UNTRAINED

Premiered at Dance Massive, Arts House, Meat Market Melbourne, March, 2009.

Four men take to the stage in Untrained. Two are highly skilled, experienced dancers and two have no movement training at all. The complex, refined movements that one man executes with ease can only be approximated by another. All are given the same instructions, but how they execute them reveals a portrait of each man’s character. The evolution of these actions invites an unavoidable and sometimes humorous comparison between them, and examines how their physical histories set them apart.

Untrained combines two highly skilled and experienced dancers with two men who have absolutely no dance training whatsoever. The four men are given identical instructions to execute the same series of movements, from flying leaps and ninja kicks to taking their t-shirts on and off and describing how they do it. The way they execute these movements speaks volumes about the very different physical histories of each individual performer. The complex, polished movements of the trained can only be approximated by the untrained, while there is a raw spontaneity to the movements of an untrained body that cannot be replicated by the body of an experienced dancer. Untrained has no set and the performers are dressed in rehearsal tracksuits. The repetition of the instruction by each dancer is the focus of the work, and the differences between the performers become apparent as soon as they walk on stage.

The resulting performances had audiences laughing, cheering and applauding the gallant efforts of the untrained performers as they tried to follow the sophisticated movements of the trained dancers. The laughter of audiences was, for Lucy, completely unexpected, but it was soon clear that the untrained men “were ultimately the stars of the show. Audiences imagine themselves in the same position and ask themselves ‘What would I do?’”(Southbank Centre Blog, 2013). They admire not only the skill and virtuosity of the dancers, but the courage and unique approach of the men without training.

Since it premiered in Melbourne in 2009, Untrained has been so warmly received by audiences that it has been performed across Australia and internationally, including the US, Hong Kong and Brazil. It soon became clear that to maintain the untrained dancers’ spontaneity and lack of familiarity with the movements, the cast needed to change regularly. Auditions are now held to recruit the untrained performers for each show, and just one week is spent on rehearsals. In 2013, Untrained was performed in Ireland, Greece and the UK.

PAST PERFORMANCES:

2015

20-21 October: Theater im Pfalzbau, Germany.

2014

20-21 June:  Glasgow, Tramway, Scotland.
5-6 September:  Aarhus Festival, Denmark.

2013


25-26 May: Dublin Dance Festival, Dublin
.
28 May: Firkin Crane, Cork.
1-2 June: Athens and Epidaurus Festival, Athens.
4-6 June: Southbank Centre, London.

2012

27 November – 1 December: Brooklyn Academy of Music, USA.
6-8 December: Mondavi Centre for the Performing Arts, University of California, Davis. USA

2011


4 March: Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival, Mercy Theatre, Mildura Roadworks – Performing Lines Australian Tour.
13-14 May: Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane.
24 May: Lismore City Hall, Lismore.
27 May: Empire Theatre, Toowoomba
.
30 May: Jetty Memorial Theatre, Coffs Harbour
.
1-2 June: Civic Theatre, Newcastle.
10-11 June: IPAC, Wollongong
.
20-21 June: BMEC, Bathurst.
22-23 June: Orange Civic Centre, Orange.
2 July: Nautilus Theatre, Pt Lincoln
.
5 July: Middleback Theatre, Whyalla
.
7 July: Northern Festival Centre, Pt Pirie
.
15-16 July: The Capital Theatre, Bendigo
.
19 July: Swan Hill Town Hall, Swan Hill
.
21 July: Wesley Performing Arts Centre, Horsham.
22 July: Hamilton Performing Arts Centre, Hamilton.
23 July: Portland Arts Centre, Portland.
29-30 July: Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra

2010

24-28 February: Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Centre for the Arts, 39 Light Square, Adelaide
, Spotlight performance for the Australian Performing Arts Market.
13-14 March: Hong Kong Arts Festival, Asia Pacific Dance Platform.
28-29 May: The Castle, Dandenong.
3 June: Frankston Arts Centre, Frankston
5 June: Kingston Arts Centre
20 June: Australian Dance Awards, Arts Centre Melbourne.
3-5 November: Panorama Festival, Brazil.
25-27 November: Awesome Festival Perth, PICA.

2009

Premiere – 11-14 March: Dance Massive, Arts House, Meat Market Melbourne.
1-4 September: Spring Dance Festival, Sydney Opera House.

REVIEWS 

“A fascinating combination of dance, theatre, improvisation and multimedia, all presented with just the right amount of quirk and irreverence.”

