Photo: Bradbury Photography
Melanie Lane, photo Pedro Grieg
Melanie's video reel is here.
Melanie Lane is an Australian choreographer and performer of Javanese/European cultural heritage. She is one of Australia's leading choreographic voices with recent commissions from Sydney Dance Company, Australasian Dance Collective, Dance North, Chunky Move, Schauspiel Leipzig and West Australian Ballet, among others.
Melanie won the prestigious Keir Choreographic Award in 2018 and the 2017 Leipziger Bewegungskunstpreis in Germany. Lane has been nominated for both Green Room and Helpmann awards as both a choreographer and a dancer including the Shirley McKechnie award for choreography (2020).
Her collaborative work includes projects with Marrugeku/Bhenji Ra, UK music producer Clark, video artists Amos Gebhardt and Leyla Stevens, theatre maker Adena Jacobs and visual artists Martin Böttger, Ash Keating and Bridie Lunney. These works have spanned across international festivals, theatres and galleries.
Her choreographic work for theatre and opera includes English National Opera's Salome (London, 2018) and Burgtheater's Trojan Women (Vienna, 2022) directed by Adena Jacobs.
As an Independent artist Lane’s ambitious creations work seamlessly across the visual arts, music and film. Her work interrogates physical and cultural histories to explore current social mythologies and extrapolates these into surreal futures that are confounded, broken and reconfigured. These independent works have been presented globally at festivals and theatres such as HAU Berlin, Tanz im August, Schauspiel Leipzig, Uzes Danse Festival, Indonesian Dance Festival, O Espaco do Tempo, Dance Massive, Carriageworks, Arts House and Sydney Opera House. Drawing on her European and Indonesian heritage Lane moves seamlessly between cultural landscapes and influences. Melanie engages regularly across projects in Indonesia as choreographer, collaborator, performer and mentor.
As a performer, Lane has worked with artists such as Tino Seghal, Jan Pusch, Arco Renz, Eun Me Ahn, Club Guy and Roni, Jo Lloyd, Antony Hamilton and Lucy Guerin. Melanie choreographed the 2015 and 2017 live shows for UK electronic musician Clark (Warp records), performing at over 30 international venues including Moma PS1 New York, Villette Sonique Paris, Funkhaus Berlin and Sonar Festivals in Barcelona/Istanbul.
Melanie is the 2023/24 Choreographer in Residence at Chunky Move, Resident Artist at The Substation Melbourne and Associate artist at QL2 Canberra. She was the 2015 Resident Director at Lucy Guerin Inc and is currently a 2023/24 Australia Council for the Arts Fellow.
In September, 2020, Melanie premiered Crushd, a live work transformed to into a video experience and her digital response to Covid19 for Norway's contemporary national dance company, Nagelhus Schia Productions. In 2021, Melanie premiered two new works, Alterum for Australasian Dance Collective in Brisbane and Slow Haunt for West Australian Ballet in Perth both to critical acclaim.
In 2023, Melanie has been commissioned to create new work for Tanz Theater Heidelberg in Germany and for West Australian Ballet.
'The much-awarded and sought-after choreographer Melanie Lane’s 25-minute Slow Haunt was a triumph. Superbly balanced, effectively constructed and marked by first-rate choreography, this work unfolded in the “acts of sensuality, desire resistance and rage,” that she had sought.'
Ruth Clarke, Limelight, June 2021
'Lane’s Slow Haunt is a methodological and deeply important work that spans the breadth of classical and contemporary technique as it disrupts and unites its dancers and audience, in equal measure.' Courtney Allen, Dance Life, June 2021
'Melanie Lane’s Slow Haunt was the second new work featured, and again it was all class in its use of slinky tattoo-like body suits (Akira Isogawa), dramatic lighting (Damien Cooper) and Christopher Clark’s ghostly techno sound track that invaded the scene as vividly as the otherworld wraiths that surged forward in antagonistic poses.'
Victoria Laurie, The Australian, June 2021
'...a thrilling dance work flush with wit and invention....Lane’s choreography is masterfully artful and yet deep dream touching in its humanity. On their toes now, small stepping, the dancers emerge united in hilarious arse sashaying detail... Woof is wonderful.'
Martin Portus, Daily Review, Sydney, March 2019
"Melanie Lane’s startling and inspired Woof is an outstanding piece of contemporary dance and an artistic triumph; inventive, bold and memorable... it dazzles and delights – a joyous foreshadowing of the potential of Sydney Dance Company’s next half century - ArtsHub
"To a hypnotic electronic score by UK musician Clark, Melanie Lane's Woof imagines a futuristic, apocalyptic fantasy with masterful choreography “like nothing… seen in dance before”
"an exhilaratingly unusual movement, brilliantly executed. Melanie Lane's Woof is a delight."
"The evening concludes in spectacular fashion with Melanie Lane’s Woof. It is quirky, energising and the clear crowd-favourite on opening night. The choreography is brilliant, high energy and completely engaging."
