Monday, 17 February 2020

Notes from conversation with Harry Theaker

Notes from phone conversation with Harry Theaker around Embodied Space Methodology....

Not overly conceptualised methodology, that people understand, that you can take to different spaces/contexts.

Not too much information - do you need anything else?

"In it together" - equal opportunity
                      - level playing field
                      - participate wherever they're at

Visceral experience for me
calls on ways , there are things you can bring offer

            simple straight forward directives
"so much can happen"

Freedom within the container
Simple loose structures
                      freeing - lots of things can happen

" Attention awareness" of group & self
                                          collective & choices

Creative Process
Real true authentic
immediate conveyed
Interested ( in ) individual voices

Feeling Safe with The Uncertainty
Rules - pointers

" (we ) do it because it challenges us
                                                  ( it's) very exciting to be in that space"
Embodied Collective Sharing, experience joy of communication, ease with each other, myriad of quality and emotions -

Edgy . - Process as Performance
idea of can embed authenticity - ( freer in studio)?

(In the) Zone attention focused

Spectators Audience
process (as) performance
performance as process

Eureka moments "audience invited in"
generousity - come and see what we do -

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Harry Theaker's feedback and some updates

Thank you to all those who work with us.

Harry and i enjoyed a chat the other day, this was his written response to our evaluation.

Harry Theaker      Reflections on Trebah and the Embodied Space with Shallal Dance Theatre.

Almost a year has passed since that memorable day with my fellow performer friends at Shallal sharing encounters with Trebah Gardens and the overarching Operation Starfish Film Project.
As an outside artist I relished the opportunity (one I've been wishing for)  to participate and become a Company Member in a charged performance space, with an audience, on a beach in Cornwall. What more could one ask for? 

I remembered the joy I felt in the freedom to move, interpret, find connections and magical moments collectively in response to clear contextualised themes that Jo had communicated, for instance that of departure and arrival. So much preparation, meetings, conversations, walking possible routes and identifying the Goto performance spaces, risk assessments, organisation of transport, personal assistance, etc etc and then something magical happened on the beach that day and was captured on film.

I would say that each person and performer can realise their own sense of Agency within softer structures that don't impose but liberate and support creativity and choice making. This is the beauty of the improvised space. 

Working with Shallal has been a thoroughly rewarding and nurturing.experience.
They just have a wonderful way of making you feel welcome and included especially when we meet in the performance space, the visual field, the kinaesthetic playground. 

I believe that outside artists/independent dancer performers can be enriched creatively and dynamically as human beings by experiencing the unique environment Shallal have evolved over many years of living and moving together. Could there be room for a regular program where Shallal invites artists from diverse backgrounds and artistic mediums to come and share and experience working together.

Pete Freeman
also kindly updated me on connections and comments he has had since our Newlyn event.

They both point to working more with other organisations/platforms and artists and getting the work more widely seen, (a challenge to me as i have to do less at present ) but wonderful for the whole team who can deliver so much.

Robin's short film from our Parkcor day is nearly ready for putting on Facebook and shows the fun behind it all.
Skye's song is uplifting and we are really grateful to them both,
and i am staggering through many photos, with help now, so hope we can show some of these as well.
The Parkcor gym provides a wonderful challenge and stimulus and we hope to make it an annual visit (for our own strengthening and) in warmer weather!

Al, Colin, Kerry, Pep on the scaffolding!
Shallal Sketchbooks are out and about again at Falmouth Art Gallery for half term.
Thanks to Claire.

Phoebe returns from a Conference about Unlimited
we look forward to hearing all about it.

The Studio goes from strength to strength growing into what we hope and know it can be, with 'returning' artist Fran joining us. Fran works with Tina and they may go to the studio together. (Tina's beautiful painting might hang in the lounge in her home.)
Colin has fitted a key box which enables 'out of hours' artists to access it, such as Alexandra Xierle.
We want it used as much as possible and like our groups to encompass, a whole range of society, joined by enjoying and sharing art.

Had a lovely chat also with Stuart Blackmore recently who i respect and learn a lot from.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Peter & George photos

                                                    Pete Freeman by Steve Tanner
Many thanks to both Pete for making it happen and Steve for yet another set of glorious photos celebrating our final event in this project.
I still have fingers crossed for delayed short film being worked on in South Africa, as we speak, by dear Robin.
Star mentioned the time in the Parkcor gym as a highlight of the project for all the dancers in extending themselves, it is always so good to expand and explore within a project, as in this.....there are many photos from our time there still to edit ...
a simple favourite by Anna Willis

George with his array of instruments
by Steve Tanner

George's approach was the inspiration for the whole project and pushed forwards our approach to performance improvisation. Demelza emphasised in our feedback session that to create work from improvisation is not unusual, to continue that process and exporation into performance is! and also to not know who will be there or what music will be played or the space, pushes it even further ....

