Next Choreography 2014-15

Why do we like social media?

Here we are using a blog to talk about blogging and social media; why we use it and how we can use it well.

At the Next Choreography session last week we looked at our relationships as a user / audience of digital media and as an author.

Here we are using a blog to talk about blogging and social media; why we use it and how we can use it well.

At the Next Choreography session last week we looked at our relationships as a user / audience of digital media and as an author.

On average we look at our phones 40 times a day* to communicate with others, with mobile devises now the most popular way for young people to access the internet. Among the group we discussed our own digital use. Texting, snapchat, facebook and twitter were among the most popular and making a phone call at the bottom of the list.

As a user what attracts us to ‘follow’ and ‘like’ particular people and organisations? What do they ‘give’ us and why are they of interest?

Information, humour, news and inspiration were all described as reasons, along with the overwhelming desire to be in the know, to see things that aren’t usually on websites, the things that break with the ‘norm and give a sense of exclusivity such as behind the scenes photos from events.

The ’instant’ fix that digital media offers sees us constantly connected and aware of news as it breaks. In extreme cases audiences are waiting at the end of the phone for news and information from organisations.

Content that we are drawn to makes us ‘feel’ something, it gets a reaction from us and is memorable. The most successful pieces are talking points – content that bring us together to discuss what we’ve seen or read. The action of people coming together is another big draw for users, we want to be involved in discussion with our peers. Interesting online content creates a common-space for us to share, discuss, agree and disagree.

What should the most successful social media posts be? The exact content is down to the author but there are some tips and advice from media gurus such as Gary Vaynerchuk who says, ‘make it simple’, ’make is micro’ and ‘make it memorable’.

Next Choreography group will have a role in how their festival next year is marketed and using platforms like this blog will allow them to tell their story.

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Book of Words Session 11

After all the talking, thinking, reflecting, absorbing, I felt that it would be great for this week’s session of Next Choreography should focus more on doing – a glimpse into next term, and a physical drawing together of many elements from different sessions within this term.

We did things with eyes closed and ears open, ears closed and eyes open, eyes closed and touching, eyes closed walking backwards. In fact lots of walking backwards! Opening all the senses, opening the possibility of sensing through our backs. Drawing on our need for negotiation, co-operation, and peripheral vision. We composed short things and manipulated them, we put them organised ourselves through various different systems – we watched/experienced the system at work. I was reminded of Ruth Little, Lucy Cash and Charlie Morrissey all rolled into one! We took over the building in two wiggly lines moving backwards, and without realising it or planning, our activity became a performative experience for all of the audience members entering the building to attend the Crossing Borders talk. Quite lovely! I’m looking forward to all that next term might bring.

Here is our book of words for the session

Book of Words Session 11
Walking backwards in lines
Walking Backwards in lines
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What is a dramaturg? What is dramaturgy? – Ruth Little

Ping pong balls, Spirals, Shell from the beach, Energy, Argument, Order, Disorder, Repetition, Nature, Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Everywhere, Chaos, Simple rules, Pattern, Rearrange, Repeat.

Living organisms all function in the same way, we look for patterns and change of patterns. For example the change of pattern in our voice in conversation keeps the other participants interested.

Nothing is new! Even our dreams are a jumble of everything in our past experience.

Although I have definitely not got a deep and detailed grasp on what a dramaturg is, even brushing the surface of dramaturgy provides hours of exploration and realisation. From what I gathered in our session, the role of a dramaturg working in dance is to make sense of the movement. By looking for patterns, connections and relations to act as roots to bring work together in a greater understanding.

A dramaturg can work alongside a company, a director/choreographer to dig deeper into an idea.

The most interesting example I took from the session on dramaturgy was a picture of a huge tree with a massive trunk lots of branches and filled with green leaves. Underneath the picture showed all the roots spreading through the surface of the ground to a much wider proximity. The leaves and branches represent the finished work, and the roots represent the the research of the dramaturg.

Ruth Little’s session made me realise that anything and everything is related in day to day life. It’s fascinating how closely everything is related! I believe this is very inspiring when creating work.

tree roots
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Book of words Week 10

Jane Packham came to Next Choreography to open a whole world of social media, technology and communications. Are we ever off the hook? How often do you look at your phone each day? Could you live without it? Who do you follow and why? How can we tap into all of that online, connected possibility to help us generate broader and bigger audiences in the arts? Lots of questions.

