Posts Tagged: Next Choreography Festival

Next Choreography Festival Rehearsals – With Martin Hargreaves

The NC festival rehearsals are in full swing, with only 3 weeks to go ! We have be running all over the Siobhan Davies building: from dancing in the lift, the changing rooms, the parlour and even outside in the court yard (let’s be grateful for the sunny weather over the past few days !). The Festival is looking to be a busy day, with a huge variety of choreographic pieces, art work, soundscapes and installations. The audience will also be welcomed to get involved with a workshop and several participatory pieces.

The NC cohort have also been working on an ensemble piece with guest artist Martin Hargreaves. This is focussing on the principle ideas of Signature, Theft & Translation and to what extent are these possibilities or what happens when we use these ideas within dance or choreography. Martin asked us to all devise a short phrase of movement, words or drawing which represented each of these words. Surprisingly, the greatest challenge for us as we approached this task was defining these words. Many of us soon realised that our personal ‘signature’  within movement, is perhaps also theft; we acquire gestures and habits from others and subconsciously are always ‘stealing’ –  we can never dance in a vacuum, as such. ‘Translation’ we decided felt less intentional or destructive than ‘Theft’, which to us symbolised taking movement or art that isn’t ours. Not simply copying, but also claiming ownership of it. Problems surrounding cultural appropriation were also stirred up with the idea of ‘Theft’ and how certain dance styles become appropriated by the mainstream media, with little regard to the original origins. Subsequent to devising our individual three pieces, we then worked in groups to combine our work. This lead to even more layers of watching other groups, recreating, remembering and recollecting their work, until we had several ‘meta’ works, all of which are intricate copies, translations and memories of other people’s work. And yes, it made our brains ache too when we did it!

The NC team have one more rehearsal with Martin this thursday before the dress run in two weeks time. I am interested to see how the piece will be finished, and if there are any more layers can add to the piece. By it’s nature, the spontaneity of the piece is a key element, so I am hoping that it won’t be a ‘finished’ or ‘polished’ piece as such, but rather a continuous exploration, even on the day itself.

If you’re keen to see this work, or simply have a passion for creativity, dance and community make sure you come to the NC Festival on Sunday 9th July at Siobhan Davies Dance.

Look forward to seeing you there !

Thank you,

Stella

Photo by Gorm Ashurst

Photo by Gorm Ashurst

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Jerome Bel – Gala 18/10/16

Gala Cast
Gala Cast

Colourful, fun – Gala (Photo Josefina Tommasi)

 

On a cold, dark autumn night, Next Choreography had their spirits lightened by Jerome Bel’s ‘Gala’ – performed at Sadler’s Wells. It certainly wasn’t your average Tuesday evening – with wacky vibrant costumes, uplifting music and light hearted humour; Bell explores the individuality of dance, stereotypes within dance, whilst also celebrating the sheer pleasure dance can bring all of us. Despite the chaos that appeared to be unfolding on stage, it is clear that the cast were meticulously selected to ensure a perfectly diverse array of dancers (and non-dancers) – from the bounding ballerina to a sassy six year old to an old man with braces and a surprising sense of rhythm.

Opening the show was a series of images of different types of stages – puppet show, amphitheatre, West End theatre- you name it, the lot; although I did begin to think the whole show could just be pictures which made me die a little inside with boredom, when the show began to unfold it related well to the message on stage – everyone has their own way of doing things, every one has their own stage, everyone has their own talent, no-one is right or wrong, no talent is better than another talent.

Highlights of the show included when the entire cast all swapped costumes, watching a 70 year old man tying to copying a six year old dancing to Miley Cyrus and everyone’s interesting attempts to Moon Walk like Michael Jackson. The show was precisely timed so the audience were just on the brink of boredom before the section changed suddenly. It was both predictable and exciting at the same time – who would the cast copy next, what style will they do this time ? The most poignant moment was also when a young disabled dancer stood up out of his wheelchair, although this also made me feel a bit uncomfortable – was it incredibly patronising to him when the audience applauded and whooped? This is where I am left very uncertain, and many questions hang over my head such as; why is it acceptable to laugh at some of the dancers but not others? How do you choose a diverse cast, what do you look for ? How much of the show was actually choreographed, how much was improvisation? If it is choreography, is it the true style of the performers ? Inspired by the pictures at the beginning I was left wondering how different would this show be on another stage- I am sure if it was in a hall it would definitely look like a wedding reception with all the family dancing.

