer: Alex Walton
Lighting Designer: Ashley Buchanan
Dramaturge: Michelle Heaven
Production Manager: Steph Young
Producer: Michaela Coventry
An initial outcome of CUDDLE for FRAME: A Biennale of Dance (March 2023) was supported and presented by Chunky Move. The creation was also supported by Lucy Guerin Inc and Arts Merri-bek.
Image Credit: Jo Duck
Image Description: Two figures wearing balaclavas, no shirts, denim jeans and sneakers. One of the figures has their legs wrapped nonchalantly around the others neck as they both stare at the camera. The background is a single cold blue tone.