Sunday, 23 September 2018

Embodied Space at Porthmeor Studios

Well, "i am so pleased" a dangerous thing for an artist to say.
With it comes congratulations to all the performers and artists in Shallal Dance Theatre.
Lovely George gave us beautiful recorded music as he was heading for the South of France that day and could not be with us, however he dropped into the morning to see his music first responded to.
Thank you also to Chris Hibbert it feels like a nicely established relationship now, our fourth event with them, 3 months studio residency, Shallal 2 show and a photography exhibition and now this!
Thank you to a great audience and for all the helpful feedback.

The dancers held it beautifully, responded to the space, music and each other with all the skills needed.

Audience response in Comments book.

"Moving uplifting, stunning"
"Fantastic! really enjoyed it all"
"Inspiring and beautiful!"
"Brilliant - loved it!"
"What an uplifting show. The talent and togetherness was lovely"

a message to the company
" This has been so beautiful, I have been on an emotional journey today I did not expect, the care, love and respect present in your interactions is so uplifting.  So many beautiful moments developing in the space, it was so inspiring and left me wanting to watch more."

Thank you to Star and Jacob for snaps from Jonathan and Stars duet.
I was to preoccupied and nervous to organise film and photography and thinking the back light would be too strong, however with windows into ceiling the light was far better than i had imagined and we missed an opportunity, never mind next time!

The space was more exciting than i had remembered so the treat of different levels ( window seat and stand on ledges) with the stunning backdrop of the waves and the sky! and the white walls with the then rubbed back wood.
One of our trials was to let people dress for the occasion/event, often we notice in sessions that people are ' colour coded' in matching hues and tones, so we let that happen with minimum guidance and it worked so well!
"I am so pleased" this is the style of work we put on hold while immersed in Doorways, it ticked on quietly in the warm ups but couldn't be fully explored, it opens a world of possibilities for performance, touring artistic freedom and independence, embracing different venues.
With less George time of improv music i was scared to be DJ'ing so much but feedback was it was ok and we interspersed with song, poetry, voices this enables us to bring in so much, Kerry T has a wonderful poem ( and Toby has a haiku for next time ).
We can build on things we have done before and revel in something completely new.

This is how i have always wanted to explore work so for me a real treat, to take improvisation as far as it can go and the team of performers recent and experienced rose to the challenge.

Here's to more!

(One new person warmed up but sat out for the actual show with understandable reasons and for some performers such close proximity to the audience and risk can be too much, so the freedom in the structure/approach can hold that and they enjoyed watching. 
Physical or emotional/psychological reasons for not feeling able to perform are able to be accommodated, this is really important for real inclusion, we all come with our support needs and issues, challenges in the day or lifetime!) 

Also in the past when faced with small challenging venues we have taken a smaller group, this way of working enabled everyone who wanted to to come and again, "I was so pleased" as we managed it and the performers really used the space very well.
Warm up has also been a factor and we had session in the space as well as in the morning at our rehearsal hall.

So this continues this year with other intriguing venues in the pipeline including Minack Theatre car Park!!
Kestle Barton garden now moved to Spring not this October! hoping for good weather....
Newlyn Art Gallery and i really want to get into that beautiful new space at the Tate!

And finally 'so pleased'- again!- that Chris Hibbert said this should be "going into Schools and we should be an NPO", that is what we are working towards, to have the freedom to go where needed and share the work more widely not always constrained to projects.
We need to be able to pay people and develop the work, to seed it on further.

I'm off to a possible studio meeting, fingers crossed.
Annis and Anna have offered to volunteer in their Gap Year..lots for them to do!
Lou is writing an interesting short project bid, ( she brings her creative and thorough brain to fund hunting) which we would love to do, as many of the company also relish getting stuck into a theme and research. This time we might be able to work with Hypatia Trust - fun.
Draft copy of potential poetry book returned and our learning curve continues, thank you to Anna for pulling it together, really need funds to take it further, but good to see the poems in print, and its one of source materials for our Illustrations theme performance and exhibition this Christmas, by Shallal 2 and friends.
Falmouth Art Gallery December ...oops date not in calender, another 'post it' job to do...

Friday, 14 September 2018

Embodied Spaces, groups and The Elephant Queen movie!

Well, I can now clearly enthuse about our new 'show'
Show is the right and wrong word.
In artistic response to the fun and structure and joy of responding to heritage ( our last project Cornish Doorways) we now go ... freeform!
It's definitely 'showing', and possibly the nearest to seeing a session in action, we are back into Dance with the story emerging from the responses: it is driven by environment, people, music (and audience i guess but that remains to be experienced!)
Shallal is the sum of its parts.

