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An abstract dance work derived from the idea of one’s own personal paradise.


23 Jan 2016 | 2pm & 8pm

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It began as a twenty-minute work for five unique and diverse dancers and evolved and continues to evolve into an exquisite contemporary dance piece exploring the concept of the personal paradise. 

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is delighted to present the world premiere performance of Five Kinds of Paradise, originally choreographed for the Australian Institute of Classical Dance’s Dance Creation competition where it was NSW runner-up. The piece is an abstract dance work derived from the idea of one’s own personal paradise. Featuring a fresh cast of superb dancers the work will incorporate elements of video and sublime music.

Choreographer Lisa Maris McDonnell


Lisa Maris McDonell is a dance artist with a multi-faceted practice which includes performance, choreography, dance education and dance therapy. Since graduating from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 1996 Lisa has worked consistently as an independent dancer and choreographer, working with many of Australia's leading contemporary dance artists.

As a choreographer, Lisa has created numerous dance works for small groups as commissions and independent projects. She has also created a number of solo works for herself and other dancers, performed in theatres and festivals throughout Australia as well as Europe and Asia. In addition to her work with professional dancers, Lisa enjoys creating work and leading workshops with non-dancers in community settings and festivals not usually accustomed to hosting professional contemporary dance. 

As a dance educator Lisa has worked for West Australian Academy of Performing Arts in the Dance and Musical Theatre Departments, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Sydney Dance Company Public Classes, NAISDA Dance College (where she was Course Coordinator), Accessible Arts, Australian College of Physical Education and the full time dance course housed at Ireland's Firkin Crane Choreographic Centre. 

In the last decade Lisa has expanded her practice into Dance Movement Therapy, gaining qualifications from the International Dance Therapy Institute Australia (IDTIA). She has worked with a number of populations, and delights in creating works for and with her various clients. She has been commissioned by Southern Sydney and Western Sydney Area Health Services in partnership with the Richmond Fellowship to create a dance performance for Mental Health Week which was performed in Hospital Foyers and other alternative venues around the Greater Sydney area.

Lisa is also a flamenco dancer, starting out as a young dancer at WAAPA and going on to perform with Danza Viva Spanish Dance Company in Perth. Returning to flamenco ten years ago, Lisa now performs in clubs, bars, festivals, restaurants, and private functions, and also choreographs contemporary flamenco works, which she has performed in these and theatre settings. She has performed with flamenco groups Flamenco Ruido and Ana Otero Flamenco in addition to her solo performances.

Between 2009 and 2013 Lisa collaborated on many projects with Playscript Theatre, choreographing and performing in works that incorporate elements of film, text and movement. It was in one of these productions that Lisa presented her first full length solo work, “On Earth” which was created with the assistance of Merrigong Theatre’s residency program.

In 2014 Lisa completed both a Responsive and Research Room residency through Sydney’s Critical Path. She was also the recipient of a New Work Residency with Annandale Creative Arts Centre, where she created and presented the work Absolute Vertigo. 

In April 2015, Lisa presented her work Home Truths at Illawarra Performing Arts Centre as part of Merrigong Theatre's Studio Sessions program. A series of solos based on the notion of home, the production featured solos for, McDonell, Chylie Cooper, Robina Beard, Vicki Van Hout and Ana Otero.

Five Kinds of Paradise Dancers

Nicholas Tredrea

At the age of 16 and form New Zealand, Nicholas began training abroad after successfully auditioning for the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Throughout his time at WAAPA Nicholas had the opportunity to learn and perform principal roles in various pieces in his graduating year from the ‘Rite of Spring’ by Xioaxiong Zhang, ‘Jardi’ by Nacho Duato [remounted by Kim McCarthy] and ’Theirs No Time like the Present’ by Leigh Warren. Upon graduation, Nicholas was offered a place in Sydney Dance Company’s ‘Pre- Professional’ program and a professional contract with Leigh Warren and Dancers. Before Leigh Warren and Dancers disbanded Nicholas performed in both ‘Akhnaten’ and the 6- hour dance opera ‘Einstein on the Beach’ in the “Philip Glass Trilogy” in Adelaide. During his time with Sydney Dance Company Nicholas had the opportunity to understudy a range of works and be a part of the creative development of Rafael Bonachela’s “Behind Their Falls”. Upon the completion of this program Lucas Jervies, the rehearsal director of Sydney Dance Company, offered Nicholas a contract in the upcoming program “AIDA” with Opera Australia on Sydney Harbour as well as being separately contracted out by choreographer Matthew Barclay for “The Magic Flute” season at the Sydney Opera House.