Overall this show did truly perk-up my week and most importantly made me want to get up dance ! It would be great to see again but with a different cast, and new a set of talents.

Stella
x

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Next Choreography Festival Film

On the 3rd July, Siobhan Davies Dance hosted the Next Choreography Festival, which celebrated the achievements of young artists and choreographers from Next Choreography and further afield. Each member of Next Choreography had a variety of responsibilities on the day to make sure that the festival ran smoothly; my main role was to document the day through film, in addition to performing with the other young dancers.

Having filmed a session a few months earlier, in which I captured the Next Choreography participants exploring the space using material objects (I wrote a blog post in February 2016 containing the YouTube link if you would like to see the finished film!), I hoped that I would get another chance to film at the Siobhan Davies Dance Studios. So when the opportunity arose for me to document the Festival day, I jumped at the chance!

I really enjoyed filming the day. Throughout the day I moved the camera from room to room, recording the workshop, talk or exhibition that was taking place inside. It was lovely to see how much people were enjoying the Festival, as there was so much on offer for audiences to look at and get involved with.

Probably the most difficult part of the process was editing the film after I had captured all of the footage of the Festival. There were so many interesting parts of the day to share! However, I hope the film does justice to the wonderful day that the Next Choreography participants and the Siobhan Davies Dance team managed to curate.

Take a look at the final montage video below!

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Process report from the independent project (II): Katharina

tripping on words to make movement – second session

In the second session, we started by making some poetry ourselves, thinking about placement of the words in space and the rhythms implied by that. We also considered the process of extracting/highlighting/choosing information, in making blackout poems. 

I handed out word cards, newspapers, black markers, and scissors, and these were some of the results – 

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(Stephanie)

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(Maisie)

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(Katharina)
IMG_8067

(Maisie)

and a dreamy video of the blacking out that Fran and Bethany were doing –

We found especially interesting Maisie’s approach, moving into the 3 dimensional, and Fran’s idea that a piece of text, divided into sections, could be understood in different ways according to the arrangement of the sections on the page.

We then took our cues from the reading+listening experiment we had done in the first session, and chose to try the following:

One of us would read a piece of text – we chose to use another one of Caroline Bergvall’s, and the reader ended up being myself – and the others would be assigned a semi-often occurring word each (in this example, the words were ‘point’, ‘close’ and ‘face’)  and a corresponding gesture. Whenever that word was heard, the gesture would be acted out. By doing this, we were trying to make visible the act of listening, and of processing information.

Here is an extract of the video documentation.

To perform this task was more difficult than expected, but we decided to go a step further:

The gestures would stay the same, but instead of a word, the performers would listen out for sounds – we chose

‘th’

‘r’ (we noticed that would be relatively easy to pick up on because I pronounce it a bit differently than the others, in American English)

and ‘p’.

We also used a different text: A page from Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, a novel well known for its close- to-complete incomprehensibility.

James Joyce, in Finnegans Wake as well as in Ulysses, plays around magnificently and irreverently with sounds, words, meanings, associations, insider jokes, and notions of counts as  intelligible and what doesn’t.

The fact that this was such an exhausting thing for listeners to act out was the crucial bit for me – I am really interested in that heightened state of paying attention and how the immersion and the struggle is made visible by embodying the process via gestures. I also consider this a live act of translation.

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Next Choreography Influence – looking back

The Next Choreography programme has helped me become more conscious on all levels: personally and professionally.

The first term to me felt mostly like a journey, where I was constantly questioning myself and what was around me. I started to read more, exploring new artists and works. I definitely understood that choreography is so much more than just dance movements put together in a sequence… I also learned about group awareness, new ways of exploring and creating movement and improvisation.

