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Choreographic Fellowships

Choreographic Fellowships is a three-year programme offering a variety of residencies that provide periods of sustained research and development for Scottish born or based choreographers (early or mid-career), provided by a partnership comprising The Work Room, Glasgow; Dance House, Glasgow; Citymoves Dance Agency, Aberdeen; and Dance Base, Edinburgh.

Individuals are encouraged to interact and are given the time and space needed to experiment. As well as leading to the development of new work, these residencies also encourage a greater level of collaboration and evaluation.

Image © Jannica Honey
Dancer: Tom Pritchard

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Video of Jack Webb performing his own researched material in new York as part of the Choreographic Futures supported project

Posted by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Posted by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Posted by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Posted by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Posted by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

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Creative Futures Programme
Choreographic Futures : Nurturing Choreographic Pathways

Choreographic Futures is a series of residencies of intense and sustained research, development and production. The unique nature of the Choreographic Futures project is that choreographers, living and working in Scotland, will benefit from a more focussed approach as to what a residency can offer, through the pooling of expertise and resources across each of the key dance agencies in Scotland.

This initiative is a collaboration between Scotland’s dance agencies, we would like to encourage you to think of the team as one collective dance house made up from rooms all around the country. Citymoves, Dance Base, Dance House and The Work Room will join forces to deliver the following initiatives, which correspond to defining moments in a choreographer’s career path.

This will be achieved through bespoke programmes designed around the individual professional development requirements of each practitioner involved. The overarching aim is that we welcome proposals from individual artists which clearly define their own needs and create opportunities. Proposals can include some of the suggestions outlined here but we encourage artists to think ambitiously about their own personal requirements for career development.

Through consultation with artists, the dance agencies have devised the following programme:
Early Career artist development
Deepening of practice and going to the next level
Invigorating existing choreographic practice and creating a collective support structure for the development of choreographers in Scotland.

Natasha Gilmore

I am keen to develop as an artist, looking at how my work with non-professionals can be even more ‘professional’ in its quality, and how can my professional touring work continue to develop in terms of generating intriguing movement vocabulary and employing new methods of devising my work, appropriate to each piece.

I have always worked as a choreographer with both professional dance artists and non-professionals.   I find the work I create with these different types of dancers, in different circumstances, mutually stimulating, the work I make with one group feeds directly into my work with the other.

So the type of questions I will be looking at are:
How can I successfully generate the movement material I desire and how should the methods I employ with these two different groups vary, if at all?
What methods can I devise to stimulate creativity among dancers of all levels of experience?
How can dancers be helped to retain the material they devise?
How can I create the right environment for creativity?

Mentor

A very well established artist, who also works with such a diverse range of dancers, is Rosemary Lee. Like her, I have an issue with the term ‘community dance’, which tends to bring with it notions of second-best.  Non-paid does not have to, and should never, mean non-professional, at least in terms of attitude and approach.  It is this approach to her work with non-professionals and the blurring of the boundaries between her work with professional dance artists and non-professionals that really excites me

I know a little bit about her methods of devising work from attending workshops she has led and a number of talks she has given.  However I would like to use the opportunity provided by Creative Futures to really work with her as a mentor and to learn from such an experienced and exciting artist working in a way that I admire so much with such diverse groups.

Timescale

I would like to have a 4 week long exploration scattered throughout the period from May 2012 until March 2013 in preparation for different types of projects that I will be working on. Plus, 2 weeks in London shadowing Rosemary Lee and a week in placement with Street Wise.

I imagine that there will be a lot of cross over in the discoveries that I make but I would approach each period with a different focus.  Each of them would enrich my practice but may be applied in practice to specific projects.

I would relish the opportunity to gain an insight into Rosemary Lee’s methods. While her approach is very different to mine, I feel sure that she would stimulate me to look at my own work in a different way and I think I will know what to push for in the design of the projects I undertake, such as insisting on having a team of professional dance artists with me to help implement the project.

Rob Heaslip

I am currently at a stage of consolidation of networking with dance agencies who are committed to helping me move forward. I would like to see this development present itself as an opportunity of studio time aiding exploration, research aiming towards production, touring and networking in late 2013.

Support from agencies will aid this objective, and tie into a calendar that has been created in 2012 involving other residencies in Dance Base, Dance House, The Work Room and Dance House Dublin. Additional support will allow for extra time to look at research, creation and expansion of a signature style.

Success with this application would mean that I could use resources to deepen my practice, expand repertoire close proximity to the new creative period ahead, instead of waiting to complete one, and then commence another much further down the line.

