Contact Dance Company begin an exciting new performance project with dance artist Jo Fong.

Contact Dance Company performers spent two fabulous & creative days with Jo Fong, gathering ideas for a new piece to be premiered by the company at Theatre Severn in the summer.

Jo Fong invited the dancers into her physical, energetic, and dynamic style of dance.

How close can we dance together?  How small can our dances be?
How much noise can we make while we dance. Can we all dance in this tiny space here?

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Jo’s invitations to move were enthusiastically accepted by the company dancers.
Dances of an incredible range were explored over the weekend, subtle small dances in pairs, wild chaotic dancers with the whole company in small spaces, moments of quiet tenderness, lots of laughter and applause, the work was beautiful, powerful and funny to witness.

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Jo Fong is a director, choreographer and performer working in dance, film, theatre, opera and live art. Her eclectic career includes performances with DV8 Physical Theatre, Rosas (Belgium) and Rambert Dance Company.

 

Talking about her work Jo states’

‘The work creates shared experiences, as an audience member, performer or as participant. It seeks to invite an open exchange and immediacy through arts creation and opportunities that aim to promote and support inclusivity and the value of art to everyone’

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Jo Fong and Contact Dance Company are a great match. Jo, during the workshop shared her observation of the incredible physical and creative connection shared between Contact Dance Company dancers. Jo likes to see the work she is making with Contact Dance Company,  with all its diversity, connection, humanness and dynamism, as the future, the new normal.

 

 

 

Unknown Places – Performance at Wolverhampton Arena, October 10th 2018

‘Unknown Places’ Contact Dance Company’s most recent ensemble piece, choreographed by dance artist Joanna Young, made a welcome return to the stage at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton.

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Unknown Places – image Ewen Macintyre

This evocative and absorbing piece was performed alongside an improvised trio by Contact Dance Company titled ‘The details of the hands’. The piece was structured and inspired by Joanna Young and accompanied with sensitive and powerful live music by folk duet Deuair.

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Details of the hands – Image Ewen Macintyre

Shropshire Inclusive Dance’s co-director Rachel Liggitt has been in residence with ‘Dance Unity’ sharing some of the working methods in Contact Dance Company’s pieces and some of the ideas behind ‘Unknown Places’ The influence of the work became immediately apparent as Dance Unity took to the stage sharing a dance piece full of connection and elegance.

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Dance Unity – Image Ewen Macintyre

The final work to be performed was Contact Dance Company’s
‘Unknown Places’. The cast of 8 very individual dancers moved through shifts in mood & dynamics from subtle swaying and careful placing, to the creation of wild eddies of movement across a crowded dance floor. The piece demanded discipline and connection from the dancers, which was there for all to see.

‘A dancer moves slowly within a circle while delicate strands of lavender are precariously balanced on her. A male dancer moves and slides a large boulder through his arms, a ripple of bamboo poles balanced on dancers bodies provides a gentle rhythmic accompaniment’

 

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Unknown Places – Image Ewen Macintyre

The dance was accompanied by a subtle and dynamic soundscape by Jamie McCarthy.Contact Dance Company performed Joanna Young’s absorbing and finely placed work with commitment, focus and energy. Members of the audience present at the premiere of the work shared the following thoughts.

‘The new work was a wonderful piece of ensemble movement: focused, reflective, contemplative, infused with the presence not only of each dancer, but also the presence and energies of the natural world’

 ‘At times it felt like the piece was showing to me the ever moving qualities of the whole of humanity’

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Unknown Places – Image by Ewen Macintyre

 

Unknown Places by Contact Dance Company is available for festivals and theatre venues.

 

 

 

Ways of Being Together. A two day workshop with Jo Fong. March 5th/ 6th

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‘Ways of Being Together is a series of workshops, discussions and performances facilitated by Jo Fong centred around the idea of of Belonging. A sense of belonging is intimate and powerful, connected, optimistic, unknown and curious making’

Members of Contact dance Company were joined by dancers from around the region to dance under the energising and inspiring guidance of dance artist  Jo Fong.

