I started to dream about this project 2 years ago. the title ‘cycle stories’ came one day during rehearsals for ‘The Nature of Things’ in spring 2011. I remember it clearly, in the studio with jennifer – the seed of an idea to create a new touring project that travels between creative residencies by bicycle. cycle. re-cycle. chance encounters and stories. this way the work arises truly from its journey.
the little studio dream started to take some shape and i found myself more and more determined to bring it to life. and here we are now. In Caen. officially Cycle Stories started on saturday. the starting feels blurry because there has been so much planning and thinking, but there was certainly a landmark shift on saturday as we cycled away from Brighton Pier into a strong head wind – everything that I need for the next 2 months attached to my bike (well not exactly my bike – it’s Isla’s and it already is full of extraordinary stories journeying from Brighton to Japan).
there were 8 of us and a party of beautiful people waving goodbye. We collected James on the way, a little after Chichester. He’s cycling around Europe and joined our merry (slightly frantic band) in the rain, and the mad dash to the little tiny ‘ferry’ (boat) from Hayling Island to Portsmouth mainland. often i was at the back of the group and i loved watching this winding line of bicycles ahead of me, loaded up, stretching away from me. each person navigating their own journey. and I felt quietly proud. I hoped that they weren’t cursing me when the day got long and rain poured down, or the group got split. I am very aware of the responsibility that I have.
sun and wind burnt faces, with tired legs we were happy to arrive at The King Street Tavern. My wonderful parents waiting to greet us, and a super friendly pub landlord making space for our pile of bikes. We looked quite wild. 60 miles done. was meant to be 50, there were a few extra meanders…map reading skills will no doubt improve…
David, Jennifer, Kim and Chris headed back to London. Alex, Bruno, Tristan, James and I made our way to the ferry. Whisky, the final toast to ‘cycle stories’ of the day and deep sleep.
Early sunday morning, France looked romantic and exotic. Radiant sunshine, flat sea and a huge open beach. We basked our faces in the sun, and stretched our bodies. Happy to be in France, happy to be inside Cycle Stories. James was still with us and I hope that we meet many more people in similar fashion during this journey. Small exchanges of lives and lovely sharings of this project and what we’re doing. Already I experience my desire – that this journey engages with people beyond the walls of dance or art specific organisations. we tread these paths together. sometimes new people will join us, and travel a while with us before our routes diverge, and we continue until the next gathering and dispersing. many threads, many lines, spreading out into a web that crosses the land. gradually Cycle Stories is spilling into the homes, pubs, chatter, thoughts of those who encounter it.