Published on June 8th, 2015 | by admin
KEELY TYLER DOWD INTERVIEW (NICA) … LAST ORDERS!
Welcome to Impulse Gamer Keely and what drew you to NICA?
My journey to NICA was actually quite a short one. In my last year at high school I realised I wasn’t at all interested in completing a regular university or TAFE course like all of my friends had decided they would. I was heavily involved in dancing, gymnastics and only did art based subjects at school. I couldn’t see myself giving any of them up, so I decided on a career path that combined all three and the only place in Australia to learn how to do that was NICA.
So growing up with your parents owning their own gymnastics club, was your destiny already written to become a circus performer?
Not at all, my parents didn’t even force me into becoming a gymnast! I actually have a vivid memory of when I was about four and a half, telling my Mum at the gym “I want to be like the big girls”. I suppose it’s been the one constant throughout my entire life and being inspired at such a young age has definitely influenced my career path, but it has always been my choice to pursue it. I’ve got 3 younger siblings and although we’ve all been involved with gymnastics at some point, I’ve been the only one to even consider continuing it as a lifestyle and a career.
Not at all, although my siblings and I have all been involved in gymnastics at some point because of our parents natural influence, they never pushed us into gymnastics and it was always our own choice to participate at whatever level we wanted.
In fact I’ve been the only one of us so far to consider pursuing a career involving physical activity or the arts.
Once you have graduated from NICA, what would be your dream job and why?
This is always a tough question to answer specifically because my goals in life are very broad. Ultimately, I’d love to join a company and tour the world performing. I love the idea of never needing a ‘holiday’ because my job is to keep healthy, entertain others and travel, so as long as I’m doing those three things I’ve succeeded.
Can you tell us a little about the theory and the practice involved in being a student of NICA?
Our days at NICA are mainly practical with one half of the day dedicated to our physical training – two specialty acts, which you choose in first year and a group act. In my case, my solo specialties are tightwire, aerial stirrups and group act is Russian swing. We spend a minimum of one hour each day on each of these acts, learning skills, gaining fitness on the apparatus and creating acts. The other half of the day is more theory oriented units, which cover the less physical side to surviving successfully as a circus performer. In the Bachelor course we complete units in anatomy, psychology, nutrition, Circus history, rigging and dance. Each year level also has performance classes a few times a week during this half of the day, which we use to create our shows as well as work on performance techniques and drama exercises.
Tell us about your performance in LAST ORDERS!?
My act in this show is about an ordinary 9-5 working woman on her monotonous commute home at dusk and she’s completely fed up with her tedious lifestyle. So instead of getting on the train, tonight she daringly scales the electric overhead wires of the railway line. Dancing precariously on the tight wire above the rails, care free from her monotonous life, but perhaps a little too carefree…
What’s been your favourite aspect about LAST ORDERS! so far?
I think my favourite part of this show creation has been the amount of individuality that each of us have been able to express through our acts because we are the primary director of our own act. Showcase is a very unique opportunity in this respect because we are ultimately in charge of creating our own individual acts, pitching our own visions and making our own artistic choices, with access to incredible resources, directors and tech crew helping us along the way. It’s such a rare opportunity because in the ‘real world’, the director tells the performer what to do – we fulfill their visions and the performer doesn’t have much say at all.
With opening night just a few weeks away, how do you handle nervous jitters?
Being a tight wire artist, it’s imperative that I can keep my balance and not shake too much when I’m nervous! I’ve found the best way to prepare for nerves is to train my act until I can do it without even thinking about it and just go into automatic when the pressure is on to perform. Training this way before a show also boosts my confidence in my abilities, so I’m not as nervous about doing the act anyway!
What’s your favourite part of LAST ORDERS!?
That’s a really hard question, I don’t think I have a favourite scene. Everyone’s worked really hard to get to where they are and I’m so proud to be considered on the same level as all these other incredible acts in Last Orders. I really enjoy the final scene leading into the finale because we’re all relaxed and celebrating another show run together and it’s just a lot of fun to be a part of.
Can you tell us about what practice and choreography was involved to create this production?
Showcase preparation began last year for us as performers, by brainstorming ideas, trying sequences and experimenting in our training hours. We presented our initial act ideas in February of this year and since then we’ve collaborated with the directors JB and Helene during our performance classes and specialty training hours to enhance our individual world, character, intention and effects. We performed our almost finished acts in April to a panel of important people in the circus industry including potential company employers who gave us some outsider feedback to improve our acts and get those final touches. During our performance classes, we started working on the waitering sections, which bring the whole show together and more importantly show how we work as an ensemble too. Our training hours moved out of the training space and onto the stage and before we knew a show was being pieced together!
Lastly how would you sum up LAST ORDERS! for our audience?
15 of the newest circus acts in the industry, from 16 fresh and enthusiastic performers. In a cabaret-esque setting with a raised stage and indoor bar, you can get up close and personal in the seating surrounding the stage or observe it from the theatre style seating bank. Last Orders covers a broad spectrum of acts, characters and emotions – there’s definitely something to please everyone. From a death defying 10 metres in the air to a fat suit rolling on the ground, the latest music trends to classic hits, it’s funny, dramatic, emotional and everything in between!
Thanks again Keely and all the best for LAST ORDERS!
Thanks very much, enjoy the show!
Photo credits – Aaron Walker Photography
For more information about LAST ORDERS!, please visit – http://www.nica.com.au/event-tickets.php?cPath=327