Arabella dancing Arabella dancing Arabella dancing Arabella dancing Grid of images of Arabella in black pants and green top, in various positions

Photo by Rex Kane-Hart

Photo by Harry Hayes

Photo by Tommy Cattin

Photo courtesy of MPavilion

Photo by Trudi Treble

Arabella Frahn-Starkie

Arabella posing with male dancer


Arabella Frahn-Starkie is a dance artist, and researcher. She is passionate that the skills of dancing and choreographic thinking can be useful in just about any situation. In 2021, she completed her Honours at the Victorian College of the Arts, where she also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Contemporary Dance) in 2016. Over the past few years her artistic practice has seen a preoccupation with documenting and thinking about how to archive the ephemera of dance. As a dancer she has worked with and array of incredible choreographers, visual artists, and researchers including Rebecca Jensen, Jo Lloyd, Siobhan McKenna, Sandra Parker, David Rosetzky, Dr Katie Lee, and Dr Petra Gemeinboeck. She is a founding member of the collaborative group Polito who perform improvised techno and dance across various venues and contexts in Melbourne. Arabella is driven to use the body in her work, as she believes that at the junction of the artwork, audience, and artist, is a sentient and volatile body.

View current cv.

Photo by Andrew Fraser


Arabella has worked as a dancer with a range of artists across dance, visual art, music and film. She has performed in the works of Rebecca Jensen, Katie Lee, Jo Lloyd, Siobhan McKenna, Sandra Parker, David Rosetzky, Lee Serle, Judith Walton, and Petra Gemeinboeck. Notably, in 2019, Arabella travelled to Venice as part of the Biennale College program, to perform works by Trisha Brown and Alessandro Sciarroni at the Venice Biennale. Arabella is a founding member of the collaborative group Polito, who perform improvised techno and dance across various venues and contexts in Melbourne.

Performance Highlights


  • Yield to Resistance
    choreographed by Sandra Parker, presented at Dancehouse

  • Rythmic Fictions
    choreographed by Siobhan McKenna, presented at the Northcote Town Hall


  • Composite Acts
    by David Rosetzky and choreographed by Jo Lloyd presented at Sutton Gallery

  • Replacement
    choreographed by Sandra Parker, presented at Sarah Scout Presents


  • Utterance
    choreographed by Siobhan McKenna, presented at Dancehouse as part of the 2019 Dance Massive Festival

  • Adherance
    choreographed by Sandra Parker, presented at the IWAKI auditorium

  • Composite Acts
    a video work by David Rosetzky, presented at the 2019 Channels Festival

  • Drama 2, 3, 4
    choreographed by Siobhan McKenna, commissioned by Lucy Guerin Inc. as part of their annual PIECES season, performed at the Substation


    choreographed by Jo Lloyd, presented at ACCA as part of Eva Rothschild’s exhibition Kosmos 

  • Nadja-Léona
    choreographed by Jude Walton, presented in at the Alliance Française


  • Small Details
    choreographed by Sandra Parker, presented in the 2017 Dance Massive Festival

  • Deep Sea Dances
    choreographed by Rebecca Jensen, presented in the 2017 Dance Massive Festival


  • Human Version
    choreographed by Sandra Parker as part Pieces for Small Spaces at Lucy Geurin Inc.  

Research and Relevant Experience


  • Research project commissioned by the Miegunyah Student Award at the University of Melbourne, "Tacitly Mab: Lady Mabel Grimwade within the Grimwade Archive", Research paper and accompanying installation presented at the Grainger Museum"


  • Research project "Looking Back, Thinking Forward: Interrogating Tensions Between Dance and its Documentation and Archiving", Research paper and accompanying live dance performance produced for Honours degree at the Victorian College of the Arts.


  • Participated in the Venice Biennale Dancer Project from April-June 2019, engaging with the work of Trisha Brown, Alessandro Sciarroni, and various somatic practices.


  • Taught dance at Yellow Wheel Youth Dance Company.


