Time Out (Melbourne)

50 things to do in Melbourne before you die

Celebratin­g our 50th issue with the ultimate bucket list of Melbourne must-dos


Anni Davey is nothing short of a Melbourne marvel. You may have seen her in a show with her equally audacious twin sister, Maude Davey (Maude is a burlesque, theatre and performanc­e artist, while Anni is a circus performer and director). You may also know her from her work with another Melbourne icon, Circus Oz, which has been pushing the boundaries of circus, running community outreach programs and making political statements with their work since 1978. Davey has been involved with Circus Oz since the ’80s, first as an aerialist and later in operationa­l roles. Currently, she’s guest director on the company’s latest show, Twentysixt­een. It’s been a challengin­g ride to get to this point though. During the Edinburgh Festival in 1991, Davey’s foot strap broke and she plummeted to the floor, breaking her neck and both wrists, which left her laid up in traction for five months. Most folks wouldn’t brave getting back up to those heights again, but Davey did. “I could never imagine doing anything else,” she says. “I finally stopped being a performer at the end of 2004. About four months after that moment that I woke up and went, ‘something is different: I’m not in pain.’ Deciding not to do it anymore was a good decision, but earlier there was no way I was going to stop performing.” In developing Twentysixt­een, Davey has taken the repertoire of circus tricks and challenged tradition, drawing inspiratio­n from some unexpected quarters. “I’ve tried to make the pole act look really new. We all know what a traditiona­l Chinese pole act looks like – there’s a number of tricks and people jump up and do extraordin­ary things on a pole and you go ‘how the hell does anybody do that?’ Then somebody else jumps up and does something extraordin­ary – handstands suspended by nothing except for muscle and bone. So, for this one I tried to make it very fluid – I talked about oozing and caterpilla­rs, tentativen­ess, groups and clumping. It came from experiment­s we did at a pole dancing class – they work with the same apparatus basically, but they do different things and I wanted to know what that movement quality was and what it would do to our tricks.” ´ Twentysixt­een, Birrarung Marr,

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