This was our book of words from the session.

Book of Words session 10
Communications session, week 10
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Art and Science…

What an interesting few weeks it’s been with Next Choreography, since joining the group in week 7 I’ve been on a wonderful journey with them exploring live performance, cross art form connections, universal inter-relatedness and the all consuming craze of social media….

Here is a photo of Next Choreography participants during the session with Dramaturg Ruth Little.



I found her talk to be very inspiring and know I wasn’t alone when after the session I was left thinking about all the ‘possibilities’ within arts making. Something she said which has been whirring around my mind is that there is strong link between art and science, both mediums explore the universe and what’s in it, but scientists tend to follow a methodology, and artists follow intuition.

Let that be a lesson learnt. Take risks. Experiment. Explore. For even when we fail, we are rewarded by the chance we took as we learn how to do things differently…


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Dramaturgy is…

We’ve had a bit of a star studded term really, including sessions from Siobhan Davies, Charlie Morrissey, Lucy Cash and most recently Ruth Little. We’ve been to see Mirror City at the Hayward Gallery where we were lucky enough to be introduced to the exhibition by Frank Bock, and a couple of weeks ago we saw Jasmin Vardimon Company at Sadlers Wells. Tonight marketing expert, Jane Packham is coming to share some of her wisdom with us, and the first term of Next Choreography will end with a trip to the South Bank to see Candoco.

I want to share a few insights that I gleaned last week about dramaturgy from Ruth Little. Ruth has worked as a dramaturg for theatre and dance companies and with artists across the UK and internationally for over 15 years. Her approach to dramaturgy draws on the sciences of chaos and complexity and on the dynamic structures and processes of living systems. She currently works closely with Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui amongst many other artists.

So, a brief summation of some (but by no means all) of my notes

Dramaturgy is something that you ‘do’ not something that you ‘are’.
Dramaturgy is the relationship between movement and meaning.
Dramaturgy looks for patterns, looks for moments of changes, looks for possible meanings and impossible meanings.
Dramaturgy keeps the questions of the work alive.
Dramaturgy keeps feeding the questions that keep the work alive.
Dramaturgy keeps the flow of ideas flowing. It is an enabling role that believes in liquid networks.
Dramaturgy is a way of thinking.
Dramaturgy is ecological thinking (systems thinking) – small tip: if you say this to anyone who you’ve not met before, who doesn’t know anything about dramaturgy, then perhaps dash away after making this statement…it can take a while to explain fully and that is quite tiring!

Creative processes can’t be short-circuited: sitting with problems and watching the system is really important (though not always a comfortable experience).

Energy within any system dissipates over time – it’s no surprise then that things fizzle out – quite re-assuring really…

Thank you Ruth as always for sharing your huge breadth of knowledge and curiosity. Inspiring stuff.

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Working away

Last week was week 7 – are first week back after half term and the first time we were together without a guest artist or a visit since 30th September, so it seemed like a good moment to see where we’d got to. We made lots of maps – collective brain storming around Next Choreography so far. We talked about the things which have stayed with us/inspired us, and the things which have been difficult or challenging. We talk a lot about pressure – what happens when we feel under pressure, when we put ourselves under pressure, when our head gets in the way of our bodies being able to respond fully. We realised that we all share in this struggle at particular moments – it was comforting to share it! And then after all the map making and all the talking, in pairs, the Next Choreography group all created a response to something that had come up during the session. Everyone presented something. Everyone used their bodies, everyone had a clear strong idea that they decided to work with, everyone was able to work quickly. We surprised ourselves. I have a feeling that all the map making, visualising connections and relationships, sharing of experiences and thoughts etc helped produce the fertile ground for this quick, effective work that happened. Let’s try for more of that! This week we are off to Sadler’s Wells to see PARK by Jasmin Vardimon

A frame full of people - inspired by the Lucy Cash session

putting us in place

maps maps maps

maps maps maps

dancing over the maps

dancing over the maps

Map making exercise

working with the maps

Map making 3

Map making 3

Map making 2

Map making 2

Map Making 1

Map Making 1

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