Throughout Autumn 2017 I developed the project ‘James’ for HCA Dance students. The project involved the creation of a promenade performance of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, which was then performed at the Folly Arts Theatre, Hereford in December 2017.
All students received Aerial Dance Training. Each dancer had a specific character to play from the book and developed the characters using Laban’s movement analysis with this, as well as animal study. The dancers were very much involved in the choreographic process and were able to make creative choices throughout.
One dancer created an amazing puppet to represent the grasshopper and Claire Coache from Open Sky Productions worked with the students on their puppetry skills to enhance the performance further.
James was performed 4 times throughout the day in December 2017 to different audiences, including Primary Schools, Art College students and friends and family.
The Dancing Floor project brought ‘Dancing the world into being’ performances to Brechfa, as the sun set and The Globe in Hay in Autumn 2017. Both performances were well attended by the local community.
What has struck me most about the process of the Dancing Floor project is the commitment of individuals in the local community to the rehearsal and creation process of the dance and how Lyn Webster Wilde has managed to bring so, so many people together to create a magical and very special performance.
From performers, to choreographer, to singers, to musicians, to artists (for the masks) to photographers and filmmakers. Lyn brought us altogether to create two very special evenings for performers and audience members alike. Further performance will take place in Spring 2018.
You can read further about the Dancing Floor Project on Lyn Webster Wilde’s blog.
Since September 2016 I have been working with Author and Director Lyn Webster Wilde on developing a magical choreography for her Film ‘The Dancing Floor’.
On a monthly basis we have been meeting in Hay-on-Wye and inviting locals who are interested to move and take part in the project to join us in experimenting and creating movement material.
The choreography is based on a creation story from the Mabinogion and approaching the choreography I have taken much inspiration from Laban’s Movement Quality theories, Celtic symbols, Animal Study and Morris Dancing.
The participants have been introduced to 5 Rhythms as a means to warm-up, but also become aware of the different movement qualities that the various rhythms might hold. Much work has also been undertaken in introducing participants to the idea of using Complicite as a way of being in a space together and responding as a group rather than an individual.
For one rehearsal during the experimental phase we were fortunate enough to have an accordion player at hand, who accompanied the ‘Morris dance section’. This particular section although drawing on the ideas of a Morris dance, has been approached from a different angle also. Celtic symbols have been used as a starting point to create and develop the floor patterns that the six performers will use. The most complicated looking Celtic knots were performed today for the first time, with ease and to my absolute surprise without anybody walking into anybody else when transitioning between the various points of the knots – in fact the result was stunning and will definitely find its way into the end choreography.
I am interested in the Collaborative process and given the change in the skills set that employers will be looking for in 2020 it is essential for current students to have an experience and awareness of the collaborative process, not only in their own discipline, but outside of their area of expertise.
With this in mind I set up a Collaborative project for the first year BA(Hons) Performing Arts degree students with BA(hons) Short-Film Course leader Dan Haworth-Salter. His first year degree students and mine were asked to work collaboratively on a four week Induction project, which resulted in the creation of a multi-media performance ‘The essence of me’.
Digitopia was part of the ID Night series (created by the Courtyard and 2Faced Dance Company) – a platform for new and emerging local, national and international artists to showcase their work.
Please watch a short documentary about the collaborative process here: ‘Digitopia’
I am currently writing up my findings on this collaboration project for publication.