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Feedback from Embodied Space (with Peter Freeman and George Clement Peer) at Newlyn Art Gallery 24/25 January 2020

There maybe more to add but this is the first batch of comments on Sunday 26 January

Good news contacting Newlyn curator Debbie Sharp in March to chat about programming.
Phoebe and I are very excited to talk with everyone about progression and possibilities, new projects inspired by these events!

You can see live stream from first performance on Facebook, the second one the stream failed sadly as it was, in true fashion, quite different. 
As were the audiences, both warm and wonderful and both full and overflowing capacity, with discussions and chat, immersive audience time in the space afterwards and three very different poems/writing to savour at the end.


"Fabulous such lovely movement and interaction"

"So beautiful - seen quite a few Shallal performances, but this was my favourite. The music, the light, the movement - such an otherworldly.....environment to enter...such a tonic such beauty. Thank you 
PS loved the artwork too!"

"It was very lovely!" from a 16 year old ☺
"and also nice poems to hear - well done everyone who performed with the calm music it was beautiful and quite simple. It was lovely to watch!" x ☺Eliza x ☺

"Thank  you so much. You are a joy.
Always great to see your work. Loved the atmosphere changes created with light. 
Felt the containment of working in a small space.
Enjoyed the live music, yet also missed the diversity and surprise of impromptu soundtrack choices in previous shows."

"Wonderful Shallal again a delight.
My eyes had tears."

"Beautifully expressive"

(written in the corner of the page)
"As this page is the use of confined space and the dictation of coloured lights allowed for a superb arena of dance. Yet again simply different from other performances and yet still totally accessible.
Thank you so much enjoyed it."
Paul S

"Many thanks for another wonderful afternoon
I hope too that ....'s picture gets widely exhibited or displayed. Another extraordinary work.
(...... poem) captured a freshness of "where we are"; I'd like to hear it again in my brain!"

"I enjoyed yesterday's performance so very much. ....
I find everything ... to be inspirational and life-affirming"

Dear everyone at Shallal
Fantastic moving performances on Friday and Saturday
Wonderful improvisation and sweet music, you danced through my rainbow, transported the audiences, and created a truly embodied and emotional space in Newlyn Art Gallery.
Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity and privilege of working with you.
Pete ...

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

a little late night ramble....

I spend the evening tired and then wake up, I'm not sure my sleep pattern will ever be very sane after 5 children and times when Shallal nearly closed! through lack of funds etc.
However tonight is particularly social! most of my co-workers and some artists are happily up and communicating, which feels quite cheery! One problem on the way to being solved, another just sprung up and ....

Background care and concern for those we love and have worked with for years comes into the pattern of our Shallal life and never rests. Freedom and Choice and support and care are sometimes comfortable and sometimes uncomfortable companions. My experience teaches me that for some people expression through the arts isn't an option but necessary for overall health. My experience also proves over and over again how much we all have to give and share.

2 of my friends with support needs in Shallal have difficulties accessing their full creative outlets at present and are battling with very different issues. So much has improved but we can never rest as often the quality of your life is as good as your support systems: those who care, love and understand you and societies ability to offer surrounding care and support. So we go on!

Visibility is one of the key components, people are no longer hidden, sharing is so important..

Mental health which is often so invisible and can be so disabling and chronic health conditions, loneliness and many other elements of our humanity all need support and care and the carers need care!

One of the reasons we are inclusive is just, it was always like it! and i don't believe you should offer something to one group and not make it as available as possible to the whole to the community..

we are not perfect we could do more, be more inclusive and we challenge ourselves...

Parents who bring their children often then join in and some end up valuing it as part of their routine as much as their children do, some support workers look forward to it as much as those they support to be there.

This ramble started with looking at work patterns, society is changing, how do we move forward in health and healing, service, celebration and care.

I hope if you come to the events on Friday and Saturday you will experience a celebration, sharing and something of the power of art in all our lives, and feel reenergised to create and maintain a caring society and community for all our futures.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Paramenters for improv/ musings for exhibition selection/welcome to Jerry Drew

Parameters suggestions for Open Improv and performance

refining the second 3

3 instructions:

Do your own thing
Working with others 
Be still

3 more for performance /events

Exit? - when you don't know what to do leave the 'stage'
Support others - if/when needed
Bigger Picture - what does it look like/what are you adding?

So here we are, last Embodied Space in this project, but not in our future repertoire as this is the way i and many of the performers love to work!

