Young Artists' Advisory Group

Wallace Collection Late

📷 Original image from BNF Paris (French National Library)

Engraving by Francois Boucher after Antoine Watteau, ​Woman on swing seen from the back, 1728


On the warm evening of 20 April, I had the chance to facilitate a workshop during the Late event of the Wallace Collection in Marylebone.

The specific theme of the night was Europe : A Bridge to the Continent. All the activities and performances were bearing a connection with Europe, which mirrored the collection.


I soon came up with the idea of a creative writing activity. I have had a keen interest in linguistics for a long time and learning new words is a constant thrill and one of my most enjoyed mental food.

I also wanted to offer an activity where participants would feel free to write whatever was coming through their pencil and from where they would leave with something: a new word, but also hopefully a little sense of thrill and calm after a few minutes of simply indulging into writing.

The event took place in the landing of the gallery’s staircase, within a striking architecture and bathing into a soft light.


The activity was based on European words with no direct translation into English (around 50). The participants were invited to pick a paper where a word – in one of the many languages from Europe – was written. From there, they could create a personal piece of writing. The words were written vertically so that the participant could write an acrostic – where each letter of one word forms one letter of each line.

This allowed the merging of words from other European languages with English words. The choice of acrostics is the reason why the workshop was called Am Stram Gram Pic & Pic Acrostic, which is a play on words in France, just like Eenie Meenie Miney Mo.











Also, I had displayed cards with details of works of art from the Wallace Collection, from which the participants could draw inspiration, if necessary.

I was grateful to present the activity with my friend Kelly Roberts, who is a drama facilitator, spoken words artist, poet and part of the Shut Down Collective. She shares the same passion for words as I do and is always keen to engage in workshops that bring people into a creative zone.

We were lucky to receive so many responses and eager to read each of them. It was indeed a beautiful sight when people were unfolding their paper, discovering the word, having a seat and taking the time and the headspace to compose, pouring their ideas and then being open to share it with us.

The pieces were displayed throughout the evening on a screen and I have been collecting all of them into a book. I am currently finalizing the editing.

📖 Coming up soon!

I am also hoping to facilitate this activity again in another context, gathering a variety of written pieces and sharing a privileged moment of creativity.

Finally, I  would simply like to thank Nancy Ncube (L&P producer of SDD) for her constant support and her attention to my project, as well as Rosemary Cronin (artist and curator of the event) for her feedback and for offering me a chance to share my practice.


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Last week, I randomly came across a French movie by Agnes Varda, from 1975. I found some aesthetic and conceptual qualities close to my interests in choreography, which is why I wish to share it on our blog.

Daguerreotypes is a series of intimate portraits of the shopkeepers from the Rue Daguerre in Paris, where Agnes Varda used to live in the 70s. The pun in the title emphasises the unicity and at the same time typicality of each person introduced in the movie.

We first get acquainted with Mrs and Mr “Chardon Bleu”, so called after the name of their haberdashery and perfume shop, open since 1933. The contemplative attitude of Mrs Chardon Bleu conjugates with the quietness of the place, lost in repeated and desperately resembling days. We then meet the hairdressers, the butcher and his wife and daughter, the grocer and his son, the plumber, the baker, the concierge,…



Rue Daguerre. Paris



The daguerreotype process was invented in France and was the first practicable method of obtaining permanent images. Using a silver-plated copper sheet primarily polished and fumed to make it light sensitive, the surface would be exposed in a camera and chemically treated, rinsed and dried. The resulting image would be sealed behind glass in a protective enclosure, appearing either positive or negative, depending on the viewing angle and on the light. Daguerreotypes were very delicate and fragile objects, but also unique, due to their irreproducibility.


Ms Chardon Bleu



Likewise, each portrait in Varda’s movie is intrinsically individualised. The composure and focus of each craft as well as the consideration of the light and the decisive camera angles mirror the daguerreotypes’ characteristics.

