May 2018 | Catching Up
Updated: Jul 4, 2018
The title of this blog reflects the nature of its contents over a month’s worth of work but also the time in which I’ve found to write and upload it… There will be a blog a month, on time eventually if I have anything to do with it (everything to do with it).
May has been an absolute blast as I look back on it. I’m considering this to be the first month where I’m a little more set up and fully engaged in the community and all the projects I’m involved in. Having patience, motivation and giving myself time as I make more connections around me has paid off this month – I’m continually establishing myself in the area, but work this month has shown that people know I’m here, ready to offer energy and creativity in dance projects.
The most exciting bonus of the month was being back in rehearsals ready for performing in MÓTUS dance festival in June; You, Me: Dance. I was contracted to perform in the professional commission of the festival, Surprise, choreographed by Chris Bradley-Goodship, with dramaturgy from Miranda Laurence. Four days of creation and rehearsals were welcomed with open arms; I loved the opportunity to be back in the studio, working with a group of fantastic artists to create a frankly mad and hilarious piece in celebration of the Queen’s birthday, based on a Mad Hatter’s tea party of regal-ness. We were presented with a rather large purpose-built throne (designed and constructed by Jessica Rost), to explore and play with, as well as the introduction of character to go to town on – the result is a fun, vibrant piece that will engage all at the festival.
I also signed up to another performance opportunity with MÓTUS this month – when is one piece in a festival enough – whereby I took the rare chance to work closely with dance artists from Mark Bruce Company, to make a Macbeth-inspired piece in another four days of intense rehearsals. Having seen the company perform Macbeth at Stantonbury Theatre a mere couple of weeks before, I was excited to get stuck in to learning more about their creative process and challenging my body to another professional intensive. I have to admit I watched the piece thinking I would be able to immerse myself in the movement easily, and I wasn’t wrong, but I was shocked at the amount of detail that Mark Bruce’s movement vocabulary contains, and therefore have so much more respect for the company dancers after the experience of working closely with them. Jordi (Calpe Serrats) and Carina (Howard) lead the residency, offering their pearls of Mark Bruce wisdom and experience – this was an amazing challenge for my mind and body, as well as the opportunity to create a duet between the beautiful Isabel Álvarez and I. With an intimate rehearsal environment on offer, we were spoilt with a wealth of experience to draw upon and a choreography tailored to us, created in tremendous detail throughout. Then there was the excitingly simmering wait for the big weekend of dance festival goodness - amazing!
Images: Snapshots by Isabel Álvarez
Also in May, I have continued to develop my regular teaching role with the young people and adults of Kids in Action – this role is a challenge for me as things don’t always go to plan. It’s not a case of taking a session ready to deliver; I’m pushing my ability to think on my feet and adapt the plan dependent on the mood of the members on the day, but still wanting to offer engaging sessions each week. However, I am starting to feel a more relaxed atmosphere of trust in me from the groups and am enjoying working with each personality in the room which is encouraging.
Less of a teaching role, but my regular facilitation of Culture Plus sessions at Queensbury Academy have continued this month. We create a safe space for students to explore various art forms of their choice and encourage creativity and expression throughout. A couple of the students have wanted to dance with me each week too, which is a delight for me and a great opportunity to be able to show them the freedom as well as discipline that dance can offer.
The freelance side of my work certainly shone this month, as I made appearances leading workshops for MÓTUS’ youth dance platform Jump Start, a workshop and ‘meet the artist’ session in support of Full House’s Art Town, cover teaching at Coles Forsyth Dance Academy and Arts1, as well as more random but very entertaining job choreographing a couple’s first dance ahead of their wedding. I have also been working regularly with Grove Theatre in support of creating their upcoming new season brochure which has helped me to keep in contact with my marketing skills, and in addition, I have volunteered time to Expressions 1Vision as we create a new piece for performing in Hemel Hempstead churches.
Auditions and interviews have been a part of May too, (one of which I wasn't successful, but) obtaining two new roles that will be developing over the next year. I am joining a new collective of dance artists, EQ Dance Co, working with choreographer David West, and will be starting a new role as contemporary dance teacher for Phoenix Starr College in Luton in September – very exciting projects for me to look forward to and more news will follow as these roles develop.
Finally where would I be if I wasn’t engaging in professional development where possible. We have been treated across Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire this May and I have managed to see the following live performances: Mark Bruce Company performing Macbeth (as mentioned; a hauntingly gripping piece), Border Tales by Protein Dance (an enlightening and inquisitive work), and Laced Within Our Borders by NGYT (an invitingly honest new work by a local youth theatre/dance company). I was also fortunate to attend professional takeover classes at MK OU Dance Group led by Jason Boyle from 2Faced Dance Company and Stuart Waters.
Like I said, it’s started to feel like I’ve really hit the ground running and I have no intention of slowing down. With a catch up of May at its end, I am looking forward to more opportunities to dance and explore movement with upcoming projects as well as those that may still be to materialise.