  • Participated in ‘Cross-Section’, a residency at Abbotsford Convent presenting a body of sculptural work developed by artist Katie Lee. The realisation of the sculptures in performance was developed in collaboration with Katie Lee, Emma Collard and Arabella Frahn-Starkie.

  • Taught dance at Melbourne Girls' College.

Pictures & Ghosts
Ken Burns
Choose Your Own
Choose Your Own Adventure
Close Copy
Close Copy
How Many Colours
How Many Colours
Polito x Visual Display
Polito x Visual Display
Set Elements
Set Elements
Hemm - Why Do I Unwind
Why Do I Unwind?
Allocated Space
Allocated Space
Sault - Be Gentle
Be Gentle
Sault - Bones
Bones (Exit Feeling)


Image from 'Pictures & Ghosts' Image from 'Pictures & Ghosts'

Pictures & Ghosts gathers the recollections and traces of a dance. From stark photographic memory to a distant sense of nostalgia, performer Arabella Frahn-Starkie draws upon the relationship between dance, and the means of documenting and archiving performance through video, photography, and notation.

The documentation floods across multiple screens creating silhouettes and visual obstructions, layering the use of analog and digital technology. Arabella’s marking, blurring and overwriting of the documentation, works to undercut the accuracy and solidity of the documentation, giving her tactile control of images of herself as she reasserts authorship over her visual reproduction.

In Pictures & Ghosts, Arabella invites audiences into her process of retracing a dance that may otherwise have sunk into her bodily memory, never to be seen again. The performance is a contemplation on the possibilities and pitfalls of archiving dance, and for Arabella, it is a reminder that no time spent dancing is inconsequential.

Choreographer Performer: Arabella Frahn-Starkie
Photographer: Trudi Treble
Director: Meg Duncan
Composer: Robert Downie
Lighting Designer: Giovanna Yate González

Images by Michaela Ottone

Image from 'Ken Burns' Image from 'Ken Burns'

Ken Burns is a new dance work by dancer and choreographer Arabella Frahn-Starkie presented at Temperance Hall for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2022.

Taking cues from documentary cinema, Arabella contemplates the unspoken details of her family’s history and considers how she carries her loved ones inside her every action.

In keeping with a preoccupation with documentation and archiving, Arabella engages with an ongoing exploration of the state of evoking memory and stirring the physical sediment of memory that beds itself in the body.

Image from 'Artefact'
Image from 'Artefact' Image from 'Artefact'

‘Artefact #1’ and ‘Artefact #2’ were two performances collaboratively made and performed by Rosie Leverton and Arabella Frahn-Starkie. The concept behind this short series was to recreate and re-stage memories shared by the two performers. These works were performed at Testing Grounds and The Substation respectively.

Excerpts from ‘Close Copy’, performed by Yellow Wheel Youth Dance Company at Temperance Hall in 2018.

Performed by Abigail Benham-Bannon, Bree Thomas, Christie King, Helen Moshis, Jade Leung, Kathryn Riddoch, Pippa McEwen, and Steph Moutray-Read who was present throughout the process but couldn’t be there for the performance.

Choreography by Arabella Frahn-Starkie
Photography by Trudi Treble
Sound by Robert Downie
Footage by Rex Kane-Hart
Photography by Adam Wheeler

‘Close Copy’ is a dance work that takes inspiration from photographic practice. It is comparison and analysis in a dream state. It is multiple versions of a single memory. It is an ever moving deceleration. It is a genuine artefact that is both unchanging and moving forward with the momentum of a body twisting and flailing.

For Paul.

‘How many colours and shapes can you spot in the room? Are we unfixed or are we flat? Can you find the best way to see?’

By Emma Collard and Arabella Frahn-Starkie, presented at Kings Artist-Run in July 2016.

Footage shot by Harry Hayes.