The structure would be broken into 2 x 2 week sessions; sessions that would correspond to my time amongst residencies already granted, and my time as International Associate Artist with Dance Ireland. Also I would like to include a fund to provide a form or mentorship, or, just as ideally, to use the money to engage with an outside artist, either British, Irish, or otherwise, if I should feel that their input would be very valuable at that stage in the process at the time in question.

Two dancers will be chosen to work with me to research gesture; be it literal, abstract, or metaphorical. We will then move to compile a bank, and create material that will present new, interesting and informed performance material through a high technical level of delivery. My work aims to be innovative in its approach to creativity, using simple tasks and working through gesture that I create within an organic process. I take my inspiration from Scottish and Ireland cultural references, from traditional/folk references and combine the research through contemporary creative practices, which will also reference my signature style.

Merav Israel

For the development of my practice, and research and development towards making new work I’ve identified a few configurations or stages which I’d be interested in and I believe will contribute to deepening of practice and create collaborative foundations towards new work.

These stages will form an in-depth research and introspective at a few levels of my choreographic practice: from developing and exploring the moving body and dancer to the interaction across art forms and the environment.

1) 3 weeks research and experimentation with improviser, choreographer, and teacher, Anat Shamgar, in Israel.
2) 3 weeks residency in Edinburgh with Anat Shamgar – developing further our partnership and mentoring practice.

Iona Kewney

At this point of 15 years performing I have a weight of knowledge and understanding of my own work and of practices, companies, contacts, performers and artistic organisations all over Europe.

I want to investigate physically (movement collaboration) and promotionally (contacts, residencies, venues, galleries, support structure) to establish all the ingredients to make a small International Physical Company in the near future; Having studied/trained and worked in Europe extensively I have many people who want to create, perform and work with me. However lack of funds/promoters/assistance  has never allowed me to develop this and thus I continue to only present solos live, with no rehearsal/preparation space or I have to join a company in order to be able to work collectively.  As a Company I want to investigate and risk new angels and different ways of working to build a sellable show in the future.

Ideally an initial intensive block of 3 weeks, unlimited space access, with chosen artists to build the beginnings of a company form. A venue, theatre, warehouse, space, with appropriate ceiling height for rigging and circus and art equipment, which is versatile for experimenting with sound and constructing music. This would involve 3 or 4 performers and 2 musicians (including myself and Joseph Quimby, a Glasgow musician)).

The discoveries I could make working with others, will be a wonderful adventure. The range of possibilities, with different physicalities, extend our own practices to another level of learning and questioning. Searching for new desires and urgencies of now –but timeless. We will not be making a story; we will be human passion, desire, wild and insular, power and fragility that speak volumes of lifelines and wonderings. Pure ‘state of being’ in our overall context.  The complexities, simplicity and endless resource of the body’s physicality. Combined with the dimensions and layering of sound that will hold the atmosphere.

Colette Sadler

On Order and Anarchy sees me moving towards a new kind of abstraction and a contemporious attempt at an old theme -­‐ the relationship between music and dance. I believe there is much still to do in this area, particularly if we look at the work and innovation of artists such as Jonathan Burrows/Mateo Fargion and William Forsythe’s One Flat Thing reproduced / synchronous objects project. In On Order and Anarchy what is perhaps most distinctive and innovative is an approach in finding shared strategies for both music and choreography. Sharing strategies will involve looking at what one might take from experimental music into choreography and vice versa.

This Creative Futures proposal is envisioned as a seven week long creation residency divided into three phases to take place in Glasgow in 2012 to support the creation of a new work On Order and Anarchy.  The creation schedule is broken up into three phases as I find it useful to have breaks in a creation process to reflect and achieve new perspectives helped by focusing on something else in between.

2 weeks working on Solo Research – March
2 weeks working with 4 dancers and 2 musicians – May
3 weeks working on further Solo Research – Autumn

Rosalind Masson & Jack Webb

Quartet is a meeting of minds and practices supported by a compositional framework that enables choreographic and movement research. The framework allows the artists to engage in the question of what it is to make a dance work for one’s self, versus making work specifically for another performer with thought to how the audience is engaged in this research. The project is research based and performance orientated, allowing the artists involved to develop as both dancers and dance makers.

We would like to work with Daniel Squire, as a mentor, throughout the project and more intensively when we go to NYC later in the year. We feel that it is also important to have studio based mentors who are familiar with the project and what we are trying to achieve so we will be inviting chosen artists into the studio during our research and development stages and engaging them in our next research phase in Berlin.

