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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Orange: Project showcases bee collection and local dancers


A project showcasing local dancers and promoting the importance of a nationally significant bee collection has been launched.

Art, education and science will meet in a groundbreaking artwork Dancing With Bees – an experimental digital artwork inviting viewers to reconsider our fragile ecosystem while celebrating the talents of our local dancing community.

Orange City Council Services Policy Committee Chair, Cr Mel McDonell, said the project was about showcasing local talent and highlighting the importance of bees to the environment.

DANCING WITH BEES: Award-winning artist Zanny Begg takes a closer look at the Cuckoo Bee for her video artwork ‘Dancing With Bees’.

“This is an exciting project that will be created in partnership with our local community as well as showcasing the amazing collection held at the Department of Primary Industries,” Cr McDonell said.

“The next step is a call out to local dancers to get involved in this one-of-a-kind project. We are also looking at ways we can highlight the importance of bees in food security and the critical role they have in the environment.”

Local dancers will be immortalised in the video artwork at the cultural heart of the city with two large screens to be installed on the exterior of the Orange Civic Theatre. One screen will show the local dancers interpreting the movement of bees and the second will show images taken from the DPI bee collection. The screens are round high-definition LED displays that work in both night and daylight hours.

The video artwork will be created by award-winning artist Zanny Begg whose work has been shown in exhibitions both in Australia and internationally. Her recent showcases included Sharjah, Taipei, Labin, Limerick, Odessa and Istanbul biennales.

Dancing with Bees will focus on local pollinators from Orange (native and introduced) whose rhythms of life secure the food produced in the area. Zanny Begg began working this week with the DPI’s Dr Jordan Bailey, Institute Director and Leader Plant Pathology Curation, Plant Biosecurity Research and Development, and her team to select twelve bee species from the nationally significant collection.

Each specimen is significant to the local area and is being photographed at high resolution at the DPI for the artwork.

Dr Bailey said most Orange residents would not be aware that the city housed one of the nation’s great insect collections.

“This is a way for us to highlight this important collection and also to get people thinking about the important role insects have in the environment and how we interact with them,” Dr Bailey said.

The artist is also sending out a casting call for dancers of all backgrounds and ages to audition for the digital artwork. Up to twelve dancers will be cast for the project to work with renowned choreographer Larissa McGowan and Zanny Begg to devise short dance sequences that will be filmed and displayed as part of Dancing with Bees.

Zanny Begg is looking forward to hearing from local dancers. Anyone interested in applying can find more information on Orange Regional Gallery’s website. The project is funded by Create NSW and the Australian Council for the Arts ($110k), the NSW Government ($40k) and Orange City Council ($23k).

Image and story: Orange City Council

Project showcases bee collection and local dancers – Orange City Council (