Don’t for Dancers is a 60 minute live contemporary music and dance performance that explores risk-taking in social settings. The show was conceived and created by musician Nicole Canham and dancer/choreographer Nerida Matthaei. Based on the 1925 book, Don’ts for Dancers – a guidebook full of the rules one should follow if one wanted to be a good, successful ‘social’ dancer – the show is an exploration of the intimate gestures that take place on the dance floor and the larger messages these convey about society, the time we live in, and our ability to fit in in our environment.
A wallflower, the belle of the ball, an overbearing chaperone and the male object of everyone’s desire meet in an imaginary dance hall. As the three female characters vie for one man’s attention, a variety of themes of love, longing, disappointment and heartache are explored through music and dance tableaux that range from the elegance of the waltz, the pitfalls of looking for love online, the impossibility of finding love in nightclubs and the unexpected consequences of taking your anger out on the dance floor (and your partner). Etiquette and expectations surrounding social dancing are explored in playful, furious, thought provoking and abstract ways.
Don'ts for Dancers premiered in Canberra, Brisbane and Cairns in 2011, and then returned to Brisbane and Cairns for repeat seasons in 2012.