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Berlin – Rosalind x 2 weeks in March + 1 mentor for one week
Berlin – Jack x 2 weeks in May + 1 mentor for one week
Edinburgh – Rosalind & Jack x 2 weeks in June/July + Daniel Squire
NYC – Rosalind & Jack x 2 weeks in August + Daniel Squire

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The first two days of this week were quite a struggle for me. I had two days of feeling like I had no clue any more about what I’m interested in, what I thought I knew, why, why, why, how, how, how and general just feeling completely lost.

This happens occasionally and i think it’s totally necessary to question what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and even to question what you’re interested in and what you think you’re work is because it is forever changing and shifting.

To be in creative crisis reminds me how fragile creative process is and indeed how fragile it is generally to be a human being and this all becomes part of the work, for me.

Luckily I had one more session with my mentor here in Berlin, Jeremy Wade (www.jeremywade.de)

He is very good at reminding me to be kind to myself whilst in such a process and also to look at things differently and to have no expectation and just work with what you’ve produced. Wise advice. We can too often spend much time agonising over what we want our work to be or what we don’t want it to be.

I really do think that these connections with others, no matter how short they might be, are very special.

So that’s exactly what I’ll do with these last two days of my residency here in Berlin. Connect. And accept.

Here’s a song that I’ve been listening to in the studio whilst staring out of a window or laying in a heap on the floor in creative crisis!

Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now

Written by Jack Webb

Introduction

My compositional idea for Quartet is to capture the same moment from two individual perspectives. Physically, I want to explore the moment of abandon when you decide to jump or let go, on broader terms I am looking at transience and how it is punctuated by external factors.

During this residency, I was focusing on establishing a physical understanding of the statement above. I set myself the challenge of creating fifteen minutes of solo material to perform at the end of the residency. Throughout the two weeks I was joined in the studio with Rafaella Galdi acting as mentor. On the last day I had an open door where I showed the material I had been working on with an audience and had a discussion about my process mediated by Renate Graziadei. I was also having online meetings with Daniel Squire throughout this time, focusing on the further reaching aspects of the project which involve creating a solo for another dancer – Jack Webb.

In January I had a residency at Dancebase with musician Jer Reid based on the same statement. Aspects of the previous residency I decided to keep were: authentic movement practice, quick generation of phrases of movement through external stimulus, use of repetition of phrases of movement within the composition and some of the previous floor patterns including straight and curved lines.

Methodology

Authentic Movement

I think it’s important to mention that on the first few days of my residency I had an authentic movement practice. I spent one hour without having any brief for myself except to listen to my body and the movements that arose. I found this a good way to open my perception to the space within myself. By this I mean that I let my body guide me to experience the movement I wanted to experience in that moment without any restrictions or deliberate external stimulus. I found that having this practice was a self regulating method that helped me to bridge the gap between expectation and experience.

Improvisation

I knew that I wanted to generate new material to work with and I was curious about what would come from improvising to music that makes me feel happy, free and strong. So I made a play list of the music I and made a video of myself improvising. Then I looked back at the video and identified phrases of movement that I felt had continuity to them; the use of energy was readable in a clear form and with rhythmical sense. I like movement that feels like surfing –when you use weight and momentum to travel through space. I recognise in myself the moments where I decide to re-direct the energy so that a phrase of movement so that it has it’s own quality and expression. While experiencing these improvised movement phrases I’m constantly interrupting myself, punctuating my own experience. I can allow the movement to unravel and not hold on to anything too tightly.

Material

Throughout the residency I was constantly building myself reference points that I could refer to as new doorways to inspiration, sensation and experience. This was supported very much by Rafaella who helped me to see where I was at within the challenge I’d set myself for the two weeks. After identifying the phrases of movement from the video I learnt them again. Putting myself back into the first interpretation of the experience. That was interesting because the part of my brain I was using was very different to when I’d been improvising and it also involved encoding digital pixels back into the flesh. I definitely lost something at this stage: possibly the essence of the material. However I gained something else: sequences of movement that I could recall at will. Nice! I was still looking at one particular sequence of movement (out of six) when Rafaella came in and helped me to see the extent to which I could redefine the material . Or maybe it redefined me? As an exercise I performed it with too much energy, with too little, going between putting in greater or lesser momentum into initiation points within the phrase. I think most useful for myself was to breakdown and acknowledge the initiation points. Then I had a physical understanding of how A followed B followed C that was essentially the logic of the material. I could make choices about which pathway and consequently which order movements would fall in. From a rough sketch I began to define the exact application of the use of weight, initiation point and quality for one of the six phrases.

