– by Leah Vlatko
Daisy Sanders, WAAPA graduate and the creative behind new dance theatre piece ‘Status Room’, took time out of her busy schedule to chat to us about art, identity, and her plans for the future.
‘Status Room’ is an exploration of personas, which features Sanders and co-deviser Shuling Wong expressing themselves through theatre, dance, and elements of audience interaction. The piece explores openness in relationships, and the destructive properties of hyper-connectivity and self-awareness. It asks the question of who we are, and whether others see us in that same way.
Sanders explains that she and Wong used alternative writing methods to understand the personas they both adopt in their everyday lives. ‘We took a month where we posted status updates as the other,’ she says, and describes this activity as valuable in understanding the way identity is constructed through friend lists, self-promotion and online sharing. Sanders labels this experience quite unnatural, ‘I guess by doing that we put ourselves outside our comfort zone, exposing ourselves in a way we didn’t find comfortable.’ Wong tends to express herself openly online, whereas Sanders is generally more private in the social media world. For this creative duo, swapping approaches to online interaction provided greater insight into identity development.
This invasion of personal life by creative pursuits can be quite stressful, and when asked how she copes with the intensity of generating work Sanders admitted that ‘the crossover has been a huge challenge.’ She is fascinated by her work, and passionate about it, however she describes the line between personal and professional as ‘very hard.’ As a young person in a hyper-connected world, she says it is important to find the balance between having a personal life and allowing herself to be excited about her work and the project she is enamoured by. Sanders ensures that there is time in her life for meditation, self-reflection, and escape from technology. ‘I’ll take time to turn my phone and laptop off, and set times and places where I can’t work on [the piece]’.
We asked Sanders if she had any advice to young people who dream of tapping into the creative arts industry. Attitudinally, she encourages artists to be ‘generous’, ‘brave’, and ‘fearless about what it is you think about and what it is you would like other people to think about.’ She underlines the importance of being confident in who you are as an artist, whilst generous in accepting feedback and being responsive to the world around you. On a practical level, she says ‘finding your own drive’ is important, and encourages young dancers to follow their own instincts.
After ‘Status Room’, Sanders looks forward to a well-deserved rest, before embarking on her next adventure. ‘One thing you should know about me is that I’m always planning and planning, always in motion.’ After her holiday she is anticipating involvement in the Perth Fringe Festival, as well as travelling to Melbourne and overseas to develop her artistic and physical ability. This may be her first piece, but it looks like just the beginning of a successful and exciting career for an extremely talented, driven artist.
As for what we can expect from her current production? Sanders emphasises that there should be ‘no expectations.’ The piece encompasses dance and theatre, with a focus on communication through physical language. Audience members should come with an open mind, and no hesitations.
‘Status Room’ runs October 14 – November 1 at the Blue Room Theatre.
Images by Nik Babic.