After January, everything started to finally sink in: all the new information and knowledge. However, I never stopped asking more questions. And possibly asking for harder and more abstract answers.
Having had the opportunity to meet and work with high profile artists was extremely valuable. You not only learn different perspectives of seeing things, creative approaches, but also get to know their career pathways and build connections.

I vividly recommend this programme to anyone interested in discovering more about movement, choreography, arts, bodies. And also, about yourselves and the ones around you.

I really look forward to the Next Choreography Festival on the 3rd July, see each other’s work and get feedback!

It is hard to believe how quickly time passed!

Maria

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Process report from the independent project: Katharina

tripping on language to make movement – starting point(s)

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 14.32.51

This was the mind map Stephanie and I ‘started’ with – having discussed, filtered, connected a lot of material before we even started the first session with Fran, Maisie, and Bethany.

We were trying to find out how our interests in gesture and body/text relations, respectively, could merge and play off each other – it was a process of figuring out how to name/ describe these inherent connections that we instinctively felt were there.

First session

Caroline Bergvall in her book of poems Fig: Goan Atom 2  plays beautifully with fragmentation, sounds, multilingualism, especially in her piece 16 Flowers.

Bergvall’s book was one of the first things the dancers became transfixed by in the examples of poetry I had brought to show them. We did a few experiments reading this piece of hers [extract]

vagrant rOse paths compressed
hover matin l’aRose in- Mers
a-glimp th ornful umineuse darKorolla
faint Fur st special irrésistible
Lansoft -goRous elovelash petals absorbed
smallred Vibrant lovegash pétales embedded
White throated flatfanned dressLash lovétale
PINkdraw -inGirls lovcrest pétalent Bedded

I was fascinated with the different ways each of us interpreted the ‘rules’ of this piece, and with the effort apparent in the reading of it. It felt to me like people were performing the task of poetry right in front of me.

I tried to further the relationship between the body and the process of comprehension in the listeners by asking the performers to tap a pen on a surface, making a sound, every time they thought they had heard and understood a word. (Bear in mind that it is harder to do when you don’t have the text in front of you.)

This required immense concentration on behalf of the listeners, and produced unexpectedly divergent results – people’s habits of understanding were not in sync at all.

The last part of this endeavor was to try and translate the text into gesture as we were listening – at which point, interestingly, performers sometimes made the same movements upon hearing a certain sound without having paid attention to what each other were doing. It looked like they were faking speaking sign language.

This is the edited recording of the readings and our reflections.

After this first session, Charlotte gave me her observations and, the points I found most useful to take on were:

To be more clear when giving instructions  – have clear in your own mind what the structure and plan is, and where there is space for deviation.
How do I make the relationship between body and text ‘readable’ (haa) to an audience?
In general, what is the audience experience? So communicating framework and context and thinking about relatability.
Since my project is so process-based, my role should be in guiding that process – so I should do more watching and responding to the performers responses – also keeping an eye out on who responds how to the exercises I propose.
Take the luxury to concentrate on one thing and investigate it deeply, rather than trying to do as much as possible in as little time as possible.

Especially for the audience related questions, the Young Artists Feedback Forum will be very useful – and the other points, about guiding a process, I think I will be still learning about for longer,  as I go and keep making work beyond this project.

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Independent projects in the making

This month five members of our group are leading their own independent choreographic projects which will be presented as work in progress sharings at our Next Choreography Festival on Sunday 3rd July. Tonight is the second session out of four and I can feel a beautiful humming concentration and activity spread across the building as each of the artists sets to work. For me as their course leader it is an exciting and slightly strange sensation to leave the responsibility and leadership of each process to those five people. I am so curious to see what work emerges and how they choose to investigate, develop and shape their ideas. Some are working towards live performative works which will be presented throughout the building, and others are composing a space/exhibition.

New work is emerging from a new generation of makers. This is the best bit!

 

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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 – Looking towards July 4th

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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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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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