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Ian Colless performs as part of LINK

Image courtesy of Director Michael Whaites
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Dancer Profile: Ian RT Colless
By: Tellisha DUNLOP

Published: 16/10/2009

The LINK Dance Company, located in WAAPA, is a graduate dance company which allows student dancers to ease into the professional art industry.

One of the bright young people in the LINK company is Aboriginal dancer Ian RT Colless.


3rd Degree spoke to the emerging dancer about his goals and his life so far.

Colless previously attended Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Creative Industries where he studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. He was also the youngest choreographer in Australia to choreograph a professional opera for Opera Queensland.

While originally from the Gundungurra region in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Colless has been all over the world – travelling through China, Europe and the US. He has battled with a very busy schedule for the last couple of years and does not expect it to slow down anytime soon.

He said one of the most important things he was told early in his career, by a choreographer, was to “constantly maintain interest in what you do”. This is one of the many challenges faced by the 23-year-old dancer, after long and exhausting rehearsals.

Colless’ fascination with dance began as a child growing up watching old films at his grandparents’ home. He said he was heavily influenced by the classic MGM musicals.

“MGM musicals ignited my passion for dance and for performance through the illumination of television,” he said.

Colless’ current postgraduate studies look at the concept of dance fusion.

“It is the fusion between traditional indigenous dance with modern dance, and how this collaboration of genres maintains community, culture and identity of first Australians,” he said.

Colless describes himself as 'a cultural cocktail' as he has many identities, cultures and communities that he stems from. He said all of these ‘infusions’ of different identities influenced his cultural perspective as a young artist.

Colless’ life, in many ways, parallels Australian choreographer Noel Tovey’s. He describes Tovey as his mentor and muse.

“Noel has helped me a lot as a mentor and he has become my artistic elder, because of what he has achieved as an artist,” he said.

When asked if he will continue to travel, Colless said: “It is my personal dream that I will be able to go international with what I do and to give Aboriginal arts an international voice.”

Ian RT Colless is also currently choreographing a new individual project called Boundaries that will involve the LINK Dance Company. Rehearsals begin later this year.

For more information on the LINK Dance Company visit the LINK website