Vicki Van Hout considers herself a relative unknown who has somehow managed to keep beneath the radar. But the success of Briwyant may be about to change that.
A highly textured work by a self-confessed ‘dance junkie’Van Hout is inspired by the richness and diversity of Indigenous culture and is proud to create work that is an offering to her audience – to be interpreted as abstract performance art with layers of meaning.
“I’ve had the opportunity to author an Indigenous story and share an Indigenous circumstance,” explains Van Hout, “And this is a great hour to be able to use my own voice to challenge the boundaries and create work that isn’t necessarily aimed at hitting the conventional markers of success.”
Dance, multi-media and text entwine in Van Hout’s latest work but she confesses that particularly with technology it is important to remember that it is a tool and not the defining motif.m
“In this project we wanted technology to be more of a ‘pop-up’ concept – we used it as a form of pre-text through which we could harness the specifics of cultural practice to bring forth ancestral power and magic.”
Engaged with developing new vocabularies of dance within education as well as the performing arts Van Houtreiterates the importance of oral narratives and telling stories; in her work as a choreographer but also as an educator.
“Briwyant has references to my Grandmother and images of her country; a lot of this work is about paying homage to the land and there are references to the kinships formed,” describes Van Hout, “It is something simple yet embedded with sophisticated meaning.”
With Indigenous performance rapidly diversifying Van Houtis excited to be creating work that goes beyond the expectations of what ‘should’ be done.
“Anything we do as Indigenous artists is political – I’d like to think of myself as a provocateur. I owe it to myself to take risks and pave a way that is different – and hopefully in doing so to challenge the current parameters and perceptions.”
Briwyant is ultimately not a victim story. It melds humour, history and truth to create a work that according to Van Hout is to “send a positive message – and show the world that Indigenous people are self-determined and we are the authors of our destiny”.