I see this map nearly everyday and on the way back from Next Choreography. It always stood out to me because it is so short and uncomplicated compared to the other tube maps. I’m not sure why, but today it reminded me of the improvisation scores we created last week (1/12/16) at NC.
Just to clarify, a score could be any rule or structure used in improv, for example you can’t stop moving. We decided it would be a good idea to create a score where all the dancers either had to be in eye contact with one other dancer or have their eyes shut, easier said than done, that’s for sure. We had more than one score, just to complicate things – like laughing if you heard someone else laugh or trying to go up or down at the same time as the other dancers (very difficult with your eyes shut.)
Going back to the image, the white circles with the line between the two for some reason, reminded me of trying to dance with my eyes shut and blindly searching for someone to make eye contact with. When dancing, we somehow had a sense of where we were going and how to get to each other, without the need for vision.
Thank you Seke for the eye-opening session, hope you feel better Amy !
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.
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.
The twin-title “Golden Hours” or “As You Like It” portrays a theatre play in dance. A meeting of a comedy by Shakespeare – one about an ideal world of the Forest of Arden into which lovers ran away from a corrupt court – and the 1975 album “Another Green World” by the musician Brian Eno. Right from the start we begin with two strong and powerful artistic references.
Lines by Shakespeare were projected in the background and the choreography was a negotiation of a concrete idea and its abstraction. Gestures and lyrical movement is quite a rare happening in De Keermaeker’s work. Along with the choice of this specific album from Eno, which is linked to pop music rather than with the minimalism one typically finds in De Keermaeker’s performances soundtracks.
The cast dance their complex entanglements thoroughly, containing disguised games of seduction, aversion, misunderstanding and foolishness. One is consumed by the depth and desire of a luminous but smoothly ironic world, whose language doesn’t need translation to be grasped, yet isn’t exactly mimed.
The song “Golden Hours” starts playing and eleven dancers walk in a hypnotic slow motion on Sadlers’ Wells main stage in an agglomerate facing the audience. The sportive outfit of the cast features within an absent setting with only a white spotlight above them. I found this scene to be one of the most absorbing images not only in this piece but also in the performance world.
The greatest part of the two hours performance was in complete silence. A call out for very intriguing issues from nowadays society emerged. And this issues could be, for instance, the concentration capacity of a person, the time spent observing artwork and performances lengths’ standards. On one hand, the choreographer offers the audience an opportunity for a meaningful reflection on Time. However, it might not been felt the same way by everyone, as some walk-outs from the audience would indicate. And so, perhaps, some also simply stayed from a sense obligation.
This work then brings up the question of Time and how people deal with it. It was not just a challenge for the audience but also a very ambitious attempt for the choreographer, abstracting a Shakespeare text into a silent score for dance.
Time passed very slowly in Golden Hours and title met De Keersmaeker’ intentions perfectly.
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.
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!