James Batchelor (b.1992) is a Choreographer from Ngunnawal Country (Canberra, Australia), working internationally.
Cycling repetitions, collapsing and expanding scale, and subtle rhythmic manipulation contribute to a sense that time is moving at a different pace in Batchelor’s work. The audience is invited to slow down together and be guided into a state of sensorial sensitivity and discovery. The overall experience is one of collective meditation, where an invisible architecture is revealed to provide a framework for making new connections and parallels to the audience’s own points of reference.
"Working with dance and the body for me is a desire to initiate speculative conversations that are not within the realm of any one language or code. I aim to use this expanded sense of dialogue to make playful and curious contexts for collective contemplation and meditation on uncanny and slippery phenomena. I would like to create experiences that gently unsettle and re-orientate perspective by offering a spectrum of sensory possiblities, particularly at the slower, softer, smaller end. This could function as a potential antidote to feelings of overstimulation or excess, but also to find value in subtle details and intimate moments."
Born on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra, he grew up as part of the QL2 Quantum Leap Youth Ensemble and later moved to Naarm/Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts. Upon graduating, he received the VCA Graduate Mentors Scholarship and was the youngest ever recipient of the Dancehouse Housemate residency. This launched his choreographic career, winning a Green Room Award for his first major work Island.
As a performer in his early career, James collaborated with some of the leading choreographers in Australian dance such as Anouk van Dijk (Chunky Move), Antony Hamilton, Prue Lang, Stephanie Lake and Sue Healey.
In 2016 he was invited by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies to join a two-month scientific expedition at sea to sub-Antarctic Heard and McDonald Islands. This incredible experience led to the creation of Deepspace, which premiered in Dance Massive 2017 and has since toured to 21 cities around the world to contexts such as Centre Pompidou (Paris and Malaga), MONA (Hobart), Vitalstatistix (Adelaide), Canberra Theatre Centre, Tanz im August (Berlin), Bassano del Grappa (Italy), Tramway (Glasgow) and December Dance (Brugge).
James received two commissions from the Keir Choreographic Award (Metasytems, Inhabited Geometries), as well as commissions from the National Portrait Gallery of Australia Smooth Translation and Chunky Move Next Move Redshift.
In 2019 James was chosen as an Aerowaves artist with Hyperspace, which has now been presented in over 20 contexts including Dance Massive (Melbourne), Canberra, London, Paris, Lithuania, Helsinki, Norway, Ljubljana, Limassol, Prague, Ostend, Luxembourg and Glasgow.
Recent major works including An Evening-length Performance 2021 and Shortcuts to Familiar Places 2022 have been shown in major festivals such as Tanz im August (Berlin), December Dance (Brugge) and Impulstanz (Vienna).
James also has a dedicated teaching and creative practice working with youth. He has worked with and mentored Australian youth dance companies such as Quantum Leap, Stompin, Drill and Yellow Wheel. In 2019 he received a major commission from QL2 to create Proscenium. He has created works for Sydney Dance Company PPY program Occasions 2021 and Victorian College of the Arts Gesturing Weaving Unfolding 2023.
In 2023 he was commisioned to create his first major work on an ensemble Event for Swedish dance company Norrdans, which embarked on a critically acclaimed 10 city tour of Sweden.
James Batchelor is currently supported by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture with the Tanzpraxis Stipendium 2023.
This website was created with the assistance of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.