American Masters: Merce Cunningham Contemporary Dance Residency

Residency overview | Merce Cunningham | Public Programs | Dancers

Residency Dancers

Caroline Meaden

Image: Pia Johnson

Caroline Meaden works as a dancer/choreographer across performance and live art contexts. As a solo artist she has presented work in The Substation’s curated Melbourne Fringe season (Blowin’ Up: Sneaky Bastard—Winner: Arts House Evolution Award), and as part of her Postgraduate Diploma in Choreography at VCA (Too Much Sun and Untitled). She was a collaborative artist on the three-time Green Room Award nominated work, Blizzard (directed by Nat Cursio) and has been an artist in residence at Artshouse, Tasdance, Mosaico Danza (Italy), Dancehouse, Lucy Guerin Inc., Vitalstatistix and Chunky Move (Maximised). As one third of Slown, Smallened and Son she has created This is What’s Happening (Winner: Best Dance Melbourne Fringe, nom. Green Room and Australian Dance Award), Fallen O’er (nom. Australian Dance Award), Lady Example for Next Wave Festival and Let’s Go Up Here for FOLA.

Caroline Meaden in Too Much Sun. Image: Jeff Busby

As a performer she has worked for Shelley Lasica (Behaviour Part 7), Michelle Heaven (In Plan), Monica Bill Barnes Company (The Gallery Workout), Natalie Cursio (Blizzard, Tiny Slopes), Paea Leach (Pushed), Alice Dixon (Lucy Guerin Inc. Pieces for Small Spaces) and Reckless Sleepers (BEL/UK—A String Section) among others. In 2016 she received an Australia Council ArtStart grant to work with Tere O’Connor in New York on the development of her new solo work, and was also mentored by Shelley Lasica. Her work has been supported by the Besen Foundation, Creative Victoria, the Australia Council and the City of Melbourne.

Renata Commisso

Image: Sasha Onyshchenko/Kravetz Photographics 

Renata Commisso was born in Sydney, Australia, and began her education in ballet and contemporary dance locally before moving to Munich, Germany to complete her studies at the Heinz-Bosl Stiftung Ballet Akademien. In 2008 she began her professional dance career with Victor Ullate Ballet in Madrid, Spain, and later went on to join Opera de Lyon and Ballet Nice Mediterranee performing a repertoire of Maguy Marin, Jiří Kylián, Maurice Bejart, David Parsons, Lucinda Childs and other leading international choreographers.



Renata Commisso. Image: Sasha Onyshchenko/Kravetz Photographics

In 2013 Renata joined Les Grands Ballets Canadians as a demo-soloist, performing the works of Mats Ek, Shen Wei, Stephan Thoss and Ohad Naharin and other artists. In recent years Renata has begun exploring independent contemporary performance and dance film projects. Her collective became the resident artists at Le Livart Gallery in Montreal. Having returned to Sydney in 2018 she is pursuing further opportunities to develop accessible dance works for the public, as well as sharing her passion for dance in disability and degenerative disease therapy.

Scott Elstermann

Image: Tyrone Robinson

Scott Elstermann is currently one of four international recipients of the prestigious 2018 Pina Bausch Fellowship for Dance and Choreography. He is the first Australian and youngest ever artist to receive this honour, seeing Scott mentored by Spanish choreographer Marina Mascarell and accompanying her to some of the world’s best dance companies including Nederlands Dans Theater. Scott received the Palisade Award for the most outstanding graduate of the Bachelor of Arts (Dance) course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). He has a versatile background, receiving titles such as Junior Australasian Jazz champion and Youth Queensland Ballroom champion. Scott has performed for some of Australia’s leading dance artists including Lucy Guerin Inc., Natalie Allen, Shona Erskine and Scott Ewen.

Scott Elstermann. Image: Jon Green 

He has been commissioned to choreograph short works for WAAPA, the Royal Academy of Dance and for Perth and Melbourne Fringe Festivals, winning the Overall Dance & Physical Theatre Award at the 2016 Perth Fringe World Festival. Scott has been the audition dance assistant for Matilda: The Musical by the Royal Shakespeare Company and a teaching artist with the West Australian Ballet. All of this has led to Scott being a three-time semi-finalist in the Western Australian Young Achiever Awards and highly sought-after for television, corporate and commercial events.

Banner image: Merce Cunningham in Untitled Solo. Photo by Louis Stevenson (1953). Image courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust. All rights reserved.