Our book of words from the first session back after half term. We looked back over the previous weeks – what have we covered? What have we learnt? What inspired us? What challenged us? We looked at all the connections and interconnections between the varied experiences that we’ve had so far. A good moment to take stock.
On the 21st of October Next Choreography ventured out on a trip: Mirror City – the Hayward Gallery. All the members of Next Choreography split up and went on their own exploration of this exhibition. The exhibition had a wide range of interesting work from live dance, to sculptures to dance film. For me personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and found it really inspiring. But I also loved seeing all the participants of Next Choreography have the chance to wonder around the gallery and watch them get inspired by the work that was there. It was brilliant to see everyone making notes so they could remember how inspired they were by the pieces and reading into the detail of what each artist had to say about their work.
For me personally, I was particularly interested in a dance film work presented by Butler and Mirza. I made notes on it in the gallery and did some more research on this work on the train home. Conveniently, that week I had a tutorial for the essay for my Performance and Technology (Dance Film) module. During this tutorial I spoke to my tutor about what I had seen in the gallery and my tutor strongly suggested I wrote about it for my essay. We created an essay question I could address using the work from the Hayward Gallery and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole research and writing process!
This is not the first time that Next Choreography has really helped me with my University work. It has also made me realise how important it is to keep involved in all mediums of art, not just dance. I am excited and lucky to have this opportunity to be inspired weekly, and I wait impatiently for next week!
A few weeks ago, I had the real pleasure of inviting filmmaker and artist, Lucy Cash to the studios to lead a session with the Next Choreography group. Across the precious 2 hours that we had with her, each person had the opportunity to compose an image with a collection of random objects. Each set of choices and organising system became the subject of our discussions and interest, and we found ourselves completely fascinated and absorbed by the responses, narratives and complex web of intuitive and conscious choreographic/compositional decisions we each made.
Lucy photographed each completed composition. Here they all are, in the order in which they were created.
Our session for Next Choreography this week took place at the Hayward Gallery to see the Mirror City Exhibition which is running for the next three months. Six dance pieces have been commissioned to be presented throughout the duration of the exhibition. The one we witnessed was nothing as I expected to be. Although the entwined, floor crawling, wrestling duet was very captivating at first I felt their movements and qualities became consistent. It began to fade into the background amongst all the other works calling to be examined and explored. It’s only now I realise, perhaps that was the intention of the choreographer, to create a piece which was alike in presentation to what surrounded it. This would then (and did) allow the public to observe and move on to the next one once satisfied that they’d grasped the concept, not needing to attend their attention to it, even if it’s still there. I guess it is natural for me as a dancer to want dance to invade the space and become a temporary main spectacle ( with an applause and bow at the end). In hindsight I am glad it challenged my preconceived idea, however, I will still argue that there could have been more of a build.
I really enjoyed exploring the whole exhibition by myself. The breadth of the works and complete multisensory experience could come across as too disjointed for some but it made me feel adventurous. I agreed with our facilitator, Charlotte, who said that in a way the exhibition may have fulfilled its purpose in portraying London, as London is a very diverse place. All the works were quite post-modernistic and avant-garde. What stood out the most for me, personally, is that an emotion ( even if very subtle) was evoked in me from each piece of work. Most memorable were the jumps from fear to excitement in dark rooms and windy roof tops.
I became completely entranced by a large concrete sculpture with grey circle platforms, rectangle pillars and a red arrow of which the description revealed a musical theatre group were to perform on, on specific days. Luckily they provided an audio version of their performance, infatuated with the music I stood there for longer than necessary, lost in my own imagination. It made me want to create!
We had the immense privilege of having Lucy Cash lead our session at Next Choreography last night. 2 hours literally whizzed by as we, one by one composed objects within a given space and then discussed, analysed, observed these objects building histories and narratives and responses in us and around us. The conversation moved athletically between ideas about process, organising strategies, performance, framing, exposure, and felt experience. We started to realise how much we cared about and were invested in this simple arrangement of random objects. Ideas, suggestions, and varying reactions pingpong-ed around the circle. We found ourselves recognising our own creative decision making processes, being surprised and shocked by the choices of others, but all with in a wonderful environment of generosity and exchange. What a wonderful time – thank you Lucy for weaving your way through the conversation so eloquently, and probing for words and articulacy from us. Thank you, Next Choreography for all your thought, intelligence, and enthusiasm. Excited! These are your fabulous words from last night.
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.
During our 4th week on the Next Choreography programme we were lucky enough to get an insight into Table of Contents – Siobhan Davies Dance live movement installation. This was led by Charlie Morrissey (one of the co-collaborators) and Siobhan Davies.
Even during the first 4 weeks of the Next Choreography programme I have learnt so much about myself, ways of being creative, my piers and working with my piers. While I enjoy letting my mind ponder and think deeper into what we have been exploring in Next Choreography, this week I was left fascinated! The opportunity to listen, watch and ask questions to artists who work in a way I have only recently discovered, was a blessing.
On the train home I let my mind absorb the large content of fascinating knowledge brought to our workshop by Charlie Morrissey and Siobhan Davies. My fascination really lies on ways of ‘performing’ or not performing to an audience, how the audience respond to that and the different angles of doing this. During the workshop I was lucky to experience a performance where I was made to feel like an active, rather than passive member of the audience. Through a topic I’m related to and interested in- the process from ape to human.
I decided that this way of breaking down or rearranging the hierarchy of the audience members and performers is something I have been inspired to explore! I am very excited to let this influence my work and explore it even deeper than we did in the workshop!
This week participants met Siobhan Davies & Charlie Morrissey to explore the processes behind Table of a Contents.
After the continuous writing task we completed it was interesting to find out how, although we had the same task, and similar projects, we wrote about them differently. We found it fascinating how the response of both of us was similar but we expressed them in contrasting ways: Elliot finding it difficult to write lots about the project, taking a laid back approach to it with a vague outcome. Whereas Sarah’s response was full of information, some relevent, some not so, but equally vague in terms of how she talked about the project. We found that two people can express similar emotions but in very different ways.
An exploration of walking
Finding a path
Leaving not even a trace
Constantly following a stranger
Discovering the old
Being watched, are we performing?
Were we performing?