Contact Dance Company perform TwoFold at the Feast Festival in Malvern

A full house at the festival witnessed Contact Dance Company’s absorbing and powerful programme of duets ‘Two Fold’. The programme featured;

‘Unspoken’ An intimate duet about friendship. How do we speak without words?

‘While you broke through to other worlds’ A duet exploring the dynamics and polarity between two people, the pull to strive ahead, the fear of being left behind.

‘Father Daughter’ a celebration of the real life connection between the two dancers.

The programme also included a beautifully made short film about the duets entitled
‘A bridge between us’ created by filmmaker Jonathan Tritton.

The programme culminated in a trio ‘The details in the hands’.

Dance development leader Elizabeth Crosswell and her son were in the audience

I came to watch Contact Dance Company at the Feast Festival at Malvern Cube Theatre with my 4 year old son, we were mesmerised. 

 I’ve never seen him sit on the edge of his seat like that before, watching the duet between Rachel Liggitt and Mervyn Bradley unfold. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him softly mirroring movements from the dancers, as a parent your instinct is to hush, to worry about disturbing the performance for others, but this was his response to the performance and my instinct said let him be.

His response came from the environment the performers had created, by connecting with us, the audience. They made us feel a part of it, drawing us into a duet for two, but we were also immersed in the moments of touch, the friendship, the meeting and parting. 

 The dancers were beautiful; from the measured, dynamic movements of the all-male duet, to the warm flow of the structured improvisation of the trio. I wanted to dance in that trio too, they made it look like so much fun. The way they connected with us as an audience is to me a huge part of what dance is about. The moment when the father proudly shows off his baby girl to the audience – we shared that pride with him. We see the love and care danced together when his daughter joins him later in the duet. It’s just magical.

 I thought it was brilliant that the dancers were available to chat with the audience after the performance. Unfortunately I had to dash off for the school run, but I would have loved to have asked about the process and how the work was created.

Please thank all the dancers for their wonderful performances. I was so grateful to have been able to see such high quality dance in such an intimate venue.

Shropshire Inclusive Dance would like to thank the feast festival for inviting us to be part of a very special festival and JTV for supporting our production with high quality lighting and sound.

Images from the duets Father Daughter and Unspoken. (photography Ray Jacobs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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