SiD’s Film ‘A Bridge Between Us’ shown at The Breaking Down Barriers Film Festival in Moscow

SiD’s short documentary film ‘A Bridge Between Us’ was shown at  The Breaking Down Barriers Film Festival in Moscow.

‘A Bridge Between Us’ created by filmmaker Jonathan Tritton, documents a performance of duets by Contact Dance Company. The film explores what it means for performers to dance together and the skills needed to find a strong connection when making and performing dance. In the film,  dancers with and without disabilities share the connection they feel with each other through physical touch and through an invisible connection across the dance floor.

 

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The film can be viewed here.

SiD Co – director Ray Jacobs presented the film in two venues in Moscow as part of this ground breaking Russian film festival. The film was very popular and received great feedback. Russian and international attendees were interested in how SiD worked as a company and many international invites were received !
Ray also ran a master class inclusive workshop, sharing some of Contact Dance Company’s practical and creative approaches towards building connection between dancers.

The Breaking Down Barriers film festival, is an important international event. The festival shared over 80 films that explore, reveal and celebrate disabled peoples lives through fiction and documentary films. The festival was very well organised including a brilliant team of volunteers and translators for international visitors. SiD would like to thank the British Arts Council in Russia for supporting us. The festival was a great networking event and new contacts, opportunities and partnerships were forged.sIS

The premier of Unknown Places – a new ensemble piece by Contact Dance Company.

‘Unknown Places’ a newly commissioned ensemble piece choreographed by dance artist Joanna Young was performed by Contact Dance Company, last week at The Hive in Shrewsbury.

13 dancers from Contact Dance Company wove intricate layers of simple evocative movements throughout this 20 minute piece, often collecting, moving, replacing and shifting natural objects such as bamboo, rocks, sticks and plants.

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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The dance was accompanied by a subtle and dynamic soundscape of field recordings including birdsong, tides, river sounds, composed by Jamie McCarthy

The cast of 13 very individual dancers moved through shifts in mood and 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.

 

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Members of the audience shared the following thoughts about the piece.

‘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’20180619-IMG_2260 copy

 

Described by The Dancing Times as ‘an adventurous choreographic voice’, Joanna Young’s work is delicate, intricately crafted and absorbing to watch.

She writes ‘As a child I had an obsession with arranging spaces; moving paraphernalia and domestic furnishings around to create different atmospheres and situations. I feel like I am still playing the same game’

Before coming to Shropshire to make this new piece Joanna Young was in residency in West Wales, this ever-shifting landscape of rivers and tides had a big influence on the piece. During the making process the dancers were invited to spend a while witnessing the swirling currents of the river Severn and for these currents to be internalised and expressed by the dancers.

Many members of the audience commented on the absorbing, mesmerising and soothing qualities of the piece.

In the first half of the show Contact Dance Company shared two powerful duets

‘Unspoken’ and ‘While you broke through’ and screened a film about their making process entitled ‘A bridge between us’ These works get to the heart of what contact Dance company is about. Connection, relationship, presence, and a joy in the moving body.

Unknown places will be performed in the autumn, that and other repertory work will be available for bookings.

Images of Unknown Places – photography by Ewen Macintyre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Two fold’ An evening celebrating dancing together with performances from Contact Dance Company and friends.

 

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Curtain Call – Image by Ewen Macintyre

It was with a real sense of pride and joy that Shropshire Inclusive Dance shared ‘Twofold’ to audiences at the Wolverhampton Arena. The work on show was a culmination of our ‘Two to Tango’ project funded by Creative Black Country.  Eloquent and diverse duets by Contact Dance Company were performed alongside performances by groups in Wolverhampton we have worked with including Westcroft School and Mosaic Disability Theatre.  The rich experiences and beautiful dancing that were present in our community workshops and company rehearsals all really come to life.

Here is a review from one of our audience members

‘Yesterday I had the joy of watching Contact Dance perform their programme Twofold twice, at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton. I can’t begin to communicate the profound beauty of choreographic connection conveyed by this company, thanks to the diverse skill and passion for dance demonstrated by all the artists. There is such a rich landscape of emotion, dynamic, and depth which touches and transports one across the stage and beyond. In this particular programme, through all the pieces weaved the theme of dueting; exploring and expressing the dynamics which come into play when individuals engage and merge with one another on many levels of relationship.

