Next Choreography 2014-15: Sharing


In July we said a fond farewell to our lovely first cohort of the Next Choreography programme. It has been exciting to witness many big developments in their creative work and confidence over the last year and I wish them all well. Our final session together was a visit to the Barbican during that amazing Station to Station project, followed by a final discussion and then delicious dinner and drinks! It was brilliant!

In our final discussion, I asked everyone in the group to make one pledge/commitment to their on-going artistic practice over the next 6 months. And here they all are. Thank you all for a wonderful year, and good luck for everything that comes next!

Next Choreography 2014-15 End of Year Pledges
Amy M: To be constantly looking at things i.e processes, exhibitions and performances in a different light, and to continually ask myself questions specific to the the event but the process doesn’t have to be forced.
Emily G: To keep up my professional development, stay active, focused and curious and start making work with my friend/dance partner Leanne.
Elliot: To cross art forms when making work and to throw myself into new experiences as much as possible.
David: Teach 1 regular class, Dance 4 battles, Produce 2 works
Sasha: To find a regular dance class and go every week and also to make time to dance with friends.
Maddy: Push myself into other forms of art, rather than what I already know.
Sarah: To find a way to make everyone experience happiness through the arts!
Charlie: I will continue to question and follow the artistic roles of women.
Aura: I will keep on going!
Amy H: Put into action the ideas I’ve been working in on my project here so that they influence my discovery of a new urban landscape in Copenhagen. And to revive my Artist’s Way journey.

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Gearing up

Tomorrow is the finale of this first wonderful year of Next Choreography with our first Next Choreography Festival.  There will be performances, discussions, a writing seminar, a workshop, and installations. Plenty to get involved with and hopefully lots to feed your curiosity. The Next Choreography group will be hosting everything which is so exciting! It has been such a pleasure to work with this remarkable and thoughtful group all year and I wait with great anticipation to see what they all move on to next.

Tomorrow will be a celebration of the journey that they have travelled together and I hope that many of you can join us for some or all of the day. We start at 12noon with a writing seminar from dance critic, Sanjoy Roy and are open until 8.30pm – closing with Robbie Synge’s beautiful new work Douglas at 7pm. If you have not yet booked your ticket, then you still have time! BOOK HERE

Below are the last two weeks from our Book of Words.

Book of Words Term 3 Session 10
Book of Words Term 3 session 11
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Work in progress- Emily Robinson

Emily, along with her dancers from Roehampton University, is seen here presenting her work in progress to the rest of the Next Choreography group. Using the interesting architectural design of Siobhan Davies Studios staircase, the dancers perform across all 3 levels of the building.

Using the Liz Lerman Critical Response Process, Next Choreography participants fed back to Emily on her work as she continues to develop her performance piece during weekly rehearsals.

imageEmily will present her live performance work on Saturday 4th July at Next Choreography Festival – don’t miss it!!

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Work In Progress – Looking towards July 4th


As one of the Next Choreography participants who will be presenting their own work at the Next Choreography Festival on the 4th of July, I’m beginning to really appreciate the complexities of producing something worthwhile!

My exhibition will focus on the lack of female choreographers and creative artists in Britain, examining why we have so many young women in dance training, yet a glaring absence of female choreographers.

Over the next few weeks, I will be interviewing various inspirational women in the Arts, including Siobhan Davies and Jude Kelly and gaining an insight into how these women got to where they are. For me, the chance to create this work is hugely important as it is a subject I am very passionate about, and as a young woman who wants to be a Choreographer and Artistic Director, I aspire to emanate such figures.

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Lucy Cash – film curation

We had the absolute pleasure of welcoming filmmaker and curator, Lucy Cash back last week. As part of the Next Choreography Festival we are planning to screen a selection of films and Lucy is supporting the curation of that aspect of the festival.

Exciting, mind expanding conversations were teased out through the session and I left excited, curious, uplifted and hugely impressed by my wonderful Next Choreography group – they are AMAZING! (Like a proud mother!)

Here is our book of words for the week and a picture from the discussion.

Book of words 5th May


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Kate Coyne visit and festival planning

It was really lovely to welcome Siobhan Davies Dance staff member, Kate Coyne to join us for our session on 28th April. Another insight into the work of the organisation, another fascinating career to hear about. We look forward to welcoming other members of the Siobhan Davies team later in the term to hear about them and what their role is.