Simmone Michelle-Wells, Australian Stage, 2009.

Images: The original ‘Untrained’ artists

Creative Team

  • director: Lucy Guerin
  • Dancers from Premiere Production: Antony Hamilton , Byron Perry , Ross Coulter , Simon Obarzanek
  • Producer: Michaela Coventry

image gallery

moving image

moving image

Publicity & Media

  • ''Unpredictable, funny, unusual': Lucy Guerin's Untrained', Southbank Centre blog, 2013.

    Interview with Lucy Guerin about the process behind Untrained, auditions and the response of audiences.

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  • Louise Nunn, 'Guerin steps out with show of good humour'.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained at the Adelaide Festival.

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  • Harbant Gill, 'Spot the dancer', Herald Sun, 2009.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained at the Dance Massive festival in Melbourne, 2009.

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  • 'Untrained', Sunday Age M Magazine, 2009.

    Short review of Untrained.

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  • J. Skyes, 'Amateurs take the spotlight, steal laughs', The Sydney Morning Herald, 2009.

    Short review of Untrained.

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  • Emily Dunn, 'So, they think they can dance', The Sydney Morning Herald, 2009.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained as part of Spring Dance at the Sydney Opera House.

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  • Jamie Richards, 'Untrained', Libertine, 2010.

    Short review of Untrained, as performed at the Adelaide Festival, 2010.

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  • Peter Burdon, 'Foursome creates sublime mix', The Advertiser, 2010.

    Review of Untrained, as performed at the Adelaide Festival, 2010.

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  • Maggie Tonkin, 'Reviews: Adelaide Festival of Arts', Dance Australia, 2010.

    Review of dance performances at the Adelaide Festival, 2010, including Untrained.

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  • Simon Plant, 'Landing on their feet', Herald Sun, 2010.

    Short article publicising the performance of Untrained at the Frankston and Kingston Arts Centres, 2010.

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  • Marnie Umbers, 'Untrained - Review', 2010.

    Short review of Untrained.

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  • Varnya Bromilow, 'Dance Review: Untrained', The West Australian, 2010.

    Review of Untrained, as performed at the Perth Institute of Performing Arts, 2010.

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  • 'Untrained', Festival Freak blog, 2010.

    Review of Untrained, as performed at the Adelaide Festival, 2010.

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  • Sophie Benjamin, 'So you think you can't dance?', Toowoomba Finda classifieds website, 2011.

    Article advertising auditions for people to dance in the upcoming tour of Untrained in Toowoomba, Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Newcastle, 2011.

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  • 'Wentworth football captain to dance on stage', Mildura Independent, 2011.

    Article publicising the performance of Untrained at the Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival, 2011.

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  • Ben Dillon, 'Master and apprentice on the stage', Courier Mail, 2011.

    Article publicising the performance of Untrained in Brisbane, 2011.

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  • 'Local 'dancers' strut their stuff on stage', Port Lincoln Times, 2011.

    Article reporting on auditions recently held for a tour of Untrained across South Australia, 2011.

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  • 'Dancing up a storm', Port Lincoln Times, 2011.

    Article reporting on the performers chosen for a tour of Untrained across South Australia, 2011.

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  • Nicholas Adams, 'Copycats dance to the tune of the pros', Canberra Times, 2011.

    Article publicising the performance of Untrained in Canberra, 2011. Features quotes from the two novice dancers chosen to perform.

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  • Jordan Beth Vincent, 'What is dance? An old question is not always a good one', The Age, 2009.

    Review of Untrained as performed during the Dance Massive festival, 2009.

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  • Franston Arts Centre Press Release, November 2009, Untrained.

    Press release from the Frankston Arts Centre publicising the performance of Untrained there, 2010.

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  • Fiona Parker, 'Think you can't dance?' ABC Central Victoria, 2011.

    Text summary of an interview with Lucy Guerin on ABC radio, prior to auditions for performers for Untrained in central Victoria, 2011.

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  • Corey Hague, 'Brave souls take to the dancefloor for 'Untrained'', ABC Central Victoria, 2011.

    Article publicising Untrained, including quotes from Lucy Guerin.

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  • Fiona Mackrell 'Lucy Guerin's 'Untrained' on tour', Arts Hub, 2011.

    Article publicising a three-month regional tour of Australia, 2011.