I recently found a CD of an old show i thought we only had on video, Midnight Feast about the third or fourth show we ever did. Music by Roger Pinsent and new work inspired by Rory Mcdermott! Poetry, song, characters/story telling, relationship, abstraction, whacky props, wonderful to revisit.

In conversations i have heard professionals say you never see work as 'good' as you get in workshops. This 'show' wants to bring that workshop experience of 'in the moment' fun/drama and performance/sharing to the audience.

So this new work is built from Always New, Shared Spaces and Pop Ups. It involves everyone in the company who wants to be in it on the day and dancers who were unavailable, having seen the improvs yesterday are now talking about just 'popping' into it from the audience!
It stretches the role and freedom of each artist, subject to the discipline of mutual support and the 'giveaway/gift/offering' to an audience.
So the dancers are authentic, spontaneous, have clear intention and performing!
The last one stretches the experience, how does what they are doing/want to do: build the picture, support/enhance the whole. Pep made a good comment a while ago that we are a company. While feeding back to each other after a 'run' cos you can't really rehearse it as there is a process not a 'show.' We spoke about levels of trust and support i joked it took over 3 years to build it between Colin and Kerry and Colin said "and more"!
Also the levels just keep increasing, yesterday while workshopping everyone did some fantastic partner work, trust levels and risk taking increasing all the time and we all still appreciate and enjoy each others work, watching is as important as doing!
So come along and see! We are excited! The dancers are keen, pleased to do it!

Tell us what you think, we'd like to know.
The idea for Embodied Space was originally an R&D and then became formed into a tour and now is what it is? as we have not yet achieved full funding ( so our other venues rest in the balance) and will have to reapply!? ( Bother! - in the background we need to pay ourselves, 'mouths to feed' level) but the 'show' goes on and ( creatively we have freedom and we need to progress, keep pushing, part of that this time is with the audience, so as i write this it reminds me that we will need to evaluate it for our own interest ) we continue.

The space is small and inspiring with a window out onto Porthmeor beach.
Look forward to seeing you there.

It's busy with the new term.
This week.....
Lovely to return to cover for a session for Debs at Express Yourself and Friends and Dancing FAD!
A lovely big, friendly, fun, well established group, and in a dance studio, spacious, light, good floor. The Dracaena Centre is impressive, constant community groups, small cafe and many people stay on for sports session in the afternoon.
Participants can progress on to Shallal 2, that evening 5-6.30pm at Emmanuel Baptist Church Hall.
This group is again friendly and diverse, it's always interesting to see how new people respond to Shallal and a new ( Argentinian)  mother and baby daughter responded by this week bringing along a  Roumanian friend and her toddler son and the visiting granny from Argentina! we felt very international! and everything stops for babies.... we are gently working towards our Christmas show/sharing.
David, Esme, Miles, Emily and Leigh all came to Shallal 2 via Friends and Dancing.
Emily, Miles and Esme do FAD and then come on to Shallal 2, Emily then goes for 3 sessions as she also comes to Shallal Dance Theatre on Friday.

We wish Peter Kirby well, we hope he is recovering and hope to see him in one of these groups soon. He has come the same route and we wait to see which group he chooses to go back to.
It is good to be able to offer a range of experience/involvement to suit different needs and times of ones life.

New possibilities for Shallal Studio in the wings, a meeting coming up to explore it, more news in a few weeks time.
Shallal Sketchbooks dreaming and scheming with Kerry T: 2 workshops waiting to go and 2 artists to interview and an exhibition coming soon!

Then my week goes on to Liskeard group and conversations with Gemma from Wheal Martyn around an arts festival this term. I look forward to working with some of the same and some new groups. A conversation with Thomas about how much he wants to further his career/experience, he has done a lot of training/performing with Far Flung
.and while watching the group, the question,  How to get their work more widely seen?
It takes time to embed Shallal into a community, one of the ways is to do small performances, as it works by attraction, also word of mouth recommendation, the best advocates are those who enjoy it.

Lois has been busy rehearsing for:

Lois is the associate artist in Liskeard "Out There' group. When she can't come i have had the pleasure of working with other amazing local dancers, Sarah who is in Physical Postcards and was already one of my favourite dancers to watch,  Miranda
and Sam Lawrence

i've always wanted to film on hard sand and found this .....

Demelza shared this recently watch from 4.40mins

On Thursday mornings while Out There happens in Liskeard, at the other end of the county Colin and Kerry are at the Acorn, Penzance with Open House.

Really happy my dear brother and his wife have success from TIFF...

and i'm so excited to see it in London in October, now its finished ( i have seen an early edit)
and the composer Alex Heffes
has provided our groups with ongoing inspiration through his CD Face to face

Which leads me back to the power and beauty of Improvisation!
Come and see Embodied Spaces..