Gideon Obarzanek was born in Melbourne in 1966 and spent his early childhood in Israel. The family moved back to Melbourne where he began training as a dancer in his mid teens. After leaving school he deferred science at university to study at The Australian Ballet School and went on to dance with Queensland Ballet and the Sydney Dance Company. Gideon left Sydney Dance Company in the early 1990s to work as an independent performer and choreographer with various dance companies and independent projects both here and over seas.
Gideon founded Chunky Move in collaboration with Gary Stewart in 1995, presenting the company's premiere season as part of at the Melbourne International Festival. Originally based in Sydney, Chunky Move relocated to Melbourne in 1997 as Victoria's official modern dance company. Gideon has led the company as Artistic Director for 15 years creating over twenty works that have been diverse in form and content and include stage productions, installations, site specific works and film. His works have been performed in many festivals and theatres around the world and have won a number of awards both here and abroad.
This collection has been drawn from the Chunky Move Archive under the guidance of Gideon Obarzanek in his final year as Artistic Director. The collection reflects the company's reputation 'for producing a distinct yet unpredictable brand of genre-defying dance performance.' Press files dating back to the company's first season record the way audiences and critics have responded as Chunky Move established itself at the heart of Melbourne's thriving dance scene. The company's bold use of branding and marketing techniques is also captured and helps to explain the company's ever-expanding audience that extends well beyond the dance fans of Melbourne.
Gideon Obarzanek's work with Chunky Move is best captured in the photographic and moving image component of this collection. In most cases each work has been captured in performance by leading Australian photographers and film-makers. This also makes the collection a significant resource when exploring the careers of some of Australia's best contemporary dancers.
Additional production files reflect the way Gideon's more recent works have utilised the latest in interactive video technologies. They also reflect the company's extensive touring both nationally and internationally and the logistics involved in presenting such works in different spaces.
The Chunky Move Collection fills a major gap in the Performing Arts Collection's dance holdings. The collection represents the work of Gideon Obarzanek as well as other leading choreographers, dancers, designers and digital theatre practitioners he has collaborated with. It links well with the Sydney Dance Company Collection and The Australian Ballet Collection which both contain material relating to his formative years as a dancer and choreographer.
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