Posts By: Bethany Monklane

Next Choreography Festival Film

On the 3rd July, Siobhan Davies Dance hosted the Next Choreography Festival, which celebrated the achievements of young artists and choreographers from Next Choreography and further afield. Each member of Next Choreography had a variety of responsibilities on the day to make sure that the festival ran smoothly; my main role was to document the day through film, in addition to performing with the other young dancers.

Having filmed a session a few months earlier, in which I captured the Next Choreography participants exploring the space using material objects (I wrote a blog post in February 2016 containing the YouTube link if you would like to see the finished film!), I hoped that I would get another chance to film at the Siobhan Davies Dance Studios. So when the opportunity arose for me to document the Festival day, I jumped at the chance!

I really enjoyed filming the day. Throughout the day I moved the camera from room to room, recording the workshop, talk or exhibition that was taking place inside. It was lovely to see how much people were enjoying the Festival, as there was so much on offer for audiences to look at and get involved with.

Probably the most difficult part of the process was editing the film after I had captured all of the footage of the Festival. There were so many interesting parts of the day to share! However, I hope the film does justice to the wonderful day that the Next Choreography participants and the Siobhan Davies Dance team managed to curate.

Take a look at the final montage video below!

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A Memory

As we gradually approach the end of the academic year, I thought I would share a moment from earlier in the Next Choreography course (from the 28th February to be exact), that had particular poignance for me.

After exploring devised movement during the session, where the dancer worked in collaboration with a fellow class member to improve on an individually devised dance piece, we wrote down in our notebooks a stream of consciousness that summed up what we had felt during the class, each sentence starting with the words “I am going…”.

Hannah volunteered to perform her devised movement work to the class, and did so beautifully. Without having heard my written stream of consciousness, Charlotte suggested I read my internal dialogue as a narration to Hannah’s movements. We started off just performing our separate creations at the same time, not necessarily paying much attention to the other’s work. However, the more she danced, the more observant I was of her accents and of her moments of stillness, and so I adjusted my tone of voice to fit her movements. By the end we were entirely in sync, moulding our own creations to make this epic improvised choreographic piece.

I was surprised and genuinely awe struck by how well our two art forms fitted together. Without having any relation to each other’s work all evening, we had somehow created a piece that combined spoken word and dance, that could have been devised in collaboration from the beginning of the night. I wasn’t the only one to notice it; the entire class was buzzing with excitement by what we had all just witnessed! I left the session that day feeling this incredible sense of satisfaction, and yet I felt blown away in equal measure in experiencing what I had during that session. We were chosen to perform together totally by chance, and somehow ended up being exactly what the other needed to make our pieces whole.

This was only one of the many times Next Choreography has made me think so existentially, but this particular memory I know will stay in my mind for many years to come.

The stream of consciousness that I read out is as follows:

I am going on a journey, only analogue scribbles of scrappy lines. I am going down a path of handwritten nonsense, forward, backward, dip sideways. I am going between the lines, unsure if they feel it too. I am going down linear strips of elephant grey, brown, there white circle, safe. I am going to move, between them, no? Yes. I am going on a ride, far beyond this place, above anything physical; I am going nowhere, yet straight, and hoping all go upwards.

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Next Choreography Film

Two weeks ago, on the 11th February, I brought in my camera to film the session, in order to create a short documentary piece. Outside of Next Choreography, I am studying on a film and media course, and so I wanted to merge my two passions together, dance and film, by creating a short piece documenting a typical class at Siobhan Davies Studios.

On the week that I filmed, we were using lots of objects as part of the class, exploring and experimenting with ways that our own personal experiences can shape the way we use the items around us. This was great for what I wanted to capture, as my aim was to record the way that individuals in the class work in the space; it meant that I had the opportunity to focus on one person at a time, whilst they were in their own creative world, as well as then being able to see how the Next Choreography members worked together during group activities and discussions.

I had never filmed anything like this before; the unpredictability of what was coming next, both physically and mentally for the dancers, was incredibly exciting to watch, and it meant I barely put my camera down! I thoroughly enjoyed the process in which I filmed and later edited; choosing the right footage to go into the final cut, as well as sourcing the music and making decisions about the colour grading and contrast were all important factors towards making the film as good as it could possibly be.

It would be interesting to see how the film would have changed if it had been filmed at a different time of year. Perhaps in summer, with natural light streaming in through the windows, the film would have a whole different ambiance? I suppose the only way to find that out would be if I were to make another film…

And here it is! I hope you enjoy it.

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