The Supper Room

It was a real pleasure to be invited by Greenwich Dance to curate the first in their new series of Supper Room evenings, and it provided us with the opportunity to share the experience of our project, Cycle Stories from 2013. Several people told me that The Supper Room at Greenwich Dance on 17th January felt like a wedding. I think that’s a good sign! I wanted to created an informal atmosphere of exchange, celebration and playfulness – I think weddings have many of those qualities. Lots of friendly familiar faces arrived mixed in with plenty of new ones, combined with delicious food, great music and a touch of the extraordinary. Little clues took people to different parts of the room to investigate, explore, perhaps discover something new.

Tristan, Tom and Bruno played live music all evening, Janine Harrington and Elodie Escarmelle did a remarkable job of keeping time throughout the evening with Janine’s human clock installation and Alex Moran served up close to 80 plates of food (without a kitchen!) with an army of serving helpers from Greenwich Dance. People looked like they were having a good time (but perhaps they were pretending!). We all watched Cycle Stories – the film, on a big screen, for the first time. I know that it was a little nerve-wracking for David (our filmmaker) – I guess a similar sensation to watching the first public performance of a new choreographic work – it’s surprisingly hard to watch and relax… But I, for one, watched it filled with happy memories and nostalgia for that wonderful, exhausting, crazy project that it was. That evening was the first time that all of the CSP team who worked on Cycle Stories were in the same room together again, and it reminded me how privileged I was to have had such a talented and committed group of artists working with me.

I think that is plenty of gushing for now – it starts to sound like an emotional wedding speech, so I will stop and save that for a different moment! Thank you to Kat Bridge and everyone at Greenwich Dance for having us. I think I can let Alicia Clarke’s pictures tell the rest of the evening. Until next time…

Charlotte

Thoughts after the Greenwich residency 20th-24th May 2013 – Rohanna

I’ve been reflecting during and after the week on how this model of a creative process is very different from many others that I have experienced. Rather then a traditional hierarchical working relationship between director (Charlotte) and the collaborators (Tristan, Tom, Jennifer, Rohanna and Bruno and more) there is a sense that although Charlotte is ‘holding’ the project with an overall vision and direction, each person is valued for different skills which contribute to the creative process.  My sense is that Charlotte does a good job of steering what could be a tricky situation: when you bring a group of people together, ask them for their ideas and input you could potentially be left with ‘too many cooks’ where someone dominates or controls what’s happening.  Perhaps because the team is comprised of people from different backgrounds, dance, music and writing, each person comes to the project with a different lens for looking at the work.  I personally have found this interesting as it gives you some distance from your own skills, by looking from someone else’s viewpoint I realise what I take for granted in my own position.  In a way this relates to Walking Stories in general in that it makes you step outside of your everyday way of being and asks you to look at the world slightly differently.  I like how this project inherently plays with the relationships between director, collaborators, performers and audience, one becoming interchangeable with another.

My sense of this week was that it was longer than a week.  I enjoy how your sense of time stretches when you’re absorbed in something.  Time both speeds up in the moment, but when you look back to the beginning of the week it seems further away then normal.  Monday and tuesday I was trying to wrap my head around coming back to the project following the autumn’s research period and catch up with where things had moved on to.  On wednesday we went out into the park to do the walk with a group of 18/19 which was near on the maximum for each performance.

Following the feedback session afterwards it reminded me that something I really enjoyed from the research in the autumn was that you could transform things, for example the group make a pile of found objects then you’re asked to stand and look at it, hearing the sound of fire transforming the pile into something which is burning.  Elemental sounds, can transform the landscape.

While we were doing the walk, which we did twice starting from different locations in the park, I used my phone to track our route using an app.  When we’d finished you can look at a map of the route you’ve taken.  I was surprised at how straight it was as in a line on a map, when my sensation of doing the walk was really multi-directional.  I suppose this disparity could be because direction and orientation are different things.  I might move in one direction, but along the way I can change where I’m looking and my facing or orientation giving me a sense that things aren’t linear.  We’ve talked about maps, routes, pathways, lines on the ground: I’d love it if you could record each person in the group’s route and overlay them creating a map of the walking stories route, different each time with a new group and location.

On thursday we had a session in the afternoon where each person wrote down some thoughts for what could happen next.  Here were some of mine:

Run as far away from the group as you dare, then hear something to do with imagining where everyone has gone? Look from above at the configuration.  Perimeters, gates changing?  Trespassing?  Can you identify an area that’s no go?

You could also have some sort of task where you select someone from the group, memorise what they’re wearing, some details about them.  You close your eyes when you open them they’ve gone and you have to find them?  You could do this in conjunction with the first one, half of the group having each instruction.

Get people to copy each other, create unison.  Could also have plants?

Take something to an extreme.  Get on the edges.  Do something impossible.

Rohanna Eade