It was 1968 when The Beatles - inspired by political protests and a desire for social change - first sang "You say you want a revolution".
More than five decades later, those words have, in part, inspired QL2's latest production.
The youth dance company's artistic director Ruth Osborne was in Melbourne visiting the exhibition You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 when she was inspired to create REBEL Then.Now.When?
The work - which was first scheduled for last year but was postponed due to Covid - takes a look at the movements of the 1960s and 70s such as anti-war, civil rights and women and gay liberation.
It then draws parallels with present-day activism and what it means to be a leader pushing for social change.
"It felt like there had been a huge gap in between these two periods where people had gone to sleep a little bit and were letting things go," Osborne says.
"But certainly now there are so many movements and so many people are standing up for so many things. It feels like maybe this is another era like the 1960s and 70s.
"And also, we're working with young people and it's trying to find subjects that are important to them. And even if they don't think about it much when they first start the project, by the end they're involved and they make up their minds about what they want."
Osborne is joined by the assistant to the artistic director Stephen Gow in choreographing the first part of the show, Then, which focuses on past activism.
Choreographer Jack Ziesing then takes on present-day activism in Now and choreographer Jodie Farrugia delves into leadership in social change in When?.
"It was really interesting to bring awareness to the young dancers of what the movements were, what the activists were doing at that time, and relating it through what's happening now," Gow says.
The dancers were encouraged to not only learn about different movements - both past and present - but to form opinions and engage in conversations about them.
This was either through bringing their own experiences to the issue or by listening to other people's experiences with issues they may not yet have formed an opinion on.
"In Jodie's piece, in the When? section, we have this boy's part that talks about toxic masculinity, which is something that I can say I've experienced firsthand," dancer Christopher Wade says.
"I feel like males in dance, it's a bit of a thing you need to deal with. Particularly growing up, I got a lot of backlash in high school because I was a dancer. So that's quite important to me.
"But my contribution to the discussions as a whole was less of bringing up new issues because being a straight white male I didn't have anything else to add on top of that.
"Rather I just helped in deepening our explanation of the issues that other people had brought up previously because they have had to deal with them."
REBEL Then.Now.When? is at the Canberra Theatre Centre from May 20 to 22.
Go to canberratheatrecentre.com.au for tickets.
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