We also spent some time during this session imagining up some of the activities that might take place during the Next Choreography Festival on 4th July. There are so many options and possibilities, I’m curious to see where we end up!

Here is our book of words from the session.

Ibook of word 28th April

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Emma Gladstone on Dance Programming

Last night’s Next Choreography session provided us with an insight into dance programming by the Artistic Director of Dance Umbrella, Emma Gladstone. Bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and experience, she spoke about what influences her choices around selecting dance work, and how she curates a large scale dance festival.

One of the most interesting subjects she spoke of, was what aspects she looks for in work to deem it worthy of selection. They are:

Personal – is the artist exploring something of themselves in their work

Distinctive – what makes it stand out from other works

Brave – is the artist taking a risk, pursuing a new direction in dance making

Articulate – does the work succeed in communicating what the artists intention is

I very much enjoyed meeting Emma and listening to her honest and often amusing anecdotes of working in this area of dance – here is a photo of her with the group and our book of words in response to the session…

IMG_1337 IMG_1338
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Term 3 – Festival Planning

We’re back from the Easter break and had a really useful first session back starting to plan the Next Choreography Festival on 4th July. I was impressed and struck by the enthusiasm and energy that the whole group had to be fully involved devising the activities within the festival. It was clear to me what a strong sense of togetherness and community has developed between the group over the course of the last 8 months since the programme began.

Here’s our book of words for this week – it gives a good snapshot of that connectivity!

Book of Words sess 1 term 3


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monad [mon-ad, moh-nad]


 [mon-ad, moh-nad]

(in the metaphysics of Leibniz) an unextended, indivisible, and indestructible entity that is the basic or ultimate constituent of the universe and a microcosm of it.

‘Natural forces – wild energies – often have the capacity to frustrate representation. Our most precise descriptive language, mathematics, cannot fully account for or predict the flow of water down a stream, or the movements of a glacier or the turbulent rush of wind across uplands. Such actions behave in ways that are chaotic: they operate according to feedback systems of unresolvable delicacy and intricacy.

But nature also specialises in order and repetition. The fractal habits of certain landscapes, their tendencies to replicate their own forms at different scales and in different contexts: these can lead to a near-mystical sense of organistation to a place, as though it has been built out of a single repeating unit.’ (MacFarlane, 2007, p246)

This study of a certain form being the structural base for all nature is called monadism. For some Native American tribes, this form was the circle, seen in birds’ nests or the course of the stars. For others it was the rhomboid and parallelogram, and some the lozenge. Mathematician and biologist D’Arcy Wentworth proposed it was the spiral that was most ubiquitious throughout nature: in spiderwebs, seashells, the turns of a narwhal’s horn, the  pine-cone’s configuration of scales, and in the breaking sea wave. Vaughan Cornish was convinced it was the wave, and spent his life pursueing earthquakes, gales, whirlpools, sandstorms and snowdrifts. Ralph Bagnold spent decades studying sand dunes, and concluded: ”Instead of finding chaos and disorder. . .the observer never fails to be amazed at the simplicity of form, an exactitude of repetition and geometric order.” ( Bagnold, as cited in MacFarlane, 2007, p260)

Reading about this reminded me of our session back in the Autumn with Ruth Little where she, too, was teaching us about archetypal forms and patterns that exist in the universe, and how they occur in every scale. It is useful for me to remember that when creating, I can zoom in or pan out onto anything and this scrutiny/bigger picture can help me see something new.

She also talked about the chaos vs repetition that I mentioned in my first paragraph, but called it Rule 2 – ‘All Living systems move constantly between order and disorder’ and Rule 4 – ‘Nature repeats itself in its core forms.’ It was really inspiring that her philosphy to work was so inspired by ecology and the basic physics of the universe- very refreshing actually, to be reminded amongst all the techniques and theories and clutter that I’m learning in my training, that fundementally, everything is always in motion. The universe, full of energy, is constantly moving, the earth is moving, I am moving, the very matter is moving. I, and the work that spills out of me, will never stay the same. We are constantly moving forward. Thank God!

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