Lou reminded me of the wider conversation which has been percolating underneath but now needs a light shone on it to help discussion, comment, observation, feedback, sharing with this approach with our peer group.
Also delving into immersive experience, which we can't do all the time as a small space this time, but will invite audience if they would like to come in in the second half.

Good comment from (our project dance artist mentor) Harry Theaker with Colin now pursing the idea of Facebook streaming.

Such a good team these days sitting round the table ( yesterday was our business meeting) with Phoebe joining us (and Hennie our chairperson)
to Jerry Drew our new business manager! hurray

Always the unexpected last minute curved ball dear Robins film files crashed - he is now working in South Africa with sharks! - the files didn't send overnight so now it says 50 hours remaining as we all know that's not accurate but it does mean a LONG time and i'm out today with Phoebe
choosing work and arranging it ready for Colin to hang tomorrow, might whats app my brother and see if he can help me understand how to keep it going!

Collecting Josephs paintings today! he has been working on them every Friday with his grandfather who is a St Ives artist supporting him, he and i are very excited for this.
I framed one of Josephs drawings he gave Peter this Christmas and Eddie sold a painting yesterday at Falmouth Art Gallery and we have plans for Janet and Peter and all to be discussed after the weekend.

The exhibition will be diverse full of colour and worth a visit!

Oops and rushing past the printers to collect 4 Welcome to JerryDrew photos of Anna's early this morning...

magenta light BLW 

Monday, 13 January 2020

Event and Janet in studio !! & news of dating agency

Thanks to Lou who is doing such wonderful posters for recent events!

So looking forward to this one.
Don't miss:
Shallal Dance Theatre
Embodied Space

within installation by light artist Peter Freeman
& improvised music by George Clement Peer.

2019 saw Shallal Dance Theatre in some wonderful spaces including an Eden Project Biome, Minack Theatre Car Park, Kestle Barton wildflower meadow ( a highlight), Falmouth Art Gallery, Tremenheere Gallery, Sterts Theatre, Liskerett Centre, each performance spontaneous and utterly different.

These are the last two performance events of our Here and Now Project, circling back to where we started at Newlyn Gallery last January but in a very different guise as along the way at the Minack we met Peter Freeman! and we are so excited to work together, we previewed working together at our Back Lane West Residency and we hope to continue after this.
We'd love your feedback and will open the space up for immersive experience and exploration with us after the 30 min performance.

Colour, Sound and some expressive Shallal dancers is a pretty good combination to expand the depths of winter and brighten your day!

On Friday we had our annual Sponsored dance and warmed back up into the world of moving, as someone said it can be hard to come out of hibernation at this time of year.
Within it we had an hour of improvised music and working with very long stretchy material and elastic, good to have so much uninterrupted time for exploring.
We miss Star who is resting her broken foot, and dear Zoe Wilton is having her first ever break from Shallal Dance Theatre, she is the longest attending member now ( founder member of 30 years!) so i think she can have a sabbatical! and is enjoying baking apparently. We hope she will return for our next project and meanwhile as often happens ( people move sideways in Shallal to other parts so still connected ) and she is at the Shallal Studio on Wednesdays with Phoebe.

Which leads me onto why i was writing this, i went to work with Eddie today at the studio, we meet for an hour to look at media, design etc currently wanting to make a new Shallal 2 poster, and Janet and Phoebe were there!
Oh joy when the Studio initiative was thought of one of the main artists we were inspired by was Janet. I met Janet over 20 plus years ago when i founded (with Artshare) and co-ran Dance and Draw for people moving out of Budock Hospital and others in the community. Janet then went on to do fantastic art work at Annexe Arts run by Lisa Mortensen, whose high standard of facilitation work is another inspiration for the studios.
So there was Janet today stuck into wonderful large canvas paintings, and Phoebe, like her studio assistant, supporting her process and 2 lovely support workers.
I do like to chat and had lovely conversations and insights and met Sam who has started Hand in Hand a dating agency - much needed - so impressed and wish him all the best with it.

Phoebe and Lou have worked really hard last term developing the studio and it's wonderful to see it start to embed itself and our dreams materialise. Looking forward to a cup of tea together and chatting around future potential developments with Phoebe tomorrow.
You can see images on our instagram.

On another note my family recently need more of my time and will do so for a while, so i am in the process of adjusting my work load and getting people involved to back me up, it has been hard to take the decisions (as i love my work), but i also already see benefits from it as it opens up the work more which is a good thing for skills sharing, gaining experience and for our longterm sustainability, diversity and progression.
Our first administrator Diana Morris' mantra was "family first" and we are forever grateful for all her combined experience and wisdom which underpins all our background ethos and approach.