– Highlights

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Exhibition

Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean

01 Nov - 18 Feb

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Exhibition

Jon Campbell: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 25 Feb

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Exhibition

Word: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 18 Feb

– Learning Events

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Event

ARTBAR January 2018

19 Jan, 7.00pm, Throughout the MCA

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Workshop

Contemporary Kids School Holiday Program

23 Jan, 10.30am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

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Tour

Art Baby

06 Feb, 12.30pm, MCA

– News from inside the MCA

The Importance of Laughter

We sat down with laughter connoisseur Shari Coventry from Sydney Laughter to discover the truth about laughter and why we need it ahead of this month’s Laughter Sessions. more

Coming up in 2018…

Next year is one of the most exciting and diverse seasons yet. Find out what’s on. more

Six Films that Changed My Life (for better or worse): Antenna's Rich Welch

To pave the way for the soon-to-come cinema binge at Antenna Film Festival,Co-Director Rich Welch shared a few of his life changing films. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

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MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

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Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

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Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Blog – Go-go Dance: from 60s Twist to Sydney

Posted on May 20, 2016 by Bridie Connell in Artist and curator Interviews.
Many of the Biennale works at the MCA give nods to movement and dance – from artist Noa Eshkol’s dancer roots to the funky flows of Adam Linder. For the month of May we invited four performance artists to teach a different dance style in free workshops. On Thursday 26 May, artist Bridie Connell swings us into 60s Go-go dance. Bridie shares where the dance style was born, the Go-go scene in Sydney and how she incorporates it into her own art practice:

In short, go-go dancers are the cheerleaders of the dance floor. Employed by nightclubs and live music venues to create energy and atmosphere, they impress with their seemingly endless go-go-go energy and ability to adapt their largely improvised choreography to suit every key change, beat drop and scratched record thrown their direction. From 70s table dancers to vogue-ing club kids, hot gay boys in hot pants and Ibiza super clubbers, go-go dance styles have evolved over the years in line with fashion and popular music, but to understand the moves I love the most we need to go back to the beginning.

It all started in 1960 with The Twist – a catchy tune popularised by Chubby Checker and inspired by a ‘raunchy’, hip-twisting rock and roll dance move that horrified parents, delighted teenagers and revolutionised social dancing as we know it. Free from the formality of partner dancing, The Twist dance craze inspired such quirky 60s moves as the Watusi, Jerk, Pony, Monkey, Swim and Hully Gully and riding on its success club owners began to employ hip-twisting dancers to entertain patrons – and go-go dancing was born. From Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to Sydney’s own Golden Mile, Kings Cross, in cages, on podiums, and in more family friendly incarnations on prime time TV, wiggly-hipped go-go girls shook up the conservative status quo.

A keen dancer from a young age, I played out my go-go aspirations in front of mirrors and on nightclub podiums, but it wasn’t til adulthood that my love of 60s music drew me to perform. Under the guidance of renowned Sydney performer Tasia, combined with a steady diet of vintage YouTube clips, I learnt those classic 60s moves and embarked on a fun journey that has taken me everywhere from dive bars to TV sets and most recently on a dancing tour of Japan with Perth go-go troupe The Beehives.

Inevitably this passion has fed into my visual arts practise, which has drawn upon the history of performers in inner-city Sydney and iconic representations of women in art, religion and pop culture. In my performative videos and installations podiums become pedestals for my fabulously fringed false idols but, when I’m teaching I like to keep things light hearted – and few things make me smile more than a room full of grinning individuals enjoying the music, losing their inhibitions and doing The Twist!

Swing your hips with Bridie at the next Thursday night dance workshop Get Your Swerve On: Go-go dance on Thursday 26 May. The class is FREE, drop-in and all experiences levels are welcome.
Join the Go-go dance workshop Facebook event page here

Find Bridie on Facebook for dance classes and performances.

Bridie dances Go-go

Bridie Connell performing Go-go in Japan, Photo by Kazuyuki Nagai

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Bridie Connell

Bridie manages inventory and online operations for MCA Store. A self-confessed book nerd, her personal library is full of fashion photography, feminist theory and trashy celebrity biographies. A practising visual and performing artist she is interested in representations of women in art and popular culture and is a passionate supporter of emerging local artists and designers.

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