Who are we, what are we without the gift of speech? How does speech become language? And how does language function as a tool of both power and oppression? All these questions emerge out of Tess de Quincey's Nerve 9. This is an extraordinary performance... a powerful work built on serious intellectual content. ...awakening those feelings of shared but unacknowedged experiences by which we are able to empathise with others.

Melbourne Stage – November 2005

A dance score in 9 movements

Dance & Direction Tess de Quincey
Visual & Sonic Poetry Amanda Stewart
Audio Visual Sequencing Debra Petrovitch
Text Francesca da Rimini
Design & Image Editing Russell Emerson
Lighting & Digital Design Richard Manner

Weaving between the work of three of Australia’s most acclaimed women artists and around writings by Julia Kristeva, dancer Tess de Quincey invites you into a feminine space, an environment where body and textuality coexist.  This is a raw and edgy layering where resonances of women’s culture and female sensibility are assembled in a crosscultural, interdisciplinary synthesis.



This collaboration brings together breathtaking and provocative poet Amanda Stewart with the intense, monumentality of digital sequencer Debra Petrovitch and the subversive trajectories of new media artist Francesca da Rimini. Other women contributors bring elements from Turkish, Iranian, Indian, Chinese, Arabic, French, Chilean and Balinese female forms. Visual and sonic poetry is interwoven with a choreography that is based in a synthesis of Eastern and Western dance traditions.

… Tess de Quincey is a formidable artist… her intense, many-layered, intricately worked creations where the body, decentred and edgey, negotiates the mutated, arcane landscape of contemporary culture… With Nerve 9 De Quincey and her collaborators have created an epitaph for our time.
The Age (Melbourne) Vicki Fairfax, February 2002

This is a decentering which touches the flesh of everyday speech. The artists invoke a powerful and subtle negotiation of a potential infinity  the place of the infinite’s emerging and of enigmatic substance determined by presence, absence and erasure.

Media Quotes

It’s a film noire fusion for the eye, a tapestry for the ear and a banquet for the imagination. De Quincey’s poetic creation is more like Blake than Wordsworth. This is a work of art, painstakinghly put together and magnetically interesting. The Australian – September 2005

…Stewart’s shimmering sonic and visual poetry and De Quincey’s enduringly watchable portraits of attenuated human frailty… has a depth and lucidity that is immensely readable and challenging… the flowering of a peculiarly acute register of human sensibility, the medium through which a person experiences the world. Realtime 44 – Eleanor Brickhill, August-September 2001

… a piece of such exquisite refinement… de Quincey and her collaborators in vision, sound, light and text (this is a true multimedia work) were on another plane altogether… intensely gripping… this sombre, challenging piece.  The Australian – Deborah Jones, June 2001

Engrossing kaleidoscope of dance, sight and sound… … an inspiringly integrated multi-art form presentation… an engrossing, ever-changing sequence of moods in dance, visuals and sound. … this spare yet richly layered presentation. …which makes this enigmatic way of seeing and hearing an exhilarating trigger to the imaginative senses. The Sydney Morning Herald – Jill Sykes, May 2001

Reviews (PDF) – 2005

The Mercury – 14 Oct 05
Sydney Morning Herald – 21 Oct 05

The Age – 7 Nov 05
Melbourne Stage – 3 Nov 05

Ausdance National – Aug 05

Reviews (PDF) – 2001, 2002

The Age – 22 Feb 02
Sydney Morning Herald – 25 May 01
The Australian – 4 June 01
Real Time 44 – Sept 01


Previous Season Details

National Tour – 2005

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth
27 Sept – 8 October

Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart
11 – 15 October

Performance Space, Sydney
18 – 30 October

North Melbourne Town Hall
2 – 12 November

Brisbane Powerhouse
16 – 19 November

Brown’s Mart, Darwin
23 – 24 November

2001 – 2002

Performance Space, Sydney
23-27 May 2001

Dancehouse, Melbourne
22-24 Feb 2002

Supported by

Arts NSW, Australia Council for the Arts and Performing Lines