Posts By: Maisie Sadgrove

gratification

Working with Lucy Suggate for two sessions has conjured an interest in the manipulation of space and the relationship between dance and arguably unlikely performative spaces such as galleries and museums.

After reading about the new collaboration between these two art genres for ‘Dancing Museums’ I was motivated to question the relationship between audiences and those contrasting forms.

I see a still painting or sculpture for example in its stillness and at face value the art will always represent itself in the same way (although may provide new meanings or concepts at each glance). I do not need much more than what the artist has created on that blank canvas or with those materials in order to create that captured moment. Additionally when we watch dance works we are seeing the development of decisions in the space for time frames that vary between minutes and hours.

As an audience member I feel dance provides itself with a longevity from the moment you arrive. The beginning to the end. A work unravels to become itself throughout its existence. There is not much you can claim at face value without taking into account the substance, that when compared to a painting would be the strokes on the canvas. This then encourages me to consider the idea of maintenance with choreography.

Do we attempt to create a time frame of produce that will grip the audience from start to finish? Can we envisage that our tools are not far from the paint and the paint brush? Therefore can audiences arrive in our work like looking at a still form? With or without stillness?

The art forms are arguably very different therefor incomparable in this audience/artist exchange and there are many elements to consider that I have quickly skimmed over, although I feel at this starting point the relationship between the two particularly in ‘Dancing Museums’ fuels an interest.

Within both forms of art I enjoy committing to works and unravelling the hidden messages that surface to my individual eye. I am aware that I may explore possibilities  deeper inside the simplest of creations, when my mind is left to roam with just enough but by all means not masses of information. These similarities and contrasts spark an invitation to consider the different ways one digests the two Art forms/as well as how as an artist we can channel these thoughts into our creating.

Suggesting that your offering of work is your exhibition, gallery or museum to me encourages a shift in focus. I hope to catch some of the works performed in such locations this summer and explore these concepts in the studio.

 

 

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Vertical

Le Patin Libre: Vertical 
At Somerset House 14th January 2016
Maisie Sadgrove

On Thursday evening we made our way to Somerset House to watch a performance of contemporary ice skating. This was the extent of my prior knowledge. The ice rink was a smooth glossy platform lit by purples and blues surrounded by the royal like architecture of Somerset House. The five dancers (four men and one woman) entered their clear canvas in casual clothing, tones of yellow, grey and white. As they stand in stillness the outside air blows their shirts in the wind.

As the piece began it was hard to not notice the marks being made upon the ice by the blades of their shoes. Some were clear and direct, some at an angle churning up the ice like piles of dust. The ice became a conscious element of the piece evolving with the movement being performed upon it. By chance as the wind blew throughout the piece the excess fragments of ice blew swept across the floor which created a beautiful layer to the setting. The dancers, unlike your usual performance on ground, could weave seamlessly in and out of formations standing like statues. The gliding was effortless and almost hypnotising. At times the expeditious spinning and gravity defying jumps were terrifying as an audience member but they showed great skill and ability throughout the whole piece.

A clear humanity was emitted from the dancers through their focus. They gave a sense of individuality with alternating solos and differentiating qualities. Despite this they came together harmoniously in times of unison. Their connection between one another allowed them to speed up and slow down without a second glance. The fusion of contemporary and skating was structured seamlessly showing no division. Whilst watching the dancers I was curious what came first, the contemporary or the ice skating, because both were executed so well.

The connection with the audience really eradicated the fourth wall usually holding boundary between front facing audiences and performance. There was personality and playfulness and it was clear the dancers enjoyed the performance just as much as their audience.

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Reflexive

In October I had the opportunity to discuss my aims with Charlotte Spencer. Not just within the Next Choreography program but also in my general development. I joined the program feeling that I aspired to have involvement in the dance industry although it seemed I couldn’t break away from the sense that I was still a student waiting to feel a part of it. This includes having knowledge about current artists and work of all genres. Especially after moving to London a year ago, a location considered to be the hub of artistic opportunities. The habit of studying within a course and waiting for the industry to come to you was something I moved away from after joining the program. It opened up my peripheral vision encouraging me to look elsewhere. Being involved in something external to my studies immediately encouraged me to stop waiting and start exploring. I feel a lot more confident and active in my own development instead of relying on my place of study to have the ability to cover all my individual aims.

