To gather people with the same passion, with different roots, like the leaves on the same tree. Not the ivy, but a tree planted by Karla Shacklock in Bristol on November 2.
Karla Shacklock has been touring the UK this autumn with her project Getting out of the box, an open-minded form of shared counseling on what it takes to be a dancer nowadays. The event took place at the Trinity Arts Centre, where, in a giant circle, we engaged the conversation. Some renowned dancers were invited and offered their perspectives. Straight away, Laïla Diallo (former dancer with Wayne McGregor’s dance company, independent choreographer) invigorated the “out of the box” thinking by saying that she would always fill her pockets with possibilities, ask herself “what if I tried this or that?” constantly, and look up from the microcosm of her practice. Adesola Akinleye (founder of DancingStrong) mentioned that she once moved into a house where the garden was invaded with ivy. She contacted gardeners to get rid of it, but it was too expensive. In the end, she decided to get rid of the ivy herself. This decision gave her a sense of empowerment and an occasion to create a personal space. The same sense happening through choreography. A way to change and appropriate her environment, create an energy leading somewhere. She also pointed out that, as artists, we have the privilege of reflection and ought to become friend with the reflecting process.
Equally, Lois Taylor (founder of Attik Dance, former Dance lecturer at Falmouth University and now freelance dancer), defined thriving as being one with her body, her body dancing with other dancing bodies. The relationship to the body has to be the priority. There is no distinction between doing and being the dance. There is no aim to go anywhere, nor anything to chase or compare; it is all already within.
Vicki Amedume (founder of Upswing), Jo Fong (former performer with DV8 Physical Theatre, Rosas and Rambert Dance, independent choreographer), and Helen Wilson (founder of Rise Youth Dance company), were also present; whilst Lucy Suggate had written a survival letter for Karla Shacklock to share, an invitation to “insane curiosity”, grit and determination.
We took part in a general conversation, a blessing, inspiring and revitalizing. A spring of trust surged. We made our days through building up our own little manifestos, mixing up each other’s tips, doubts, honesty, wonder, wisdom, excitements, ambitions, mistakes and commitment.
And I left thinking: there is everything to learn and everything to question, it starts with trust within and amongst each other, and finally, I’d be most interested in what a manifesto from the Next Choreographers would look like. Something to merge between our weekly book of words and our intention to challenge potentiality. Hence why I wanted to share this event.
Likewise, the first month of Next Choreography has already proved to be our place to think out of the box, through the questioning and reflecting, the genuineness of our being there and the variety of performances and people to meet.
Just a month.