What's On

Make Your Life Count

Sarah Aiken and Collaborators

Presented in Season 1 2022

World Premiere
Presented by Arts House and Sarah Aiken and Collaborators

Wed 23 – Sun 27 Feb, 2022
Wed – Sat, 7.30pm
Sun, 5pm

Auslan Interpreted performance
Fri 25 Feb


General Admission $20
A small transaction fee will be charged per order.

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

Read our COVID-19 Safety Plan here.

Wheelchair Accessible
Auslan Interpreting
Quiet Space Available
Companion Card
Assistance Animal

Loosen your sense of self in a kaleidoscopic dance work of constantly shifting scale.

Are you too much to handle or too small to matter?

Make Your Life Count is an ambitious dance work that shifts scale in a heartbeat- from the microscopic to the universal. Choreographer and dancer Sarah Aiken encounters her own self expanded to infinite proportions or shrunken to painful insignificance, stretched into new dimensions or flattened into mute landscapes.

This powerful feat of imagination is a serious attempt to grapple with the paradoxes of modern life, in which the individual is swollen to grotesque importance while also reduced to an ineffectual, even invisible impotence.

Whether monstrous and destructive or lost in the crushing scale of humanity, ecology, time and the universe, this perspective-shifting work is a chance to lose yourself, and maybe find something better instead.

“Her body becomes a sculptural object… beautifully wrought, an exercise in simplicity and innovation” – Varia Karipoff, RealTime

“Aiken’s work is a delight with its own personality, fully engaged with wit and visual verbal wordplay” – Liza Dezfouli, Australian Stage 

“…definitional, capstone works of the emerging generation of Australian choreographers” – Jana Perkovic, The Age

Images: Tiffany Garvie


Artist Statement

I am questioning forces that influence our (my) drive to thrive, be agile and influential, and the effects ambition and competition have on culture, communities and the environment. With this in mind, authoring a creative product is both problematic and completely necessary; a self-expansion which plays into this drive for growth and outward expression of self, and a vital examination of ideas – to unsettle how we see ourselves – and the contradictions that lie between the importance of empowerment and action and the insignificance a tiny human life in the oblivious turning of the world.

In trying to make a positive mark on the world I need to learn (and love) how little I matter and how powerful that can be. With so much of our lives and identities commodified, we can’t look away from ourselves, so I’m looking even closer, zooming right in, in an attempt to lose sight of the boundaries of self – to see myself as an assemblage without defined edges.

About the Artist

Sarah Aiken is a Melbourne-based performer, teacher and choreographer. Sarah’s work investigates assemblage, authorship, scale and the self, looking at the roles of audience, performer, subject and object and connecting tangibly with audiences to consider performance as a site for empathy and exchange. Sarah is co-director of Deep Soulful Sweats, working with Rebecca Jensen to create work that engages rigorously with participation, waste and a reckless formalism, recycling content to consider materiality and how we come together.

Sarah has presented work nationally and internationally including Dance Massive, Arts Centre Melbourne, Castlemaine State Festival, Dancehouse (Housemate Resident XIV), The Substation/LGI, Keir Choreographic Awards (finalist 2014 and 2016), VCA, Brisbane Festival, PICA, Ian Potter Museum, Immigration Museum, Les Plateaux de la Briqueterie (Paris), and Dancemakers Toronto. Sarah is an Australia Council artist in residence at HIAP, Helsinki and is developing new works for video.


Choreography and performance: Sarah Aiken with Claire Leske
Video: Sarah Aiken
Composition: Andrew Wilson
Technical and creative support: Daniel Arnott
Text: Megan Payne with Sarah Aiken
Lighting: Amelia Lever-Davidson

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. and the City of Melbourne through Arts House. Development supported by Lucy Guerin Inc/WXYZ space residency.

Image credit: Gregory Lorenzutti

Image description: Woman dressed in orange, stands in front of a her self. The smaller figure in the foreground stands in profile, with an uncertain expression, half turned toward the larger version, who points a finger and stares out directly. 

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Are you too much to handle or too small to matter?

Are you too much to handle or too small to matter?

Sarah Aiken's new dance work will shift your perspective