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Dianna Nixon – Wild Voices with The Girls

Last month I was in Canberra – the best time of year to be in Canberra, did you know…the weather is superb and it’s the time of year when Canberra celebrates becoming the capital. This year is particularly special because it’s 100 years since Lady Denman officially opened the city as the capital and named it Canberra.

During March The Famous Spiegeltent was in town, renamed the Spiegel Garden for the Canberra tour, and was installed in the Rose Gardens of Old Parliament House.  All sorts of music, dance, circus and burlesque performances were held in it including a performance called The Girls. Dianna Nixon collaborated with Vanessa Nimmo, Kate Hosking, Beth Atkins and Larissa Stoljar exploring what it is to be a woman. They delivered a beautiful and feminine piece almost entirely as back to back songs. It was a one-off performance and I’m glad to have seen it.

So, without further ado, here is The Girls

To get used to the space and lighting, I shot a few frames during final rehearsal.
I had a challenge on my hands.
That big dome of natural light was spilling in from the top and
competing with the dazzling interior artifical lights.

You can’t shoot performances, especially live ones with an audience, with flash.
So I composed the majority of images with just the performers and artifical lights.

Then the place filled to the brim, ohmigod!
How was I going to get the shots and not block people’s views??

I had to accept the inclusion of the audience, and also the stage paraphernalia
that normally would be cropped out, like lights, cords etc into my compositions.
In truth, the venue itself is so beguiling, that it worked with the performance itself anyway.

Yes! Little wooden cherub-bums, about 100 years old awwwww!

Here they come, weaving and winding their way into our space.
Quite a brave move to come out in nude coloured underwear.
It brought us instantly to a point of awareness and
we felt immersed in their world for the next 70 minutes.

Each song brought focus to a different woman with a particular idea to express.
And in the background the others slowly embarked on typical female rituals
like getting dressed and applying make up.

It was clever, and beautiful, and very feminine.

It was just gorgeous and transportative and inspiring and uplifting.
So lovely to shoot for you, Dianna.
You all look thrilled here and so you should be.

There’s a year long celebration going on, so if you ever thought it was time to visit, this would be a great year to go. Visit the Canberra 100 website for details.


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