The Company Index
At the age of 20 Garry ceased his university studies in Social Work to commence
training to become a dancer. Following initial studies in ballet and contemporary
dance in Sydney he trained at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. Garry
danced with a number of companies, including Australian Dance Theatre, Queensland
Ballet and One Extra Company, before he began his career as a choreographer.
From 1990 - 1998 Garry was based in Sydney operating as a freelance choreographer
making works on some of Australia's notable contemporary dance companies, such as
Chunky Move and Sydney Dance Company, as well as independent work presented at such
venues as the Performance Space in Sydney. In this period he also created choreographies
for most of Australia's major tertiary dance training institutions - the Victorian College
of the Arts, Queensland University of Technology, the Centre for Performing Arts
and the University of Western Sydney. In 1998, he set up the Sydney-based company,
Thwack!, creating two dance works: Plastic Space, which premiered at the
Melbourne Festival and subsequently toured Australia; and the first stage of Birdbrain,
a deconstruction of Swan Lake. Housedance was Garry's first project
for ADT. Commissioned for the International Millennium Broadcast it was performed
on the outside of the main sail of the Sydney Opera House on New Year's Eve 1999
to an estimated television audience of two billion. His first full-length work with
ADT was the hugely successful Birdbrain which was performed to audiences totalling
ten of thousands across four continents. Other works for the company include
Plastic Space, Monstrosity (made for the Australian Festival for Young People);
The Age of Unbeauty, Nothing, HELD, Devolution and G. In 2005 he co-produced
Vocabulary with Kat Worth from Restless Dance Company, a dance company for
young people with and without a disability. In this year he also choreographed the
dance film Nascent with U.K. film maker Gina Czarnecki in 2004. Nascent has
won numerous awards including the IMZ Dance Screen Delegates' Award. HELD, which
premiered at the 2004 Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts, is a unique collaboration
with renowned U.S. dance photographer Lois Greenfield. Winner of three Helpmann and
three Australian Dance awards, HELD has toured the globe extensively,
including a sell out season in Paris' esteemed Théâtre de la Ville. Devolution
won the 2006 Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work. Garry's ambitious collaboration
with renowned Canadian robotics artist Louis-Philippe Demers has picked up seven other
awards since its premiere and was critically acclaimed during its 2007 season at
Théâtre de la Ville (Paris). Garry co-produced and directed the dance gala UNIFIED
for UNICEF Australia in April, 2006 which raised over $110,000 for the Gap Youth
Centre for indigenous young people outside of Alice Springs and an HIV/AIDS program
for children in Laos. His work with director Nigel Jamieson on Honour Bound - a
dance, film, theatre and aerial performance exploring the experiences of Terry
Hicks and his son David who was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay - won the 2008 Australian
Dance award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography. Garry's extensive international
reputation attracted significant support for his 2008 mainstage work, G.
It was co-commissioned by The Joyce Theater's Stephen and Cathy Weinroth Fund for
New Work (New York), Southbank Centre (London) and Merrigong Theatre Co. at
Illawarra Performing Arts Centre (Wollongong) and co-produced by Théâtre de la Ville (Paris).
Garry is currently working with renowned NYC architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro
(DS+R) on a new work titled Be Your Self which will debut in Adelaide in early 2010.
Since 2007 Garry was invited to create work by international dance companies.
As a guest international choreographer with Rambert Dance Company in 2007 he created Infinity.
The work has now been seen throughout the U.K. In 2008 Garry was the International
Artist in Residence for the inaugural International Dance Festival Birmingham in the UK.
During his time in the role he created a new work Magnification for Bare Bones Dance
Company and developed choreographic material with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Following
his work the 2009 Sydney Festival for which he choreographed The Sydney which
was performed by 300,000 people at the opening night event, Garry worked with
the Royal New Zealand Ballet on a remount of one his older works Currently Under Investigation.
In 2001 Garry was awarded a Centenary Medal from the Australian Government for his
service to Australian society and dance. He has been awarded a number of
fellowships and scholarships, including the biennial Sir Robert Helpmann Fellowship
from the NSW Ministry for the Arts, which he used to study release technique at
the Susan Klein School of Dance in New York and an Australia Council Fellowship
to research dance and new media technologies. He has also been the recipient of
two fellowships from the Australian Choreographic Centre in Canberra. Routledge
Publishing included Garry's biography in the revised edition of Fifty Contemporary
Choreographers which provides a unique guide to today's most important dance-makers.
Throughout the mid 1990's Garry studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Communication
at the University of Technology Sydney majoring in cultural theory and film, video
and new media production.
Tzu-Chao Chou; photo: Bill Cooper