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Hands

‘Hands’ is a short dance film that can also be performed live with real-time projection. The work explores dialogue and form through hand gestures that reach, curve, invite and retreat. Hands is a soliloquy about loneliness and longing, drawn out through a dialogue between the artist’s right and left hands.

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The Elephant in the Room

Last night I watched / played / participated in what is undoubtedly the best immersive theatre work I have ever come across: The Justice Syndicate at Battersea Arts Centre. In brief, 12 audience members sit around a table as ‘jurors’ and proceed to review evidence in a case, discuss their thoughts and then go on to cast their vote of “Guilty” or “Not-Guilty”. Apart from highlighting the flaws in the judicial system (or are they flaws?) the work brings to the fore the nature of decision making itself, and especially the dynamics of decision making within a group of people. At the end of the performance the neurologist, who advised…

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Not Knowing

Over the last couple of months I have committed myself to a weekly solo practice session. I spend three hours per week alone in the small studio at Chisenhale Dance Space. As you walk into the reception a sign-in sheet asks you to tick off why you’re using the space: Rehearsal, Workshop, Performance etc. Somehow I find it hard to tick the ‘rehearsal’ box, because I don’t feel as though I’m rehearsing. The word ‘rehearsal’ suggests something known, linear, attainable. But when I walk into the space I never feel that I “know”. Instead I feel immersed into a constant inner dialogue of self-doubt, frustration, boredom. When you’re on your…

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Play

It’s apt that the two buildings I have worked creatively out of this week, are surrounded by the sound of children playing. It’s an appropriate sound track to creative practice, the sound of play, messy, loud, unintelligable and yet distinct in its cocophony. For school children play is a moment of relief, where the urge to move, to imagine, to role play, to create, is finally allowed freedom to express itself. And, importantly, this expression is unstructured and messy and you probably wouldn’t pay to sit and watch it. Is it the money, and the expectations that come with it, that turns creativity into work, or is it just the…

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Outwarding

Today is the final day of my residency at Dance City in Newcastle. Well, technically it’s “tomorrow” because I’m cheating and writing this a day earlier to save time for the looming deadline of Friday’s “sharing”. In Hink’s Five Facets model of creative processes, Assaying is followed by Articulating. ‘Articulating’ is the stage where the work becomes known, established, defined. But it simply doesn’t feel right to suggest that this is where I’m at. It feels impossible to know what a work is until it’s been “seen”. Which is why I’m skipping to Outwarding and placing Articulating aside for the final evaluation. I normally find sharings more terrifying than performances.…

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Assaying

Days 3 and 4 at Dance City for Creative Summer. Today was about Assaying. From Google: verb gerund or present participle: assaying 1. determine the content or quality of (a metal or ore). “the man who assayed gold was more than a technician” 2. archaic attempt. “I assayed a little joke of mine on him” Day 3 was about Attempting / Determining. I had to let go of my judgement of the movement material and just try (attempt) to find out (determine) what kind of thing this work could be. What kind of shape it might have. Josiah Hinks writes: In Assaying there are processes of probing, questioning, and detailed exploration…

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Raising

Whilst walking down the hill towards Dance City this morning, it occurred to me how the creative process is a lot like gardening. I was chatting to Andrew, who’s putting me up for the week, talking about his allotments and about learning to trust in the process of growth. I think that the availability of…

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Delving

Today was my first day of Residency at Dance City in Newcastle. Once again, I’m developing ‘Fold’, or some iteration of it. Working solo has become a natural thing for me. As has schlepping around a whole suitcase packed with projector, laptop, computer, tripod, cameras, a lot of postcards and other miscellaneous gadgets. Whilst preparing for this residency, I recalled an idea that Andrew Morrish taught during his solo improvisation workshop: if you build your own architecture in the space, then you’re not alone. By architecture he meant both real and imagined props, prompts, ideas that hang in the space with you. Frames? So far, ‘Fold’ has been a visual…

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The Virtuosity of Paying Attention

Have you ever played with a child? I mean spent time with them building castles that are never completed? Repeatedly banged out the same tune, because each turn never stops being highly amusing to them. Children have an innate ability to just play, not to find the meaning of things, but to explore the pleasure, run with it a while and then change, move on, let go. It’s highly frustrating for an adult, because we’re so used to seeing the end game, or seeing the point of it all. I know I am. The resounding impact of a 3 day workshop with the improvisation performer Andrew Morrish, was this realisation:…

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Being a little more brave

This week has been a very sad one. On Monday 16th October, Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist, was assassinated by a car bomb. Whilst I bare the same surname, she was only a distant relative. I think I only ever met her once. However her work was followed by everyone on the island. Her horrific…

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