In the first phrase, the artisans are filmed during the opening and closing of their shops, choreographed by their duties, in their casual conversations and regular activities. Soon the movie offers a repertoire of gestures. These appear as if natural and inherent to the bodies, through reiteration and practice. Each person then speaks facing camera about where they come from and when they arrived in Paris, their voices and accents adding another nuance and depth to the portraits.

In the second phrase, we are introduced to the prestidigitator Mystag, having a show in the café down the street. Each trick visually coincides with the recorded motions of the hands and tools of the shopkeepers. In an allegorical way, the dramatic tone of the magician narrating these movements lead to the glorification and highlighting of their expertise and their value for the neighbourhood.

By the end of the movie, Varda slowly unfolds a sequence of fixed traditional portraits, overtly absorbing the quality of daguerreotypes and merging all the layers which repeated actions can bring to expressions, bodies and faces.

Ultimately, this movie felt like a popular tale, based on a resolute attention to simple daily gestures and a musing pace, which triggered my interest the most.

I would be keen to probe these aspects, in the same way as Varda, calling herself a daguerreotypesse



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Young Artists Feedback Forum: interview with choreographer Charlotte Mclean

The third in this series of interviews leading up to the Young Artists Feedback Forum! I spoke to Charlotte Mclean about her work in progress And, , in which she thinks and moves through the relationship between contemporary dance and physical theatre.



Thank you to Charlotte for agreeing to the interview! The Young Artists Feedback Forum is taking place on 5th March 2017, from 5-7PM, at Siobhan Davies Dance London, and it is organized by the Young Artists Advisory Group.  Come to see and feedback on exciting new works by young choreographers! £3 on the door and the bar will be open.

Facebook event here:

And more information here:



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Young Artists Feedback Forum: interview with choreographers Jay Yule & Tommy Cattin

This is the fourth and last interview I conducted with choreographers who will be showing their work at the Young Artists Feedback Forum this Sunday, 5th March.

A relationship between two people, in close proximity, how do they negotiate each other?

I spoke to Jay Yule and Tommy Cattin about their work in progress Sorry Flowers Die, in which the two of them deal with questions around closeness and honesty, while using only one word spoken out loud – ‘sorry’.



Thank you to Jay & Tommy! To see and give feedback on their work, come join us at Siobhan Davies Dance London on 5th March, 5-7PM. £3 on the door, and the bar will be open!

Find the Facebook event here:

& more information here:

This event was organized by the Young Artists Advisory Group! To find out more about us:



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Young Artists Feedback Forum: interview with choreographers Amy Cartwright & Erica Moshman

Leading up to the Young Artists Feedback Forum on Sunday 5th March, organized by the Young Artists Advisory Group, I wanted to talk some more to the choreographers who will be showing their works in progress, and find out about the ideas behind their work and the process of making it.

Can technology and the human body co-exist and move successfully in a shared live performance space?

The second in this series of interviews is with Amy Cartwright & Erica Moshman, on their piece As Yet Untitled, which combines computational choreography with live movement and questions the nature of the interaction between the two.


Thank you to Amy & Erica! Join us on Sunday 5th March at Siobhan Davies Dance London to see and feedback on their work, and on other exciting new works by young choreographers. From 5-7PM, £3 on the door, and the bar will be open.
Facebook event:
More info here:

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Young Artists Feedback Forum: interview with choreographer Charis Taplin

Our Young Artists Feedback Forum is coming up soon! In the run up to the event on Sunday 5th, I wanted to talk some more to the choreographers who will be showing works in progress, about the ideas in the works and the process of working on them.

The first in the series of interviews is with choreographer Charis Taplin, on her work in progress Pointy Shoes Make Me Cry.

In your application for the Young Artists Feedback Forum (YAFF), you mentioned three choreographers which you reference in this work – Pina Bausch, Yvonne Rainer, and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. How do you negotiate their influence on your work, has it been easy or difficult to find your own way of moving? And is it important to you that people get the references?

