Monday 14th May

Get ready to groove
— Alex Williams

You have been working with Arielle for many years now since you were both at school together, How has her creation processes evolved from the first time you worked together? 

I think Arielle's process evolves as she does, and as she discovers new experiences that shape her own artistic style. I have been lucky enough to develop as a dancer alongside her development as a choreographer. The opportunity to create a partnership with Arielle over a longer period of time, has both allowed us to experiment, creating a space that is open to new ideas and new explorative ways of creating material. As time has gone on Arielle's identity has grown, And with this growth her work has become an extension of her voice. 

What is your favourite work so far that you have performed for Arielle? 

I think I have a personal connection to all of the pieces Arielle creates, in many different ways. One of her works that I have a deeper connection to is 'Particle Fever'.  The piece went of such a big journey for all of us. With dress rehearsals and performances all year round, we performed the work countless times. The piece was selected to collaborate with artists from Central Saint Martins, to produce another version that involved set, new costumes, new lighting and a new energy. The piece had to deliver a fresh perspective with every new venue, and I think Arielle encouraged us to continue to explore within the work right up until our last performance. 

What do you believe to be the most important focuses in Arielle work for you to work with as a dancer? 

I think one of the main focuses that Arielle gets us to work with, is the connection with the audience. Each piece is a chance for us to create an atmosphere for the audience. To get them involved or thinking about creating an opinion of the work is our usual aim. Even though it's always great to dance for ourselves, Arielle's work requires a part of selflessness, to make sure we bring the audience on a journey as well as us experiencing a physical one. 

How does your relationship differ inside/outside the studio, or does it not?

I don't think our relationship differs much from the outside to the studio. We both like to have a lighthearted approach to creating material. We both have a mutual respect for when one of us is stressed, so I think we can both feel when the other needs to focus. But the relationship works well in the studio because we are comfortable having a conversation about the movement. For example, Arielle will give me a phrase of movement, I then add my own style to it, I'll ask her a few questions about dynamics of intention and then Arielle will go back and tweak it to match her idea. It's mostly a back and forth way of working till something feels right. If it doesn't feel right I'm usually the one in the group to say it - but that's how we work

As a dancer what do you look for in a choreographer to work with?

I think I look for a choreographer who listens to the voice of a dancer and works with their individual movement style. I think some choreographers use dancers as just bodies in space, but I like to feel that there's a part of me in the work. 

What are you most looking forward to with this upcoming creation process?

 The unknown, each piece is different and I like the idea that anything is possible with Arielle. I also always love the music - definitely usually something to groove to. 

If you could describe working with Arielle in three words what would they be?

Fresh, collaborative, (get ready to) Groove. 

 

Monday 7th May 

ARCHIVING MY FRIENDS

BY

INÊS ZINHO PINHEIRO

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This project arose from the idea of collecting videos of my friends dancing, since I sometimes see them dancing in a social context and wish to have recorded them and even try and embody their views. The idea of archive is approached through film and performance, using other bodies’ knowledge, transferring into my body and recording it. To accentuate this transference, I chose to ask my non-dancer friends to improvise for me, a dance trained and educated body.

I am interested in noticing what happens when I try to imitate my friends’ movements. I ask them to choose a song to dance to and to wear what makes them feel comfortable, in order to try to access their individuality and authentic way of being and moving, which is a very complicated request. Subsequently, I attempt to learn their ‘authentic’ way of moving. This is the point when I wonder about the role of identity and heritage in authentic behaviour. I ponder about what past experiences are being brought into each person’s movement and how much of this intangible heritage is affected by different cultures, education and other surrounding aspects. Additionally, the concept of authenticity will be challenged. Should anything performed by the non-dancers be considered authentic? This is a complex and subjective question, which in fact, tangles with a consequent question: Can the imitated movement performed by the dancer be considered authentic?

This transference of movements from one body to another is tackled as a translation process, where the adaptation of the initial movement to the dancer’s movement is allowed and sometimes even encouraged. So, in a way, individuality is included in the interpretation of the copied movement, which might entail a degree of authenticity. This liminal moment of translation became one of the main points of focus of this project. In the context of literary translations, transferability categories are contemplated in order to distinguish communicative equivalence between the original and the translated texts (Saule & Aisulu, 2014). Similarly, in this project, one is be able to observe and compare the original movement and the translation of that movement into another body.

