Stompin announces new artistic director

NEW DIRECTION: Stompin has announced Caitlin Comerford as its new artistic director, taking over from Emma Porteus. Picture: Neil Richardson

NEW DIRECTION: Stompin has announced Caitlin Comerford as its new artistic director, taking over from Emma Porteus. Picture: Neil Richardson

A powerful vision of growth and site-specific work will highlight the future of Stompin as independent dance artist and choreographer Caitlin Comerford steps into the role as artistic director. 

On August 1, Ms Comerford would take over from current artistic director Emma Porteus who stepped down after six years in the position to pursue new interests and her own artistic practice. 

Based in Brisbane, Ms Comerford grew up in Canberra dancing at youth-based company QL2. 

“When I saw the job come up, I had recently met Emma through Youth Dance Australia, and I thought ‘I am going to go for that’,” Ms Comerford said. 

“It just sounded like me and it sounded like it was at the right time for me as well,” she said. Co-founder of Makeshift Dance Collective, Ms Comerford brought an ample network within the national dance community, which she hoped would help her grow Stompin. 

“I would like to draw on my networks, I’ve got quite a broad network within the Australian dance community and I would really like to try to...connect with those (and) branch out to those through the work at Stompin,” she said.

“I would also like to see Stompin’s name, and also the fact that it is here in Tassie, a little bit more widely understood or acknowledged within the Australian community and...potentially internationally as well. 

“The 25 years Stompin has been around it should be better or more recognised in the wider community.”

Dance exchanges and cross-live performances via a live feed were just some of the ideas Ms Comerford has for the next three years. 

“Everyone has different wants and needs as to why they are here, but I think what it is really important is that the people that do walk in the Stompin door and the Stompers get a feeling of what community and arts feel like,” Ms Comerford said. 

“I think that is why it is really important to connect them to the professional industry.”

Site-specific work would continue to be a core focus of the future. 

“I would like to basically continue the work that Emma has been doing because I think she has been doing a brilliant job, she has set up some amazing foundations for me to keep moving forward with,” she said. 

“I am really excited about the site-specific nature of the company, that is kind of my thing so absolutely continuing to take dance into the public eye.” 

Despite spending minimal time in Tasmania, Ms Comerford was “super excited” to scope out the island for potential venues. 

“I really like aesthetically pleasing places, not necessarily pretty, something that might be really stark or when you put a dancer in the space it really livens the space.”  

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