 

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Unspoken – Mervyn Bradley and Rachel Liggitt (Image by Ewen Macintyre)

In ‘Unspoken’ Mervyn Bradley and Rachel Liggitt speak directly to the heart in their sensitive exploration of friendship and its ebbs and flows. Each supporting and protecting, while encouraging the other to take risks. Attachment and autonomy are in flow. Always maintained is the security of unconditional trust and tenderness, whether the dancers are connected or divided. This is about the ‘work’ of friendship, the effort, honesty and compromise necessary to nurture and empower a lasting bond with another person. This is also about love. The love that exists when two people understand and appreciate one another on a level that goes beyond words. Two very different dancers, Mervyn and Rachel take us on a poignant journey through the unity and solace to be found in true friend.

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While You Broke Through – dancers, Michael King, Andrew Kelly( Image by Ewen Macintyre)

My brother Michael Wall and Andrew Kelly bring a powerful, energetic intensity to the stage in ‘While you broke through to other worlds’, thought provoking and open to individual interpretation. Is this a parting or a meeting? A reconciliation or a conflict? Perhaps these two people have discovered a division of ways along a previously shared path. There is certainly an insular atmosphere surrounding two separate entities striving to make opposite journeys; but somehow we know that each dancer has a fundamental need for the other. There remains a certainty that each man is facilitating and inspiring the other in his choices of direction. They resemble machines or rockets preparing for take off and landing, the self-contained movements erupting into sudden initiations of contact; launching, throwing, clasping, pushing. Aptly, Andrew’s and Michael’s voices ‘break through’ the music at the start and the end, reminding us that this is not a mechanical process, but very much a human one.

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Twosome , dancers Delphine Wise, Anna Belyavin (Image by Ewen Macintyre)

‘Twosome’ is a glorious, playful celebration of twinning; of the delight and harmony to be found in individual expression of the same ideas and motivations. Delphine Wise glides about the stage with grace and precision, as she manouvres the brakes and intricacies of her wheelchair, integral to the spirit of the choreography. Anna Belyavin executes identical movements by foot, running and spinning alongside. There is a sisterly affection, a vibrant closeness between the dancers allowing each to predict and be energised by the other’s interpretation of the choreography, reciprocating the gestures and movements extended and retracted. There are moments when each woman embarks on her own movement motif simultaneously, reminding us that identical motivations have potential for diverse consequences.

 

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Father Daughter – dancers Chloe Shepherd, Ray Jacobs

In the poetic ‘Father Daughter’, Chloe Shepherd and Ray Jacobs (who was standing in last night for Chloe’s real-life father and usual dance partner), tell the story of family love in a secluded rural cottage. Following a rustic morris dance, Chloe’s birth and childhood is represented by the celebration of an invisible baby; shown to the audience by her father, glowing with pride and wonder. Then Chloe, now a beautiful young woman, emerges from the shadows for real, and the two begin to waltz tenderly, spinning and stepping in time, absorbed by their joy in one another. We witness the hard work of winter life at the cottage, the chopping of wood and the fuelling of fires. Throughout the narrative, Chloe’s journey to maturity is conveyed by hints of gentle conflict between father and daughter; her desire for independence confronting his awareness that parental protectiveness must now be accompanied by detachment and an encouragement of freedom. He retreats into the shadows and we are left with Chloe in a spotlight, standing alone, venturing forth as her own self-reliant woman.

Contact Dance elevate me to a place of pure joy; reaffirming my faith in dance as an expression of the soul as much as the body. This company is a gift to the world of theatre and community. It was also a privilege to watch the students of Westcroft School in their piece ‘Connections’, and Mozaic Disability Theatre performing ‘Will You Dance With Me’.

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Connections – Westcroft School Students
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Mosaic Disability Theatre  – Will you dance with me

New Duets being made by Contact Dance Company

Contact Dance have began  devising new dance duets for performance and touring.

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Easter kicked off with 4 days of research and development at Belvedere School, Shrewsbury with Ray and Rachel. Members of Contact Dance began exploring choreographic ideas and shaping dance movement content. This year sees the creation of 4 brand new duets, specifically created for smaller spaces, conferences, public events, community venues and for touring. Many thanks to Creative Black Country, Basil Houghton Trust and Shropshire Council for supporting this new dance adventure. Pictured above are dancers Anna Belyavin and Delphine Wise devising a new duet.