Garry Stewart


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Photo: Harold David

After training at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne, Garry danced with a number of companies, including Australian Dance Theatre, Queensland Ballet and One Extra Company, before he began his career as a choreographer. From 1990 – 1998 Garry operated as a freelance choreographer making works on some of Australia’s major contemporary dance companies, such as Chunky Move and Sydney Dance Company. In this period he also created choreographies for most of Australia’s major tertiary dance training institutions – the Victorian College of the Arts, Queensland University of Technology, the Centre for Performing Arts and the University of Western Sydney.

In 1998, he set up the Sydney-based company, Thwack!, creating two dance works: Plastic Space, which premiered at the Melbourne Festival and subsequently toured Australia; and the first stage of Birdbrain, a deconstruction of Swan Lake. In 1999 he was appointed Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre (ADT). Housedance was Garry’s first project for company. Commissioned for the International Millennium Broadcast it was performed on the outside of the main sail of the Sydney Opera House on New Year’s Eve 1999 to an estimated television audience of two billion.

His first full length work with ADT was the hugely successful Birdbrain, which premiered in the Adelaide Festival 2000 as a work in progress and has since toured extensively both nationally and internationally, including dates at the Joyce Theatre in New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Holland Dance Festival, as well as other major touring throughout the North America, Asia and Europe. His other works for the company include Plastic Space, Monstrosity, (made for the Australian Festival for Young People); The Age of Unbeauty (which generated three Australian Dance Awards in 2002 – Outstanding Achievement in Choreography awarded to Garry Stewart, Outstanding Performance by a Company and Outstanding Male Dancer awarded to Dean Walsh) and Nothing, created for WOMADelaide 2003.

His most recent work HELD, which premiered at the 2004 Adelaide Festival, is a unique collaboration with renowned U.S. dance photographer Lois Greenfield. This work has tour to the Sydney Opera House, the Monaco Dance Festival, Anchorage Arts Centre and to the Joyce Theatre in New York City. It won three Helpmann Awards and three Australian Dance Awards in 2004 and performed to a sell out season in Paris’ esteemed Theatre de la Ville in November 2005.
He has recently premiered a major new work, Devolution, for the 2006 Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts. Devolution features a unique collaboration with renowned Canadian robotics artist Louis-Philippe Demers. He also co-ordinated the dance gala UNIFIED for UNICEF Australia in April, 2006 which raised over $100,000 for the Gap Community Centre outside of Alice Springs and an HIV/AIDS program for children in Laos. He is currently working with director Nigel Jamieson on Honour Bound – a new dance, flim, theatre and aerial performance that explores the experiences of Terry Hicks and his son David who is being held in Guantanamo Bay. Honour Bound will premiere at the Sydney Opera House in July 2006.

Garry has been awarded a number of fellowships and scholarships, including the biennial Sir Robert Helpmann Fellowship from the NSW Ministry for the Arts, which he used to study release technique at the Susan Klein School of Dance in New York and an Australia Council Fellowship to research dance and new media technologies. He has also been the recipient of two fellowships from the Australian Choreographic Centre in Canberra. Throughout the mid 1990’s Garry studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Communications at the University of Technology Sydney majoring in cultural theory and film, video and new media production.