"Watching choreographer Melanie Lane’s Woof is like seeing God at her humblest and most seductive. This is pure nectar: delectable bliss."
Sydney Arts Guide
"Melanie Lane’s Woof sweeps all before it. Who knows what the title means? Who cares? Now a touch longer, Woof ends well before you want it to, testament to its appeal." The Australian
you feel it has ended all too soon."
‘The dance, in which Cook laconically strikes a series of provocative poses while four dancers gyrate round her, is genuinely chilling’ - Salome, English National Opera
Tim Ashley - The Guardian UK, Sept 2018
‘Lane, in her Night Dance, not only presents a multitude of possibilities through the interweaving of people, space, and longing, she also brings out a physiological intimacy that can be internalised, and self-contemplated by her audience. And, as an artist whose practice revolves around this relationship – between body and objects- she manages to offer a mesmerising and daring experience, complete and satisfying.’
Grace Feng Fang Juan, Peril.com.au, 29 August, 2017
‘Nightdance is the most rhythmically breathtaking performance I’ve seen this year, and potentially of all time. It’s uniquely its own thing, and you simply cannot tear your eyes away from it. ….those like myself who love to be immersed in the experience of club land will find it totally exhilarating. Lane and her team have successfully produced something hyper-modern and totally memorable.’
Leeor Adar, Theatre Press, 6 September, 2017
'Nightdance is filled with secret dramas and impenetrable mysteries the way that any dancefloor is, and it’s stitched together with the tight but invisible logic of a dream. And like a dream, when you’re in it you don’t question why this carefully but inexplicably costumed character appears at one point, because there’s an emotional sense to it that’s beyond waking thought. That Melanie Lane successfully puts her audience in that state is a rare triumph, and one that won’t be forgotten.'
John Bailey, Real Time Magazine, 2017
''Wonderwomen creates something extraordinary, even if the very ordinary phrase has to be used here now: the staging succeeds in breaking open habits of perception'...'in several respects, this is a rare and powerful performance.’
Steffen Georgi, Leipziger Volkszeitung
'Lane’s more graceful and sombre Remake takes the classical grammar of ballet and strips it of its usual trappings. Indeed, former Australian Ballet dancer Juliet Burnett appears remarkably vulnerable when viewed in isolation — the fragile epitome of a doomed, suicidal princess whirling gorgeously to a predetermined fate. Her lithe, sinewy ballet language is slowly nudged by successive interventions from Lane — her shoes replaced by boots, the royal boudoir now home to bedroom amp rock posturing.' Paul Ransom, Dance Informa, 2016
'High calibre, truly flawless in their surrender to this nihilistic entourage, boasting strong technique and anchored presence. Bolstered by the electrifying music of Chris Clark and held in its ominous temperament by the exciting lighting of Matthew Adey, Merge is a work that is both abstract and accessible in a truly mesmerizing fashion. A world worth seeing.'
Nithya Iyer, Melbourne. Arts. Fashion
'Choreographer Melanie Lane has created a tightly-wound, meticulous work featuring four dancers…Within this framework, notions of order and chaos, and individuality and community, come to the fore, represented in the form of physical items that the dancers manipulate and arrange but also in the manipulation and arrangement of the movement. Merge is grounded in a powerful rhythmic structure that complements thoughtful choreographic choices.' Jordan Beth Vincent, The Age, 2012
'Unheimlich und bedrohlich wirkt die Szenerie. Geschickt kommen Lichteffekte zum Einsatz, die die Handlungen der beiden Akteure auf der Bühne begleiten. Ob die beiden Personen diese Schatten erzeugen oder im Gegenteil von diesen geschoben, gezogen, gedrängt werden, bleibt offen. [...] Melanie Lane und Florian Bücking zeigen eine faszinierende Darbietung körperlicher Möglichkeiten.'
Christina Mergel, artileipzig.de, 2014
'… in her own Tilted Fawn she delivers an experience quite unlike the various threads that have been woven through Australian choreography of the last decade. There’s a mythic quality to the work which reveals itself coyly, and it’s as cool and inhuman as true myths always end up being … The referents are never made explicit but it’s hard not to fashion your own interpretation of each configuration presented, and the cold, closed nature of these depictions subtly shifts its audience into a position of meditative spectatorship that allows us to forget our own corporeality.'
John Baily, Real Time Magazine
'Perth truly is honored by the presence of an artist as such as Lane, who in collaboration with a celebrated musician, has created a piece that is not only physically innovative but also an emotive sensory journey for the audience.'
Sarah Dunstan, PerthNow
'Tilted Fawn is an effective piece within Lane’s growing oeuvre forming a choreographic relationship between objects, sound and visual design. This collaborative effort with Clark, is visually engaging, cerebrally challenging and aurally intricate.'
Astrid Francis, Artshub
'Melanie Lane and Chris Clark’s Tilted Fawn from Berlin carries its light and shade with sophistication….Dance lineage seems to situate this intervention, illustrating layers of recall which involve intertextuality as well as intimacy.'
Maggie Phillips, Real Time Magazine