I’d say the choreographers who I’ve been inspired by have definitely influenced my own way of moving. However I’ve tried to reflect the concepts behind their choreography rather than the actual choreography itself- for example I’m using pedestrian movement and elements of dance theatre. These are three choreographers I admire so much in general, so it is really hard not to imitate, and to come up with my own ideas rather than just translating theirs’. As for whether it’s necessary for the audience to understand the influences, again it’s a balance- I want them to see the concepts and styles but hopefully they won’t they feel they’ve watched the choreography before.

How do you feel about these practitioners’ representations of gender?

I think gender performance is key to Bausch’s work, both the process behind it and the exhaustion produced by it (I also feel this sense of exhaustion from the constant facade and contouring of behaviour is at the heart of Rosas danst Rosas.) The exploration of gender and gender performance in Rainer’s work really fascinates me. It would be easy to say that because Rainer is opting for neutrality in her performance she’s opting for gender neutrality, but this is part of the huge debate over whether gender neutrality is really achievable, or whether it’s just another performance subverting a pre-existing binary.

Was there a specific personal experience that led you to want to make this piece?

A lot of the piece isn’t influenced by specific experiences, but by patterns I’ve spotted in my life to do with being a dancer, being gay, watching my body and my ways of taking up space changing alongside my training in contemporary and classical technique.  More specific experiences would be when I read about a trans guy who said he felt most validated in his gender not when he passes successfully or wears men’s clothes, but when he’s shopping in the supermarket-  just existing. That was a real breakthrough moment in my thinking. Seeing my first live drag act was also very inspiring. I think drag performance has a sense of total embodiment and transformation that all performers- especially dancers- aspire to.

Thank you to Charis for sharing her thoughts! <3  Questions by Katharina Joy Book.

Join us this Sunday at Siobhan Davies Dance London to see and feedback on exciting new works by selected young choreographers. From 5-730PM, 3 pounds cash on the door, and the bar will be open.


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Welcome to the YAAG blog!

Hello! I’m Claudia, a member of the Young Artists’ Advisory Group and a placement student at Siobhan Davies Dance from the University of Surrey. I have worked with Siobhan Davies Dance since September, and I will be for a few more months, to then go back to university for my final year.

My very first encounter with the Young Artists Advisory Group involved minuting the first YAAG meeting of the year. My fingers never moved that fast since I last played the piano years ago – so much the Young Artists had to say!

The Young Artists Advisory Group has been created as a continuation of the Next Choreography course, and it is now formed of two generations of ‘graduates’ from Next Choreography plus a couple of Young Artists who approached Siobhan Davies Dance through other projects.

If I had to describe what the group is in one word, I would say EXCHANGE, be it between the members or between the group and the organization. Siobhan Davies Dance provides the Young Artists with a space for sharing ideas, offers them opportunities and supports them in their professional development, while the group offers an insight into the needs, ideas and expectations of Young People who aspire to develop a career within the arts.

As a Dance student myself who is hoping to find a place in the dance industry, and who is also working with Siobhan Davies Dance for a few months (work placement), I can say that I sit on both sides of the group at the same time. From this unique position I have the opportunity to witness how much the two parts benefit from each other. And this is, I would say, the main reason why I have decided to work with this group for my main placement project and look at how YAAG can develop in the future – and the SDD’s Youth programme, reflecting on that.

YAAG is now doing a big step: organize the first Young Artists Feedback Forum! The event, curated by the group members with the support of Siobhan Davies Dance, will take place on Sunday 5th March. First tested at last year’s Next Choreography Festival, the Feedback Forum will see Young Choreographers present their work in-progress and get feedback from the audience in a supportive environment, using the Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process.

I am really excited about putting up our first YAAG event, as I am sure all the other members are! At the moment, young choreographers are applying to share their works in-progress; applications are open until the 25th January. Follow this space for updates on how the event planning proceeds, and to find out more about the Young Artists Advisory Group and its members!

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