Just before Christmas, I found out that the Arts Council application I made for the creation of my next project, The Nature of Things was successful! This is obviously fantastic news, and I am now in the midst of preparing for our first rehearsals at the end of February.
South East Dance recently invited me to write about the new project which is featured in their current newsletter: http://www.southeastdance.org.uk/thenatureofthings.htm
What is your project?
My next project is the creation of a new dance work The Nature of Things with three outstanding dancers and two sound artists for a non-theatre space where there are many ‘fronts’ and little distinction between performance and viewing space. Reflecting my continuing environmental concerns,the initial impetus for The Nature of Things comes from the book ‘Li’ by David Wade. It takes the Chinese term ‘li’ (‘form’) and applies it to naturally occurring dynamic patterning (including branching, spiral, cellular forms etc).
The work proposes a multi-scaled view of the living world and focuses on the complex range of conditions that create change, transformation. Preliminary research has confirmed that certain dynamic forms are likely to or are already undergoing shifts directly linked to climate change. In tandem with the idea of ‘web’ forms, change in one area will have multiple effects on many others. For example, any alteration in the patterns of the ocean current conveyor belt (through ice caps melting) begins to affect climate and ecologies on a global level. Exploring these metamorphoses and the interconnectedness we find there provides a means for creating choreographic frameworks.
Who will this appeal to and why?
I hope that this project will appeal to wide range of audiences. I believe strongly that art is part of life which is part of art – nothing exists in a vacuum. The ideas we are exploring have implications for the lives of all people and so I am keen for the work to be shown in as many contexts as possible so that people of all walks of life have the opportunity to stumble across the work.
How would you describe your work?
I aim to create sophisticated work that draws on an intricately woven combination of dance, music and visual art. Driven by interests in the environment and perceptions of time, I seek to enable all people to re-connect with the natural world around them. Through animating public and alternative spaces to present my work, I advocate the idea that Art is everywhere – it is just a particular way of seeing.
I am interested in the possibility of creating choreographic systems using triggers and feedback loops, which will consistently and continuously produce a dance that is fresh and immediate. This approach towards choreography is deeply embedded in The Nature of Things.
What do you want your viewers or participants to learn or think about when they see one of your pieces/ projects?
In this new work, I feel that we are offering an opportunity for watchers/interactors to re-script their relationship, that isn’t solely to do with ‘experiencing’ nature and intellectually appreciating the madness of our way of life, but also offering in-roads to a somatic/felt body of experience. The more open we can make the actual performance of the work, the more headless and heart-led the dissemination can be, the more we can re-script a relationship to climate change and natural phenomena. One problem with head-led/top-down organisation is the constant sense of ‘ought’ – we ought to do this or that, but actually, for most, this is truly an abstract decision, and there is no emotional or felt truth there. By contrast, where there is passion which is impossible to re-create without an emotional connection, there is no obligation, just a rightness. Hopefully, The Nature of Things will create a place of less thinking, more feeling, which as meaning-making human beings, is essential in order to change our behaviour, and subsequently, thinking patterns.
Who inspires you and why?
Energetic, ‘get up and go’ people inspire me. Quiet thinkers. Nature lovers. Considerate, generous, sensitive people. The spark of meeting someone for the first time who feels like you’ve known them always. People who are brimming with wisdom but don’t tout it – quite remarkable. Too many people to name individually, but here are a few whose work has resonated with me strongly, Jeannette Winterson, Andy Goldsworthy, Siobhan Davies, Steve Reich, Carol Ann Duffy, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. My collaborators and mentors continue to inspire me and keep me focused – thank you!