Vicki Van Hout is an Indigenous independent choreographer with Wiradjuri, Dutch, Scottish, and Afghan heritage. Originally desiring a career in theatre, she was encouraged to join NAISDA Dance College (National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association Dance College). Before entering she was not interested in learning the traditional dances and was more interested in contemporary techniques, this soon changed as she realised both the significant and performative elements of the more traditional dance styles. After studying at NAISDA, Vicki left for New York on a scholarship to study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.
During these formative years Vicki’s life intersected with the punk scene, she lived as a squatter at the Woolloomooloo Gunnery, and also worked for Tish and Snooky's Manic Panic a punk and hair dye store.
Upon returning to Australia Vicki danced for a range of dance companies including Bangarra Dance Theatre, and the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre, before working with Marilyn Miller with Fresh Dancers. With the support of friends she developed her own choreographic voice, and her show Briwyant, became the first performance by an independent First Nations choreographer to tour nationally, while also being nominated for an Australian Dance Award for Achievement in Independent Dance.
Vicki recently won The Australia Council Award for Dance, recognising her significant contribution to dance and her career that has spanned over 20 years. She was also awarded the 2014 NSW Dance Fellowship for established and mid-career artists – the first Indigenous winner of the Fellowship. Finally, Vicki is studying for her PhD but admits that she needs to spend more time writing it. She currently writes for Form Dance Projects.
This interview covers so much of Vicki’s work. She speaks particularly about Long Grass, a powerful work that explores the lives of Aboriginal people living on the fringes of Darwin; on the fringes of society, yet in the middle of a city. Vicki then speaks of her work plenty serious TALK TALK, which uses humour to break down and explore barriers and issues related to the representations of First Nations people within dance and society more broadly. plenty serious TALK TALK will be presented as part of YIRRAMBOI Festival.