Yarra's research interests lie in creating interdisciplinary, inter-generational dance theatre works that draw inspiration from biographical content and embodied knowledge. The pedagogical implications of working with biography build social semiotic modes of meaning-making and interpretation. This enriches the creative environment through task-based person-centric methods of learning and personal development. The choreographic classroom has many opportunities to bridge, expand and deepen knowledge introspectively and purposefully.
Transitional learning: female mid-career artists adulting in contemporary dance
Professional work as a full-time dancer not only exhilarates, but also problematises the entire dance ecosystem if precautionary measures are not met to tackle transitional issues. Subsequently, the inevitable crossroads of the ageing female body in accordance with personal “milestones in life” - marriage and child-bearing, for instance have interjected the trajectory of a career in dance by adding cultural, societal and personal pressures to the precarious nature of the mid-career experience. Amidst the rigour of everyday upkeep and adult responsibility, former dancers are left with the knowledge gained from countless moments spent on stage and in rehearsals. This knowledge can be activated as a lived experience, a way of knowing their craft deeply, where “to know is to transform reality” (Piaget as cited in Overton et al., p.8, 2008). Mid-career artists have the ability to shape the realities of their life with prolonged artistic practice through the cultivated experiences of embodied action in time. And although career transitions are “inescapable: preparation is key” (Jeffri & Throsby, 2015).