Jo Fong is a director, choreographer and performer working in dance, film, theatre, opera and the visual arts. Her eclectic career includes performances with DV8 Physical Theatre, Rosas (Belgium) and Rambert Dance Company. Recent collaborations include working with Wendy Houstoun, Sonia Hughes, Deborah Light, Unfinished Business, Skye Reynolds, National Theatre Wales, Welsh National Opera, Hull Dance and Quarantine

Jo really immersed us in movement; her own joy of moving (whole heartedly and energetically) was contagious. Jo built energy in our bodies and throughout the group and facilitated a climate of listening, physical playfulness and openness to change.

When Jo set us simple movement based tasks, for example  ‘listening to a partners spine’, ‘dancing in partners, hands placed simply on shoulders’, or following our gaze to initiate movement. The tasks were explored with appetite, verve and sensitivity.

We also listened to the whole group dancing and our place in it,  the ensemble as an animal, improvising, listening, accelerating, quieting and resting

It felt by the end of the two days as if the group had been really stretched, challenged, had worked hard physically and got a lot of joy from moving and being together.

 

Above are some images of the 2ndday of the workshop when Jo was working with Contact Dance Company. Photography is by Ewen Macintyre.

 

 

A two day exploratory workshop with Mark Storor

 

20180322-_DSC0344On March 21stand 22nd Contact Dance Company welcomed Mark Storor as our guest artist.

On day one, Mark Storor navigated the dancers through an enjoyable, intense and absorbing creative process of making self portraits. The act of making the portraits created a focussed atmosphere that released a feast of surprising images. We saw ourselves and each other in new ways. We talked about and shared our self portraits. Because the dancers were absorbed in the work and all the ideas and details were their own they were able to talk about their works confidently and in a lot of detail.

Day two was a movement based day. Moving away from creating as individuals and towards devising as a dynamic ensemble. Mark drew inspiration from the dancers creativity, sharing with the group the many stories, images and ideas that came to the fore when he watched us move. Moving, talking , imagining, bringing potential performances to life. Mark encouraged us to use props and texts, such as chairs, blindfolds, strands of cotton and lines of text from Shakespeare. The workshops were an intense experience that will stay with us and we will draw upon.

 

‘Growing Together’ is Launched !

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Co Directors Rachel Liggitt and Ray Jacobs alongside Contact Dance company members Kevin Shepherd, Michael Wall, Mervyn Bradley, and Chloe Shepherd, cut the ‘Growing Together’ Cake ! – Image by Ewen Macintyre.

 Friends, family, dancers, artists, managers, organisations, board members and many more gathered for the launch of our two-year dance program ‘Growing Together’ funded by Arts Council England at the Hive, Shrewsbury.

What a heart felt, friendly and joyous event it was – community spirit felt very much alive and kicking as we celebrated our recent funding success.

Ray and Rachel warmly welcomed attendees followed by a sharing of SiD’s story so far, highlighting key events and achievements. The co-directors then outlined plans for the two-year program ‘Growing Together’.

One of the main highlights was the premier of SiD’s film ‘A Bridge Between Us’, an outcome of SiD’s duet project Two To Tango. The film produced by JTV Production received excellent feedback and needs to be shared wide and far.

The evening ended with the revealing of a massive cake shared and enjoyed and lots of chatting with old friends and new.

An event to remember.

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An exciting new chapter in the development of SiD

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Contact dance company celebrate the good news – photo by Ewen Macintyre

 

SiD is delighted to announce a new 2 year programme of Inclusive dance in Shropshire
entitled ‘Growing Together’

Over the next two years the company will be

Developing its organisation in our brand new base at the Hive in Shrewsbury.

Inviting guest dance and performance makers to share their practise and facilitate inclusive guest workshops open to Company members and dance practioners in the region.

Creating two new works with inclusive Dance Company Contact.

Encouraging and fostering diversity throughout our organisation

Researching, developing and founding a new inclusive youth dance company.

This exciting programme has been funded by Arts Council England and made possible through the support given by company members, our board, friends of SiD and all our partner organisations.

A big big thank you to you all.