07/04/2011 - 00:00

‘Break a leg’ wish ironic for Helix

07/04/2011 - 00:00


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DARYL Brandwood suffered a hip dislocation as a toddler and broke his leg as a child, but went on to become one of Australia’s most acclaimed dancers.

‘Break a leg’ wish ironic for Helix

DARYL Brandwood suffered a hip dislocation as a toddler and broke his leg as a child, but went on to become one of Australia’s most acclaimed dancers.

His life story thus far is told in Helix, a contemporary ballet show about the human form, exploring broken bones to broken hearts.

Helix has attracted an eclectic group of sponsors, including Hollywood Private Hospital, ECU School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine, and industrial safety solutions company Hartac.

Hartac principal director Rhoda Harris has turned her lifelong interest in ballet and theatre into monetary support, with the Helix sponsorship a company first.

Ms Harris said it was more than her friendship with Mr Brandwood that drove her to support the project.

“I can see potential for the show; I think it’s very creative,” Ms Harris told WA Business News.

“We’re in health and safety and this is based around the body and around health, I just thought it’d be great for us to be able to support him.”

Hartac is a Belmont-based business that manufactures safety signs and products, primarily for the mining industry.

Ms Harris hopes the arts sponsorship will gain recognition for Hartac from its art-supporting clients including Woodside, BHP, Chevron and Rio Tinto.

Helix coordinating producer Barry Strickland said he wanted to try and attract sponsorships from the business sector before seeking government funding.

“We decided that, because of its various elements of cinematography, medicine and science making up the work, as well as choreography, it would be wise to target potential sponsors that had a stake in what we were trying to achieve through the work,” Mr Strickland said.

He said he first approached Hollywood Private Hospital because of the medical technologies explored in the show. As well as financial support, the hospital has provided some of the medical imaging for the production.

Trying to make a name in a crowded marketplace is something Ms Harris is familiar with, having built Hartac from the ground up.

“We started our business 40 years ago with $178 in the bank, so I can tell you now it’s been a hard road and we know what it’s like trying to get up and running; it’s very difficult,” Ms Harris said.

Hartac managing director Jim Horton said it was important the business community supported the arts, because it could afford to do so.

“The arts is something that’s probably considered least of all because I guess it’s something that only art-lovers get involved with,” he said.

Mr Strickland said the lack of a strong philanthropic tradition in Australia meant that businesses often injected funding into avenues such as sport and charity, leaving the arts and culture sector falling behind.

After two working project previews to its business supporters, Helix also attracted sponsorship from The Good Store in Victoria Park and a grant from the WA Premier’s Arts Partnership Fund.

An interest in science and medical intervention drove choreographer Barry Moreland to create the piece for Mr Brandwood to tell his life story through a marriage of science, medicine, art, film and dance.

The show features video by cinematographer Ian Batt, projected behind the dance performance, exhibiting experimental film, childhood footage and high-end medical imaging.

Helix premieres at the Heath Ledger Theatre at the State Theatre Centre in June.



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