Carina Serray

Carina Serray originally from Wollongong moved to Perth in 2011 to commence tertiary studies also at WAAPA, completing her Bachelor of Arts Dance Degree in 2013. Carina spent six months at Purchase College NY, US in 2012 & most recently performed the Solo Seal award in July at WAB studios in Maylands, WA under the direction of renowned RAD examiner Diana de Vos.

During 2015 Carina was a member of Austinmer Dance Theatre where she has performed in the works of Thomas Alfred Bradley, and renowned European choreographers, Maurice Causey and Iratxe Ansa. During August / Sept 2015 Carina was involved in the Metamorphosis Dance Residency in Mexico City at the invitation of Iratxe Ansa.

Rhiannon Davies

Rhiannon is a current member of Austinmer Dance Theatre with whom she has been working since 2010.
Her time with the company has seen her working alongside Ashley Wright (Opera De Lyon), Jim De Block (ex-Royal Flanders Ballet & Opera De Lyon), Iratxe Ansa (ex- Netherlands Dans Theatre) and Maurice Causey. In 2014, she was invited by Iratxe Ansa to participate in "Metamorphosis", a 3-week international residency held in Beijing. During this time, Rhiannon performed in "Encounter", an interactive improvisation show, as part of the Beijing Arts Festival. Rhiannon has also worked with choreographers Paul Selwyn Norton and Thomas Alfred Bradley. In 2011, Rhiannon performed in Norton’s “Army of You” for Austinmer Dance Theatre’s production of “Too Soon To Tell” at the Sydney Fringe Festival. She also performed in Causey's "Sanbiki No Kashikoi" and "Digital Garden" which were created exclusively for the company’s annual production of "uNCOILEd" in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The same production in 2013, also featured the choreographic debut of her piece "Kyanite Regression". 2014 saw Rhiannon choreograph a second piece "Verso" and perform Causey's reworked duet "Hither Thither” originally presented by Houston’s iMEE dance company.

Mana Ogawa

Mana Ogawa has been performing for more than 12 years and began her full time training with The Conlan College in Sydney, before moving to Wellington to study at the New Zealand School of Dance which she graduated with a Certificate of Dance in Classical Ballet. Whilst in New Zealand, she had the privilege of dancing the soloist role of ‘Polka Girl’ in Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s ballet Solitaire. She graduated from the Sydney Dance Company Pre Professional Year in 2015, and has had the opportunity to understudy Daniel Riley’s piece ‘Reign,’ which was created on the female dancers of the Sydney Dance Company. 

Mana has also appeared on the popular television dance series of ABC3, ‘Dance Academy’ in 2011 and 2012 as a semi-regular actor and dancer as ‘Lily’. Her love of dance has led her to gain interest in Pilates, and is currently studying a Diploma of Pilates Teaching in the hope of helping other dancers further apply it to their technique and for rehabilitation and prevention from injuries. 

Ryan Pearson

Ryan Pearson is a current student at the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA Dance College). Since beginning his studies Ryan has had the opportunity to work with a number of Australia’s leading choreographers. In 2016 Ryan plans to travel to New York to enhance his dance studies at Alvin Ailey’s annual Summer School.

WORKSHOP 4 - 15 January at 10am

Five Kinds of Paradise Workshops Everyone is invited to warm up with Artist-in-Residence Lisa Maris MacDonnell and her Five Kinds of Paradise team, Monday to Friday at 10am from 4  to 15 January. In preparation for their performance, the Five Kinds of Paradise team will open up their dance warm ups to the general public. Come and move with them as they facilitate movement meditation based exercises that will have you ready to tackle the New Year.

All workshops are 45 minutes in duration
FREE and are suitable for all ages and dance and movement abilities.

Event Information


Duration55 min (no interval)

AgesAll Ages


Phone02 9824 1121


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