Emma and Arabella began their collaborative practice in 2015 while studying Visual Art (honours) and Dance respectively at the Victorian College of the Arts. After being mistaken for each other on campus, each with matching blonde bobs and pink outfits, they quickly found their interests intersecting. Belle’s contemporary dance practice focuses on the idea of the body as a shifting material, and Emma utilises a range of materials as well as performance in her spatial investigations. These elements have come together to form a new visual vocabulary, which are used to explore humour, colour, perspective, the body, improvisation and creative, intuitive decision-making. This exhibition was the duo’s first public presentation of their ongoing collaborative developments.

‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ was presented as part of Yellow Wheel Youth Company's 2014 major season, ‘I Came Here To Dance Once.’

For this season, Yellow Wheel unleashed acclaimed choreographer Jo Lloyd, alongside Joshua Lowe, Amber McCartney and company member Arabella Frahn-Starkie to make new contemporary dance works with a company of 30 next generation dance artists. ‘I Came Here To Dance Once.’ is a dance project that spans over three decades of insight about our relationship to the body and how it moves. The season was shortlisted for an Australian Dance Award.

Producer: Joshua Lowe
Composer: Duane Morrison
Lighting Designer: Jennifer Hector

Hillary Goldsmith, Jacqui Aylward, Eve Newton-Johnston, Madison Phillips, Marlo Benjamin, Ben Hurley, and Olivia McPherson.

Polito is an ongoing experimental cross-disciplinary project between two contemporary dancers, Arabella Frahn-Starkie and Hillary Goldsmith, and two electronic musicians, Finnian Langham and Robert Downie, engaging in long-form improvisation. Live electronic composition and bodily practice conspire to create a mesmerising audio-visual landscape.

Real-time modular synthesis and evolving beat foundations create a transfixing sonic journey. Sound and movement are anchored to each other, introspectively reacting and evolving through a continuous form. Moments of euphoria emerge out of and supersede the mundane. Forms align, hyperextending into a blurry dissonance before snapping back into sublime harmony.

‘Polito X Visual Display’ was presented at Testing Grounds as part of the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Festival, and was the recipient of the festival's ‘Best Music’ award.

Photo from 'Set Elements' Photo from 'Set Elements'

‘Set Elements’ is a performance installation by Katie Lee featured in group exhibition ‘Temporal Proximities’ curated by Kelli Alred, performed at the Abbotsford Convent. This work was co-choreographed and performed by Arabella Frahn-Starkie and Katie Lee.

Photography by Clare Rae.

Music video clip for Melbourne based electronic music duo Hemm.

Concept, Direction, Edit by Arabella Frahn-Starkie

Cinematography and Colour by Rex Kane-Hart

Costume by Remy Wong

Excerpt from a larger video work titled "Allocated Space"

Movement, concept, filming and editing by Arabella Frahn-Starkie.

Music by Robert Downie


Stretch yourself, be in two places at once. Do it all quickly, and without complaint.

Music by Sault

Video directed and edited by Arabella Frahn-Starkie

Cinematography by Alanna Raif

Make up by Kate McWilliam

Costume by Remy Wong

Music by Sault

Video directed and edited by Arabella Frahn-Starkie

Cinematography by Alanna Raif

Make up by Kate McWilliam

Costume by Remy Wong

Image from 'Esoteric'
Image from 'Esoteric' Image from 'Esoteric'

Arabella Frahn-Starkie worked as a movement director for Esoteric: an experimental opera.

Rooted in the contemplation of climate change effects of a distant future and the societal significance of the natural world, this audio-visual experience considers our place in the ecosystem and the fleeting power we have to affect it. Fundamentally, ESOTERIC is a multi sensory experience of all that will be left of the natural world if indifference ensues.

Contemporary composer and creative Jessica Lindsay Smith, working in collaboration with electronic visual artist Rachael Archibald and movement artist Arabella Frahn-Starkie, alongside a cast of improvising musicians present this multidisciplinary work that explores movement, improvisation and dramatic story-telling in a shifting, projected space. ESOTERIC is a meditative, textural, and otherworldly exploration of our future.

Images by Simon Fazio