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  • Ken Longworth, 'Small but perfectly formed theatre gem', The Age, 2011.

    Newspaper article publicising currently touring dance works, including Untrained.

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  • Cassandra Tobin, 'Untrained but not upstaged', The Northern Star, 2011.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained in Lismore, 2011.

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  • 'Theatre News', Illawarra Mercury, 2011.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained in Illawarra, 2011.

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  • Anthea Gleeson 'Labourer likes to 'boogie'', The Chronicle, 2011.

    Newspaper article featuring one of the performers of Untrained in Toowoomba, 2011.

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  • Angela Thompson, 'Dancing without the stars', Illawarra Mercury, 2011.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained in Illawarra, 2011.

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  • 'Untrained Brisbane men to star in hit dance show'. Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, 2011.

    Media release from the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts publicising the performance of Untrained there, 2011.

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  • Deane Williams, 'Untrained dancers at the Nautilus Theatre', ABC South Australia, 2011.

    Blog post publicising the performance of Untrained in Port Lincoln, 2011.

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  • 'Bendigo men Untrained, but keen', Bendigo Advertiser, 2011.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained in regional Victoria, 2011.

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  • 'Untrained local stars take to The Capital stage', 2011.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained in Bendigo, 2011.

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  • Frances Frangenheim, 'Dreamers: Lucy Guerin', Map Magazine's Street Editors, 2011.

    Article featuring an interview with Lucy Guerin about her career and publicising the performance of Untrained in Brisbane, 2011.

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  • Jacqueline Williams, 'Untrained dancing talent full of surprises', Canberra Times, 2011.

    Newspaper article publicising the performance of Untrained in Canberra, 2011.

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  • Tim Douglas, 'Everyman leaps into untrained territory', The Australian, 2012.

    Newspaper article describing the experience of auditioning for a role in Untrained, prior to a tour of the work in America, 2012.

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  • Emeri Fetzer, 'Engineers learn to dance', TDF Stages, 2012.

    Article publicising the performance of Untrained in New York, 2012.

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  • Pia Catton, 'Amateur hour never looked so professional', The Wall Street Journal, 2012.

    Article publicising the performance of Untrained in New York, 2012. Discusses the development of the work and includes quotes from Lucy Guerin.

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  • Christine Jowers, 'A Conversation with Lucy Guerin: So, We Know They Can't Dance', The Dance Enthusiast, 2012.

    Interview with Lucy Guerin prior to the US tour of Untrained, 2012.

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  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa, 'Lucy Guerin Inc', Dance Magazine, 2012.

    Review of Untrained as performed in New York, 2012.

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  • Claudia La Rocco, 'How do you tell amateurs from pros? Just watch' The New York Times, 2012.

    Review of Untrained as performed in New York, 2012.

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  • Leigh Witchel, 'To the 'Untrained' eye, they're all pros', New York Post, 2012.

    Review of Untrained as performed in New York, 2012.

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  • Quinn Batson, 'Untrained and unafraid at BAM Fisher', Offoffoff, 2012.

    Review of Untrained as performed in New York, 2012.

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  • Robert Gottlieb, 'Some Modern Options: Tere O'Connor's poem is clever and moving; Lucy Guerin's Untrained amuses', Observer, 2012.

    Review of Untrained as performed in New York, 2012.

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  • Joan Acocella, 'Lucy Guerin: The Raw and the Cooked', The New Yorker, 2012.

    Review of Untrained as performed in New York, 2012.

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  • Cory Nakasue, 'Impressions of: "Untrained"', The Dance Enthusiast, 2012.

    Review of Untrained as performed in New York, 2012.

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  • Michael Seaver, 'Dancing from Down Under to Dublin', The Irish Times, 2013.

    Article publicising the performance of Australian dance works, including Untrained, at the Dublin Dance Festival, 2013.

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collection items

  • Untrained, Frankston Arts Centre, 2010.

    Brochure describing Untrained and publicising its performance at the Frankston Arts Centre, 2010.

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  • Untrained, Frankston Arts Centre, 2010.

    Brochure for performance of Untrained at the Frankston Arts Centre, 2010.

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  • Untrained, Adelaide Festival, 2010.

    Brochure publicising the performance of Untrained at the Adelaide Festival, 2010.

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  • 38th Hong Kong Arts Festival, 2010, Programme and Booking Guide.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, 2010.

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  • BAM 30th Next Wave Festival, 2012, 'BAMbill' Program Cover.