Stumbling block 1: Lost in Space

Before I had gone through all the phrases like this, I began to situate them in space. I found this hard because I was switching from one process to another – or at least that’s what it felt like. This task was a suggested by Rafaella: to creating some miniature spatial structures support the material. I think it was a great suggestion but unfortunately I didn’t step up a gear and come up with some improvisational scores that would have allowed me the conviction to engage. Instead I gave myself these instructions: never repeat the same part of the same phrase more than twice in a row in the same space. I also divided the space into three parts, gave myself a time frame of five minutes and which phrases I would be working with for each score. It’s not that any of these instructions are bad or wrong. Rather they didn’t inspire me and I found myself doing something and not knowing why hoping the answer would become apparent at some point. I think the really interesting thing for me to learn as a result is that if I’m not interested by what I’m doing how can anyone else be interested in what I’m doing? In this sense I think it was great that Rafaella engaged me the question of spatial structure because I realised straight away my tendency to step back a gear as soon as there is was an intervention in my process and also my tendency to accept a challenge even if I know I am not ready for it. My tendencies only become so obviously apparent to me when someone is witnessing them and this instance, reinforced for me the importance of having a mentor. She reflected myself back to me and I was able to then acknowledge the fact that the less clear I am with myself the harder it is for me to understand where I am.

Moving on

My next step was giving the phrases of material a definite structure in relation to the particular studio where I was working but also aware the work needs to be transportable. So I used the space to deepen my experience of the material with the proximity of the walls as a framework to establish a general journey that started and ended backstage right. Trusting my instinct, I described pathways in space using material that seemed to be compatible with the distance and direction I was facing ( I was still a bit lost but starting to find my way again). Feeling that all of this however was still more an exercise rather than research I felt eager to pin down a structure so that I could go further into the material.

Once a rough structure was in place including number of repetitions, direction and place in space I started working clumsily into the qualities of the movements. I did this by giving very general instructions for the way in which each phrase should be executed like big and slow, or small and fast. This was kind of painful but seemingly necessary to re-engage. Reasons for moving that were perhaps a little more human started to come in again when I identified my interests being in RHYTHM, SPACE and PATTERN. As soon as I wrote these words into my diary I also began to feel them again and the possibility of the movement now it had home in relation to the space.

Turning Point

I think the turning point came when Renate came in to look at the work I had done in the second week. It was great to have another pair of eyes that didn’t have any idea about my process because the questions she asked me really got to the heart of things. Major questions like why use repetition? At that point I really didn’t know, except that previously there had been the notion of journey, the goal to create fifteen minutes of material and also that repetition helped to set up rhythm. The words clarity and intention came up which lead us to then going through various phrases of the movement and looking at detail at initiation points, pathways, use of weight, all the things that allowed me to experience the movement. This was a really good discovery because a little gateway opened in my brain and I was able to allow myself to enter the choreography I had created.

The last two days were spent cleaning the material and also editing which Rafaella helped me with a lot. I realized that I still wanted to work with repetition but for the time being I was happy enough to re- find the essence of the material and allow myself to have a journey through it with the people who would come and watch me. The editing and clarifying allowed me to engage as a performer in my own composition and this was also a relief because it was more enjoyable and accessible for myself and no doubt for the people who came too.

At the sharing I performed the work and asked the audience straight away if they too had felt a gap between where they want to be and where they actually are in a creative process. Also if they feel the gap how do they navigate it? My question was does it need to be there at all? This was answered different ways by different people. A lot of focus was placed on the words discipline and commitment. For me these words can be misleading in the sense that I might continue to do something even if it isn’t working thinking that through hard work and dedication that it will pay off. ‘Institution of ideas’ is a phrase that kept popping up in my mind and also the phrase ‘where you are when you don’t know where you are’ – which I think is the title of and essay by Lisa Nelson. I think that these phrases are key to some of the insights of the residency. Institution of ideas for me is the way in which one can develop, store and organise codified methodologies that serve the creative process. The other phrase is more potent to as a path to choose for future development of this work. For me, not knowing where I am is a very exciting place to be in the creative process. Not in the sense of earlier – stumbling block number 1. Lost in Space, but rather when you begin to embody and become the idea that you set out to explore you can’t see the projected outcome because you are living the experience of the process you set up. I have learned that having a focus that can be held throughout the process can help you avoid swinging backwards and forth between internal and external, experience and expectation, content and structure because all will be contained within the actions that unfold questions that lead you towards your vision. I think the hardest part for me however is identifying and sticking to that which I am really interested in, pushing myself to go further and explore more deeply the source of my interest, intrigue and enjoyment.