There is a double way of archiving in this project, one through performance, which might be considered ephemeral, and the other through video, a more conventional way of archiving. The natural ephemeral quality of performance is restructured by the recording through video. Does the capacity of detecting authenticity change between watching a live performance or a filmed one? How do I translate in my own terms the information or movement produced by a non-dancer?   How much do I allow myself to accommodate and adapt the initial movement created by my friends to my body? What are the effects of translation on the authentic quality from the initial movements? These are some of the questions that might be raised while observing this archive of movements and translations, alongside questions relating to archiving heritage. Could each of these videos be considered a sample of each of these people’s intangible heritage? If so, why is it important to have them categorised and organised in this type of archive? Some of these last questions have been around since the end of the 20th century, when Western museums started being perceived differently, and as a consequence criticised (Lopez y Royo, 2002), and I am not aiming to find the answers through this project. Nonetheless, these are the sort of questions that helped me generate this work and that guided me into an endless research and analysis of the project.

Albert’s movement

Currently, Albert E. Dean (an artist) and I are organising a collaboration which embraces this project. We are thinking of ways of projecting the videos two at a time (one of participant next to my version of that dance) alongside portraits of each person involved in the project. Albert is in the process of painting a portrait of each person, and for that he asks everyone to bring an object they wish to be represented with, reconnecting to the idea of individuality. The idea of layered transference and translation is once again approached but this time through the medium of oil painting on canvas and other various materials.

My Version of Albert’s movement

This project will be accomplished alongside DD&A, a contemporary art organisation, since Albert is one of the founders of the organisation, as well as, one of the artists already involved. DD&A is aiming to manage innovative exhibitions with artists who are at the beginning of their careers and this project seems to belong to this kind of approach.

Bibliography

  • Lopez y Royo, A. (2002). South Asian dances in museums: culture, education and patronage in the diaspora, Dance in South Asia: New Approaches, Politics and Aesthetics Swarthmore College, Paper Published in Conference Proceedings.

  • Saule, B. & Aisulu, N.  (2014). Problems of translation theory and practice: original and translated text equivalence. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 119 – 123). Elsevier Ltd., Toronto.

FIND OUT MORE AND VIEW MORE VIDEOS AT: 

https://ineszinhop.wixsite.com/ineszp/archiving-my-friends

Monday 23rd April

SKETCHING TO STAGE - WHERE IT ALL STARTS

Associate Artist Max Nicholson-Lailey brings the 1940s era alive with his sketches for the beautifully constructed palette of costumes that will be coming soon for our latest production. Taking influence from male and female tailoring of the era each character will be easily defined in their own individual style and colour palette. 

 

 
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A Whole lot of trust is involved
— Bryony Harrison on transitioning into Rehearsal Director

Monday 9th April 2018

How would you describe your relationship with Arielle?

Arielle and I have an extremely close friendship outside of the studio as well as a strong working partnership. I think we share similar views but we have our own experiences and allow the other to own those. We really do support and encourage each other in everything we do as well as just enjoy each other’s company. We laugh a lot and get very excited about the future!

You have worked with Arielle a lot in the past as a dancer, what is it about her work that interests you in continuing to work with her? 

For me I think it’s the strong atmosphere that she creates with each piece and every time it being so different to the last. It sorts of lingers in the air whether you are dancing in or watching her work. She never really tells us what to feel directly it just comes naturally from her own interaction, energy and movement direction of the whole group. She has such a gift for creating emotive work and I love nothing more than making an audience feel something, like they are there in the work with us.

What does the role of Rehearsal Director mean to you?

It’s firstly lightening the load for the choreographer, they have enough to think about already so to be able to hand over some of the nitty gritty can take a little of the pressure off and also gives the choreographer a new perspective, seeing the work through someone else’s eyes. A whole lot of trust is involved in taking on the role, the choreographer and the dancers trust in you to have a complete understanding of the piece inside and out so it’s a big responsibility to take on. It is also for me about keeping the lines of communication open between dancers as well as with their choreographer. In Arielle’s work this isn’t such a problem as we have great communication between all involved but it’s good to have someone else to turn to when the choreographer is busy on something else.

How does taking on this role alter your position as a dancer? 

It presents new challenges for sure. Dancing in the piece will mean I won’t be able to watch over absolutely everything, I will no doubt be shifting my thoughts to other dancers rather than focusing on my own movement at times and I’ll never get to really see the finished article but I think it works to an advantage to have someone who can really feel where things might be getting jammed from an insider’s perspective. Besides all of this though, it doesn’t make me more or even less of a dancer with this additional role, I will be there to support and guide in as many ways as possible but will also need a little of that myself I’m sure.

As a Rehearsal Director, what are your bugbears?

For me it’s unclear musicality within a group section. It’s hard to always count music so sometimes you have to really listen and watch the other dancers around you and remember to not dance solo. Dancing in a group is a lot about physical communication and focus, using eye contact which very often can get lost in performance. You can say a lot with the eyes, to the other dancers or to the audience. 

What would you say are your top three tips for working with Arielle?

Be ready to work hard, laugh hard and to always, always be yourself. 

LOTS.OF.VARIED.EXPECTATIONS.      IN REHEARSAL

Photography by Lewis Palfrey