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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Residency in Abercych

SiD had a fantastic time on residency in West Wales, with many thanks to ‘Maynard Abercych’ we shared our dance practise with participants from Pembrokeshire People First and Clynfyw Care Farm.

We were proud to present Arty Party‘s Four Solos in the Wild exhibition in the beautiful 2 Penrhiw where we were staying. Over 60 people visited the exhibition many of whom took part in a gorgeous workshop at Abercych village hall.

Over 30 people aged between 6 and 60 embodied so much of what SiD is all about, celebrating the moving connection between us all. The exhibition presented in the cottage deeply moved many of the visitors. The SiD team were Chloe Shepherd, Mervyn Bradley, Rachel Liggitt and Ray Jacobs. We gained from residing in the beautiful cottage and surroundings in the village of Abercych. Ingredients of the residency included; teamwork, trust, shared cooking, shared laughter, generous hosting from Sterling and Simon and a journey back through the snow.

 

Growing Together with Aya Kobayashi

Contact Dance Company and friends were lucky to be the recipients of two days of workshops led by dance artist Aya Kobayashi on April 5th – 6th.

Aya began her training in Japan before enrolling at the Rambert School in London. She has performed with companies and choreographers that include Flexer & Sandiland, Rosemary Lee, Charlie Morrissey, Kerry Nicholls, Pete Shenton, Gecko and Lila Dance.

Aya has also presented her own work at Tate family festivals, the Sanriku International Festival in Japan, and regularly teaches for Independent Dance, Greenwich Dance, Brighton Dance Network, Oxford Collective and various universities.

Aya has choreographed touring works for Anjali and has supported guest choreographers including Maresa von Stockert, Amit Lahav, Luca Silvestrini, Lea Anderson and Gary Clarke.

We were delighted to be joined by dance artists from the West Midlands region and dancers from The Blue Room based at Bluecoat house in Liverpool.

Over the two days Aya led the participants into a deeper understanding of their own bodies leading them into new ways of moving.

Aya shared objects, pictures and films that helped develop a richness in movement dynamics and articulation.

Aya used props from sources as unlikely as a coathanger to give us a sense of width and weight, to water filled balloons to give us a sense of softness, to watching the elegant walk of a tiger.

The two days workshops culminated in the use of costume to enhance, explore, eschew, force and inspire different ways of moving in solo duet and group forms.

It has been a delight to welcome guest artists to lead workshops for us and regional colleagues, dancers and artists to participate with us. We would like to thank
‘The Gateway’ in Shrewsbury for hosting three of these workshops.

We hope to curate further guest workshops in the future.

Images from day two of the workshop are below. Photography by Ewen Macintyre.

 

 

 

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.

 

Our first open workshop, facilitated by Joanna Young.

Ways of being in unknown places.

Contact dance company, friends and dancers from around the region gathered for two days of moving, dancing, witnessing and exploring with dance artist Joanna Young. Below are some words and images to share, of our time together.
(Images by Ewen Macintyre)

‘Working with improvisations and scores (creative movement tasks and instructions), open to individual and a group interpretation, the workshop explored how we can navigate, compose and find comfort within the unknown.  Co-creating an environment of care, sensitivity and intrigue, this workshop was a place to be tactile, playful and curious around the relationship between bodies, objects and environment’

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We were invited to connect with our own bodies, our own breath and the places we felt drawn to inhabit and move through in the studio.

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We were invited to find shared breath and shared journeys in partners,
small groups and all together. A sea of breath.

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We explored objects in the space some brought in from the woods of West Wales , others the detritus of dance studios, shoes, chairs, trolleys.

Objects as worlds to explore, objects as part of our moving bodies, objects as flotsam and jetsam, being moved as part of our own currents and tides.

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There was an open environment of play, exploration and shared performance. We felt safe, nurtured and beguiled to be our creative , playful, listening responsive selves.

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We had the time and space to reflect on our experiences and celebrate the treasures
we felt and witnessed.

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Growing Together – Open Workshops

Shropshire inclusive Dance invites you to ‘Growing Together’  

Spring Open Workshops

 A series of workshops led by highly skilled practicing professional dance
and performance makers, 

open to disabled and non-disabled dancers

The workshops will take place at The Gateway Centre in Shrewsbury.

 The aim of our workshop series is to support, inspire and stimulate dancers and practitioners in their ongoing development as performers, facilitators and dance makers. The Workshops will pay particular focus on movement exploration as a source for improvisation, dance making, performance and inclusion.

A limited number of places are available to dance practitioners, with at least 2 years dance experience and an interest in inclusive practice, to join Contact Dance company members in an explorative workshop setting.

Joanna Young
Ways of being in unknown places
Wednesday 21st February, 10am  – 4.30pm.

Working with improvisations and scores (creative movement tasks and instructions), open to individual and a group interpretation, the workshop explores how we can navigate, compose and find comfort within the unknown.  Co-creating an environment of care, sensitivity and intrigue, this workshop is a place to be tactile, playful and curious around the relationship between bodies, objects and environment.

Joanna has a passionate interest in collaborative and inter-disciplinary work as well as the facilitation of creative process in others.  Her approach to facilitating is inclusive, generous and responsive.  Exploring our full sensory range within a somatic and improvisational process the workshop aims to re-arrange our modes of perception and the borders we create around things, places and people.

Jo Fong
Ways of being together
Monday 5th March, 10am – 4.30pm

 ‘Ways of Being Together’ investigates the idea of Belonging by moving together – I’m interested in meeting people, encouraging awareness, listening and noticing. These workshops are part of a larger conversation about inclusivity and participation… thinking about what it is to thrive both individually and as a community.

I believe a sense of belonging is intimate and powerful, connected, optimistic, unknown and curious making. And at this time it seems essential to work on our Ways of Being Together. Please join me!

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 and Rambert Dance Company. Recent collaborations include working with Wendy Houstoun, Welsh National Opera, Hull Dance and Quarantine.

As an independent artist she has toured her choreographic work throughout the UK and international venues. Her work has been recognised and awarded by The Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards, Creative Wales Award and Wales Theatre Awards.

 Aya Kobayashi

The whole body in spontaneity and play
Wednesday 4th April, 10am – 4.30pm

Aya’s workshop will explore the embodiment using whole body with sense of spontaneity and playful characterisation.
We may use some materials to make wearable sculpture or object. Through improvisations and various games we will explore the effective choreographies with the particular materials.

Aya is an independent dance artist working in the field of performance and movement exploration. As a performer she has worked with choreographers/ companies  including Rosemary Lee, Charlie Morrissey, Lila Dance, Kerry Nicholls, and Pete Shenton (New Art Club) and Gecko Theatre.

Booking details

 Cost per workshop

£50 – Participants from funded dance organisations

£40  – Dance Professionals

£20 –  Concessionary rate for low waged dancers / participants.

Booking is on a first come first serve basis. Booking can be made through

Email : directorsidance@gmail.com

Telephone : Rachel Liggitt 07855931214 or Ray Jacobs 07817194644

Venue Details: The Gateway Centre, Chester Street, Shrewsbury SY1 1NA

The venue is fully accessible. The venue is close by to Shrewsbury train Station.

Car Parking can be found nearby at

Raven Meadows, Shrewsbury SY1 1PL or Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ

A suggested accommodation list can be provided if overnight accommodation is required.