As part of the Young Arts Academy, a project for young people led by Barbican Centre, I choreographed a dance piece. Commissioned by Barbican, (UN)ONES was presented on the 10th May 2016 in the Fountain Room at the Barbican Centre, London UK.
(UN)ONES portrays how individuality can be suppressed in society. It shows a constant fight against conformity – From all of us, to all of us.
A group where one can stand out and reveal oneself. There are personal statements being presented: I am who I am, what I want to be and not what I am expected to.
I intended to convey my personal beliefs and ideas such as: gender equality; denial of social conventions and universal truths; the freedom of the being and one’s expression.
If you’d like to see the video recording of the performance, please click below!
(UN)ONES started to emerge from my inner will to fight conformity and to break through.
I knew I wanted a large group: 12 dancers so the sense of the society’s patterns could be emphasised. I also made sure I had an equal number: 6 female and male performers – gender equality. I looked for different individuals, with various backgrounds, and not just about their dance training, but cultural too. I ended up with dancers from Israel, Malta, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Malaysia and the UK.
I needed to have the soundtrack ready just before the rehearsals. Working in collaboration with a musician for a dance piece was really interesting. It was quite a challenge for me to find a mutual language we both could understand – but we did it! The soundtrack was composed and produced by Henry Bird, a third year student at The Guildhall Music&Drama School.
We had 2 days of rehearsals and, for the results I wanted to achieve, I had to condense quite a lot of information in a small period of time. However, we had a discussion in group about the theme of Individuality, how it can be suppressed in society and also about personal experiences. I believe that movement should come from an impulse of connection, from one’s truth. So the more the dancers could relate to the theme, the better they would embody it.
In addition, at least half of the members in the team didn’t know each other or had never worked together. Building group awareness was an extra task that I had to offer, encourage and which would be essential for the performance.
In terms of the creation of the movement, I worked in collaboration with the dancers. I had in mind the walking patterns, the intentions, the ups and downs in the narrative, etc. But I needed them to be them in this piece as much as possible. Therefore, they created their own solo and gestures that I directed afterwards.
The most challenging moment of this whole process to me was setting up the counts for each section and finding the most effective music cues. As this was *my first piece*, I realised loads of things to think about for a next time. But something that helped me from the start, was allowing myself to think that things change and that is alright. I might have had a pre-conceived idea, but once you have bodies in space, it’s pretty likely that you’ll have to adapt your thoughts to that reality. Questions and conflict come up and the interesting part of it is to solve them.
I worked with a brilliant cast, not just technically as dancers, but as people. I made very clear from the beginning that suggestions were more than welcome and we all helped each other. I also had the help of Kerry Nicholls during the rehaersals, a high profile choreographer, dance teacher and mentor. Kerry was a precious help and support from whom I learned significantly.
I’d like to mention how Next Choreography helped me grow, build up my curiosity and interest in seeing things from different perspectives. I felt I was confident enough to create this piece, take charge and actually start my future.