Reflection

For me the massive question (that I asked the audience during the feedback session) is how can you possibly get from your vision of what you’d like to create back to where you actually are? How do you navigate this journey? What tools do you employ? What resources do you rely on? What do you do when you’re lost? The answers I got were very interesting. I’m glad they were recorded on tape because I can’t remember them all now! I also realized that the clearer the image you have of what you’d like to achieve, the more likely it is that you will get there. Holding this in your minds eye throughout the process is the hard part. I ended up creating a six minute solo but now I have material, composition and the tools to play with that will allow me to create a landscape for Jack Webb that I feel has an identity and essence that is tangible and honest.

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Recommended by Jeremy after a conversation about dance language and how it is perceived by the audience.

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Impulses

Some thoughts from yesterday.

Only move when you have a true impulse.

What is an impulse: visual, emotional, thought, smell, sound

Having a dialogue with the impulse or the impulse having a dialogue with itself

Connection with the imagination

Waiting and listening

Impulses connected to where you are in space and time

Moving or it moving you

Doing or it doing ou

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Yesterday’s thinking set by Jeremy was this:

One long continuous phrase.

Try to push things (meaning a singular event in a sea of events) as far as they can go before a new thing.

So that’s what I attempted to do. For me it made sense, to begin with, to slow everything right down. Stop moving at such speed and de-construct everything I’m doing by bringing it down to the pace of a snail.

Simple task by the sounds of it but it really isn’t. I think it’s all about complete awareness and also choices. When I slow things down like this the material does become much more simple and perhaps not exactly my usual aesthetic. Still though, it’s very valuable because it allows time to consider and make choices and push things further before then returning to the original work.

Combining this with the idea of sending things outwards instead of gestures and movements in to my self, this becomes a very interesting task in thinking and moving.

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

Excerpt of Willi Ninja about voguing from ‘Paris Is Burning’

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

For the first week of my Choreographic Futures (Dance Base, Dance House, City Moves Dance agency and the Work Room) supported period of research in Berlin I will be joined by Jeremy Wade as mentor whilst in Berlin.

Today to start off with I danced an improvisation with a simple spacial score and in our first session the following things came up (amongst others) whilst being observed by Jeremy.

Where does something begin and where does it end

Following through with movements

Voguing (although I already know a bit about voguing and the film ‘Paris is Burning’, I hadn’t realised how much of a similarity there is in the movement language that I am working with. Jeremy pointed out that there is a similarity there)

Feminine movements

Timing (surprise yourself)

Gestures are often ending towards the body

Capacity to send everything out to the audience with the face and facial expression

Capacity to play with the audience’s expectation with the use of gaze

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

What question are you asking?
Why are you asking that question?
How are you asking the question?
Be honest if you don’t have the answer.
If you do have an answer to whom are you telling it?
How are you telling it?
Is the way you’re presenting the answer right for the question?
If you are unsure then ask.
Ask anyway.
Ask the same of others as you would of yourself.
Respect process over product.
Be generous but respectful of your boundaries.
Challenge yourself.

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

As part of Quartet we have residencies in Berlin at Labor Gras and Edinburgh at Dance Base.

Jack is currently is Berlin whilst being mentored by Jeremy Wade

Link to Jack’s residency | Link to Rosalind’s residency

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

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It is a meeting of minds and practices that was born from a common interest and serendipitous encounter. It includes the coming together of dance artists Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson joined by Daniel Squire as mentor.

The project is supported by the Choreographic Futures Scheme (Dance Base, Dance House, the Work room and city Moves Dance Agency)

The common interest and desire for both of us is to extend our solo practice by choreographing on one another and performing in each others’ work. This was supported by Daniel’s interest in both soloists as performers and how our individual practices might expand into directing and being directed. We met him during Dance Base’s Festival Fringe program this year where he was performing with Irish Modern Dance Theatre and we were showing our own work. Daniel saw the commitment and potential in both of our solo works and suggested a conceptual framework for developing our work together. We felt with his experience of touring as a dancer internationally and connections especially to NYC it would be a positive support in our next stage of development towards international relations and practice.  For us, as independent dance artists working in Scotland, we are interested in how one another’s choreographic practice is progressing and would like to share this by working together. Artistically we feel we are at a turning point in our careers and would like to have the opportunity to deepen our practice. Quartet is an ideal research project for us because it’s ambitious, increasing our studio time, contact time with one another and implicitly allows us to be challenged and challenge with lots of opportunity for feedback and reflection. The nature of the concept allows us to be both inside and outside, having the opportunity to perceive and have control from out as well as inside the work.

Written by Jack Webb and Rosalind Masson

 

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