Posts By: charlottes

Siobhan Davies and Charlie Morrissey come in

The Next Choreography group had their first guest artists this week, and none other than Siobhan Davies and Charlie Morrissey to share some of the ideas and processes that they went through in the development of their work  Table of Contents. Here are a few snaps from the session to give a glimpse of what we got up to.

Sue tells us how it is!

Siobhan tells us how it is!

Emily and Isla working

Emily and Isla working

Emily asks a question

Emily asks a question

Cherilyn and Emily in the zone

Cherilyn and Emily in the zone

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The moving body responding

It’s week 3, and in advance of other artists coming in and us starting to go and see stuff, I wanted to focus our attentions this evening on the nature of noticing, witnessing, listening and responding. But I also felt that we haven’t spent much time moving together yet, and I wanted to allow the session to be about meeting and responding through/with our bodies. I let the group choose between more moving or less moving. They chose more, and so the responding and listening and witnessing was probably more through moving than through talking. This culminated in sharing those experiences, through writing.

In discussion Aura and Emily

Aura and Emily sharing their writing

 

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Cultivating curiosity

After many months of preparations and recruitment, Next Choreography has started! The group met for the first time last tuesday evening and we started out by making our own manifesto for the year to come – as a group what feels important to us? what are the guidelines/frameworks that we will hope to live by? The process of constructing this brought up some interesting and I think useful conversations about care, support, space for failure and vulnerability, space for making a mess and getting lost – seeing these as essential ingredients for creativity to thrive.

As facilitator of the course, for me, my strongest aims for this course are about cultivating curiosity. If each person in the group walks away at the end of the year with a clearer idea about what their practice is, what it is that they’re really really curious about, hungry to keep investigating it and a few tools in their pockets to help with that journey, then I will be happy.

Tonight the group are going to do Walking Stories – my most recent piece of artistic work – a choreographed group audio walk for green spaces. Let’s see how that goes down!

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Designed Elements – Transforming an outdoor space with choreography and landscape design

Photo by Gorm Ashurst

Photo by Gorm Ashurst

Photo by Gorm Ashurst

Photo by Gorm Ashurst

Photo by Gorm Ashurst

Photo by Gorm Ashurst

 

In August I worked for 6 days with an enthusiastic and energetic group of young people to create a new outdoor performance work, Designed Elements. We had the privilege of working on an extremely ‘cool’ site – new pop-up music venue, The Paperworks in partnership with landscape designer, Anoushka Feiler.

From the first time I visited the site I was struck by its wide array of textures. Huge old rusting iron structures – the remains of the papermill that had previously inhabited the site; the busy train line running from Elephant & Castle into London Bridge with thundering rhythmic screeching wheels creating an immediate backdrop/sound scape; the graffiti covering the crumbling brick walls – a taste of rebellion; the plants growing through the walls – a reminder of nature’s capacity and tenacity for it’s own version of regeneration; the energy and activity of this new set of bars, DJs, food stalls – a look of London.

For both Anoushka and I, the history and the architecture of the space felt important. The endless possibilities for transforming both the utility and the feeling of the space felt important. The opportunity to mark out a new territory and imprint new stories into this already multi-layered site felt important together with making visible the connections between the cycles of physical human life and plant life: new seeds being nourished and growing, life flourishing and then gradually decaying and decomposing back into the ground. I wanted to find a way to reflect the duality of the fleeting/busy/temporary qualities of London with the slower, stiller feeling of the buildings, the trees – also temporary and changing, but on a different thickness of time. These were our shared starting points for both the garden design and the choreographic ideas.

This is what I proposed to the group on the first day:
We will:

Run, lift things, move things, lie in the ground
Plant things
Make wishes
Build sculptures and knock them down
Leave secret messages
Watch
Listen
Invite
Respond
Make a mess
Clear it up
Take risks
Do small delicate things
Do big sweeping things
Be tired sometimes and energetic at other times
Support each other in all of this
Write, draw and think as well as move

We worked hard, and as always the group and the space surprised and inspired me. Below is what our programme notes said – they were written by all the group, hiding under the tarpaulin as the torrential rain thundered down. This is just a fragment of what got written that afternoon, but in all of their words I felt the warm satisfying glow of realising how deeply they had grasped what I was trying to share with them.

We want to stay a part of something, but if that something changes too often, must we run to keep up? Or perhaps we fall behind in hope that we will find what was once beneath us.

We are a fleeting city
our landscape is constantly re-arranging itself
melded, bolted together
We rebuilt this world
somewhere between growth and decay
seeding new ideas
Reaching upwards. Falling back. Together.
A cluster. A line. Leave none behind.

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