For dance fans in Melbourne, June once again brings the Short + Sweet DANCE festival to Chapel off Chapel. You may be familiar with the Short + Sweet organisation through the 10 minute plays that they started putting on around the country around 8 years ago. The  not-for-profit entity is committed to proving performance opportunities to artists all over the this country to explore and develop their craft and work and they’ve now branched out in into dance and cabaret.

Today’s HOT Chat is with the Short + Sweet DANCE’s Festival Director, Alister Smith. Thanks Alister!

half FaceAlister, tell me a bit more about your background and how you came to be the Festival Director of the Short + Sweet DANCE?

I have my own Theatre production house called REDROOM.THEATRE.COMPANY of which I have been artistic director for the last 6 years. I have created, produced and directed many shows that focus on the musical theatre and cabaret genre.

In 2008 I entered a piece that I wrote and directed into the inaugural Short Sweet + Cabaret Festival which was lucky enough to win and that is how the organisation became familiar with my work. So, combining that and my very long relationship with dance I was offered the role of Festival Director of Short + Sweet DANCE Melbourne.

What’s a typical work day for you?

Early Rise. Coffee and The Age. Check work email account and flag and respond to anything that need urgent attention. The day can then be spent doing any number of things from designing art work for promotional material, emails, drumming up interest in for the festival and for any of other my other shows, emails, meeting with colleagues and my production teams, emails, scheduling, emails, time lining, emails, sorting logistics of productions, emails, many many phone calls, emails, pitching ideas and brainstorming, emails, then down to my favourite café Orange for some creating and writing…..emails.

What do you enjoy most about working at the Short + Sweet DANCE?

Helping first time choreographers realise their visions by putting their creations on stage.

What are some of the most interesting or challenging projects that you’ve worked on in your career?

Last year’s inaugural SS+D festival was one of the most challenging process. Kicking off a brand new festival in Melbourne, the capital of arts festivals is no easy feat especially when I only had three months to do so…… but this was one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences of my life.

SS+D POSTERWhat is it about Short + Sweet DANCE that makes it different to other dance events?

What identifies this festival is simple….. be 10 minutes or less in length!

We are searching for every style. Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Physical theatre, Burlesque basically if you could dance it we want to see it. We want the best of the best. Push the boundaries be creative, be original, be under 10 minutes in length and you were in.

With the S+S festivals the audience only needs to come along to one venue to see all the pieces, you don’t have to worry about making it all over the city to a multitude of venues to see the pieces you want. We throw them all together under one roof for a night of non-stop brilliance!

Last year’s event was a big hit! What can audiences expect at this year’s festival?

BIGGER & BETTER!! is all I can say….. I’m programing a festival that is fast and furious! We have more variety and everyone is pushing the boundaries… they are being brave and daring with their art forms. There is definitely  something there to challenge and excite everyone from jazz to contemporary to Hip-Hop……

Finally, what are your tips for what’s HOT in Melbourne?

  • Orange (126 Chapel St, Windsor +61 3 9529 1644) …. best coffee in town!
  • Porgie & Mr Jones (291 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn +61 3 9882 2955)…. Melbourne’s best breakfast!
  • The Local Tap house (184 Carlisle St, St Kilda East +61 3 9537 2633)…. The best beer!
  • The Butterfly Club (204 Bank Street, South Melbourne +61 3 9690 2000)….. Best cabaret in Australia (and best mojitos!)
  • Hoo Haa Bar(1/105 Chapel St, Windsor +61 3 9529 6900)…. Super Parma!!

Short + Sweet DANCE will be held at Chapel off Chapel from June 16-27 2010. For a full festival program go to www.shortandsweet.org.