Another focus of mine was to continue to challenge myself when creating/choreographing. I usually stop at the first or second exploration rather than to keep asking for more from my idea. I was essentially limiting the possibilities and my creative potential. Since working within the Next Choreography program I have been able to continue asking questions about all elements of my creative input. Working on projects to perform and considering why we stand here and the audience sit there, why we finish at this point, why we choose to digest direction in this way. Now I feel like there are less ‘loop holes’. No decision is made without consideration and experimentation. As we break up for Christmas I know I give myself more opportunities to push my creative tool box and move away from the habit of “that’ll do”.

Our first term of sessions has come to an end for Christmas. Time has flown by and 12 weeks of collaboration, creation, experimentation, questioning and playing seem to all merge into a pathway towards where I stand now. My outlook and intake. The process of conceptualising ideas, inspirations, experiences and other art forms including every day life events. The sessions, as if my mind has become a video camera, have widened the frame increasing the possibilities and ideas I stumble across.

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Mindful, Trails

Exploring surfaces of the space with our eyes closed, creating mental images and questions through touch. What did I discover?

Heat, Mobility, Draft, Dust, Trails, Danger

Large cables running under a smooth door with a cold draft and a metal shield  with small circular holes radiating heat. The longer I questioned what was in front of me, the more it did not matter. I stopped wondering what these shapes or objects could be or lead to and started to enjoy the variety.

Sitting again eyes closed, in a location of my choice. Listening.

Contact, Direction, Location

I sat catching sound from nearby then slowly sinking into a deeper focus. Could I hear people upstairs? Muffled noises to my left made me cautious of where I had chosen to stay. How close could they be? Can I make out what they’re saying? There was a constant play between listening closely and listening to nearby surroundings. I forgot I was sitting in a room (possibly alone) facing a wall with my eyes closed and suddenly felt blended with the sounds I was focusing so hard on. When Charlotte eventually tapped me on the shoulder to say I could go back upstairs I suddenly felt more sensitive to where I was. It made me feel extremely relaxed and I am surprised how satisfying it is to just stop and listen.

Walking backwards. Eyes closed.

Floating, Gentle

Firstly we walked with partners leading the direction, light pressure with their hands on our shoulders guided us through the space that slowly evaporated into nothing. To me. I eventually stopped wondering where I was, how many times I had gone in circles or how close I was to the walls. Walking backwards seemed easy, natural and grounding. After what felt like 5 minutes we were instructed to think of our favourite place. Now it was not so easy to walk backwards and react to my partners touch. Then I found my favourite place. We described them out loud to our partners and this made me completely remove myself from what my body was doing. After being so used to shifting backwards it almost felt ‘backwards’ to walk forwards.

Backwards walking with the group.

Weight, hands, adjust, step, who is behind, look, eyes, hair, why, where

We created a line with our hands on the shoulders or waist of those in front of us. To be told you will walk around a building backwards in a line is daunting at first. You almost can not believe it will be possible. Then we moved through the space and slowly stepped out the door and towards the stairs. We had 30 minutes to explore. Weaving through desks, into small corners, up and down stairs I realised I’d set myself little techniques for approaching certain challenges. I was very aware of the weight distribution in my body as well as Kirstin who was in front of me. Every now and then I would accidentally step on a foot or be stepped on but we kept going. We really committed to experimenting with help from our leader. Eventually it was nice to be back in the studio knowing there was no more ‘blind walking’. I had to fight my urge to look where I was going. Playing between walking or running forwards and backwards made me realise that if you try something for long enough your body gets used to the sensations.

We combined chosen words from what we had built up after each exercise.

CONTACT, LOCATION, FLOATING IN THE AIR, GENTLE, WHO IS BEHIND?

again rearranging

LOCATION, CONTACT, WHO IS BEHIND? GENTLE, FLOATING IN THE AIR

again

TRAILS, IN THE AIR, GENTLE, CONTACT, WHO IS BEHIND ME

We finally organised our words and read them out with options of pause, repetition or emphasis. Anything we felt appropriate to our experience.

TRAILS…. IN THE AIR…. GENTLE… CONTACT, WHO IS BEHIND ME?….      TRAILS

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