Dance to the Anticlinal Fold is a spoken-word walking tour centred on the Anticlinal Fold (pictured, above), an idiosyncratic and locally celebrated geological formation in downtown Castlemaine.
The show considers time and landscape from geological, historical and Indigenous perspectives, featuring the knowledge and expertise of Indigenous Elder Uncle Rick Nelson, historian Robyn Annear and geologist Clive Willman in partnership with the poetry of yours truly.
A proof-of-concept selection from the show was performed as part of Regional Arts Victoria’s Artlands Festival in October 2018.
A limited season of six performances of Dance to the Anticlinal Fold will take place in March 2019 as part of the Castlemaine State Festival. You can find out more about the show as it develops by signing up for my newsletter or following me on Twitter.
The idea for the show started with a poem and a zine.
When we first moved to Chewton we noticed a series of street signs around Castlemaine directing people to something called an “Anticlinal Fold”. Eventually curiosity got the best of us and we followed them. We found an old brown plaque mounted above a curved outcropping of rock.
The plaque explained, in a verbose and roundabout kind of way, that this kind of rock formation was indicative of the presence of gold and as such should be celebrated as part of a historic gold-mining town’s history.
I’ve always been a sucker for weird little touristy things, so finding one in my own home town was a pleasure. Eventually my low-level musings about giving the Anticlinal Fold its own anthem turned into an actual poem, which became a little zine that I started leaving in batches beside the fold itself.
(As it turns out, there’s also an anticlinal fold just down the road from my house, so when I found out about it I modified the poem to fit a Chewtonian setting, whipped up a second zine and started leaving copies beside that one as well.)
Where to find the zines
Both Anticline zines are housed in makeshift dispensaries deposited close by the features whose virtues they extol and extemporise upon. They are free to anyone who cares to take one.
If you’re in the neighbourhood, the Castlemaine Anticline booklet can be found just near the corner of Lyttleton and Urquhart Streets in Castlemaine.
Or if you prefer something a little less urban, the Chewton Anticline booklet can be found beside the railway tracks just down from the bridge over the tracks on Railway Street in Chewton.
If, however, you find yourself tragically unable to visit either site, you can download a copy of Anticline to print and assemble yourself:
Or, if you prefer, you can also contact me by leaving a comment on this page and we can sort something out about posting you one.
Meantime here’s a short excerpt from the poem to whet your appetite (whet. like a stone. get it?)
A million years out of the sun,
they found it when the track went through
and recognised the find for what it was.
Its layers bent upon themselves,
revealing to the engineers
a minor point of geological truth.
Behold! The anticlinal fold!
A bell curve carved into the earth:
evidence that even rock is never truly still.
Move with the anticlinal fold.
Dance to the anticlinal fold.
Put your hand on it – you can feel it in your bones.