A week of dancing and connecting – Unique Voices Shared Visions, AVS Choreographic Lab 2019

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16 dancers joined SiD for the AVS Inclusive Choreographic Lab in June. Dancers travelled from Stoke, Gloucester, Nottingham, Stourbridge, Kidderminster, Telford and small villages surrounding Shropshire to attend the sell out week and what fun we had.

Workshop facilitators Annie Hanauer, Vicky Malin and Sarah Blanc arrived from London bringing a wealth of experience through working inclusively with some of the most established and respected artists and organisations in the contemporary dance world. The common thread  between the facilitators was that all three artists had worked with acclaimed Candoco Dance Company.

Each day started with a dance class, rotated between all three dancers. Each facilitator offered their own unique approach to morning class, including taught technical exercises, somatic dance practice approaches and improvisational tasks. 

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In the afternoons we explored creative choreographic tasks based upon the workshops leader’s interests and their choreographic research. The tasks involved lots of creative play and experimentation, individually and in small groups. There was time to talk, reflect and socialize, a gift that does not happen enough. During the final two days we experimented choreographically with our own artistic ideas.

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The week was a rich nurturing experience, feeding the soul, whilst enlivening and revitalizing individual practice. I found total delight in reconnecting with dancing friends and the joy of meeting new people. I loved the diversity of the group, encompassing different backgrounds, ages, experience, genders, heights, and body shapes.  The group arrived with various mobility aids, expectations and hopes but all of us were incredibly ‘open’, respectful and willing to take part fully in all the nuggets of ideas, movement explorations and improvisational structures offered. I loved dancing in a large group, as an ensemble, there was so much to feed off and enjoy.

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It was wonderful to be approached to host the AVS Lab, SiD leant that there is a need for a workshop of this nature and the experience brings so much to dancers and artists living and working in Shropshire and for those living outside in the surrounding regions. Maybe this is the beginning of a bi-annual opportunity and future collaborations ?
Thank you AVS Lab for this brilliant opportunity.

Rachel Liggitt, SiD Co- Director.

This AVS Lab was supported by Candoco Dance Company, The Place and Arts Council England. Thank you to Basil Houghton Memorial Trust for funding SiD received to host the AVS Lab.

Photography is by Ewen Macintyre.

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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Opening the Treasure Chest, The project begins !

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‘Opening The Treasure Chest’ is a creative project for people with learning disabilities who are living with loss and bereavement. The first workshop was held on Thursday 21st March at The Hive in Shrewsbury. The workshop felt very positive and wove between, movement and dance  tasks and times for talking and sharing. It felt like the whole group was on a journey together and supported and nurtured each other throughout. For more infomation about this project contact Ray Jacobs 07817194644