    Cover of the program for the performance of Untrained at the BAM 30th Next Wave Festival, 2012.

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  • BAM 30th Next Wave Festival, 2012, 'BAMbill' Program.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the BAM 30th Next Wave Festival, 2012.

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  • Canberra Theatre Centre Program, 2011.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Canberra Theatre Centre, 2011.

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  • Country Arts SA Season 2011 Program.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Northern Festival Centre, Port Pirie, as part of the Country Arts SA Season 2011.

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  • Drum Theatre Program, Season 2010.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Drum Theatre, Dandenong, 2010.

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  • Civic Theatre Newcastle Program, 2011.

    Brochure publicising the performance of Untrained at the Newcastle Civic Theatre, 2011.

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  • 'Inspirations 2011', Civic Theatre Newcastle Program.

    Program for the performance of Untrained in Newcastle, 2011.

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  • Swan Hill Town Hall Program, 2011.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Swan Hill Town Hall, 2011.

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  • Portland Arts Centre Program, 2011.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Portland Arts Centre, 2011.

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  • Wesley Performing Arts Centre program cover, 2011.

    Cover of program for the performance of Untrained in Horsham, 2011.

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  • The Empire Theatre program cover, 2011.

    Cover of program for the performance of Untrained in Toowoomba, 2011.

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  • BMEC and Orange Civic Centre program cover, 2011.

    Cover of program for the performance of Untrained in Bathurst and Orange, 2011.

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  • Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts program cover, 2011.

    Cover of program for the performance of Untrained in Brisbane, 2011.

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  • Merrigong Theatre program cover, 2011.

    Cover of program for the performance of Untrained in Wollongong, 2011.

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  • 'Untrained' program cover, 2011.

    Cover of program for performance of Untrained in Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Port Pirie, 2011.

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  • Canberra Theatre Centre program cover, 2011.

    Cover of program for the performance of Untrained at the Canberra Theatre Centre, 2011.

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  • The Engine Room brochure, 2011.

    Brochure for the performance of Untrained, The Capital Theatre, Bendigo, 2011.

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  • Canberra Theatre Centre program, 2011.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Canberra Theatre Centre, 2011.

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  • Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival, 2011.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival, 2011.

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  • Merrigong Theatre program, 2011.

    Program for the performance of Untrained in Wollongong, 2011.

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  • Merrigong Theatre advertisement, 2011.

    Advertisement for auditions for Untrained in Woollongong, 2011.

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  • 'Pica Guide', Awesome Festival Perth program, 2010.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Awesome Festival, Perth, 2010.

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  • Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre Theatre Season program, 2010.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre, 2010.

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  • Awesome Festival Perth program cover, 2010.

    Cover of the program for the performance of Untrained at the Awesome Festival, Perth, 2010.

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  • Panorama Festival Brazil program, 2010.

    Information about a workshop based on Untrained run by Lucy Guerin at the Panorama Festival, Brazil, 2010.

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  • Adelaide Festival program cover, 2010.

    Cover of the program for the Adelaide Festival, 2010.

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  • Untrained program cover, Adelaide Centre for the Arts, 2010.

    Cover of the program for the performance of Untrained at the Adelaide Centre for the Arts, 2010.

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  • Untrained brochure cover, Adelaide Centre for the Arts, 2010.

    Cover of brochure for the performance of Untrained at the Adelaide Centre for the Arts, 2010.

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  • Untrained flyer, Spring Dance Festival, Sydney Opera House, 2009.

    Flyer publicising the performance of Untrained at the Spring Dance Festival, Sydney Opera House, 2009.

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  • Spring Dance Festival program, 2009.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at the Spring Dance Festival, Sydney Opera House, 2009.

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  • Dance Massive program, 2009.

    Credits and bios for the performance of Untrained at Dance Massive, 2009.

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  • Dance Massive program, 2009.

    Program for the performance of Untrained at Dance Massive, 2009.

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  • Untrained ticket, Canberra Theatre Centre, 2011.

    Ticket to the performance of Untrained at the Canberra Theatre Centre, 2011.

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Audio

  • NAME OF AUDIO: Lucy Guerin interviewed by Catherine Forge about the Archive

  • NAME OF AUDIO: Lucy Guerin interviewed by Catherine Forge about the history of Lucy Guerin Inc

  • NAME OF AUDIO: Lucy Guerin interviewed by Catherine Forge about Untrained