A Melbourne-based artist, Joel Bray is a proud Wiradjuri man. The Wiradjuri are the Indigenous peoples of Central Western NSW. He began dancing at age 20, in traditional Aboriginal and Contemporary dance forms at NAISDA Dance College. He went on to graduate from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2005.
Joel is an ongoing performer with Chunky Move and has performed and toured in Complexity of Belonging and An Act of Now, and with Anouk van Dijk and Falk Richter in their production Safe Places at the Frankfurt Schauspielhaus.
Joel’s twelve year career spans France, Portugal and Israel with Jean-Claude Gallotta, Company CeDeCe, Kolben Dance, Machol Shalem Dance House, Yoram Karmi’s FRESCO Dance Company, Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor and Roy Assaf.
Joel’s choreographic practice springs from his Wiradjuri cultural heritage. Rather than attempting to recreate a supposed Indigenous ‘form’, his methodology is rooted in traditional Wiradjuri ways of making work, namely durational, site-specific and cross-genre processes. His works are intimate encounters with small audiences in unorthodox spaces, in which audience-members are ‘invited in’ as co-storytellers and co-performers.
Running themes in his work include the experiences of fair-skinned Aboriginal people and the unique forms of subtle racism they face, and the experiences of contemporary gay men in an increasingly digital and isolated world. His body becomes the intersection site of those song lines – Indigenous heritage, skin-colour and queer sexuality.