Archive for the ‘choreography’ Category

Choreography thoughts…

June 1, 2008

Working with Oily Cart as a choreographer has been unlike any other working experience I have had.

In my choreography for my own company I am increasingly in favour of leaving movement unset in order to give my dancers the opportunity to keep playing with what they’re doing until the final stages of rehearsal and sometimes in performance as well. But before the Pool Piece, I had never been involved in making something in which the audience dictates what happens to such an extent that absolutely anything could be a possibility.

What a fantastic opportunity for an audience to have! If you don’t like bubbles, fair enough, here’s a sponge for you! Not impressed by that? Take this umbrella! It really is testament to the generosity of the creative team behind Oily Cart and the performers’ ability to remain totally unphased by all eventualities that there is sufficient space within the Pool Piece for the audience to make their mark on their journey round the pool.

Some of my favourite things I’ve witnessed from the pool side or experienced for myself during rehearsals for the Pool Piece have been colanders pouring into pools of light, masses of bubbles, getting very wet (and dry), Gong’s ‘hello’ song – well, all the songs in fact – and the often startling effect all these have on the young people who explore the treasures of the pool. I say startling because the visitors’ responses can be so unlike anything you’d expect, because clearly the Pool Piece experience is such a break from routine for those young people.

For me the most valuable things I have learnt while working with Oily Cart and have emphasised in my role as choreographer have been:

  • how engaging simple things can be
  • the extent to which we can all benefit from maintaining a sense of curiosity towards all things – it’s more relevant to play and participate than make assumptions and structure meticulously in this work (so unfortunately the synchronised swimming idea went out the window!)
  • the importance of maintaining a group focus, or collecting things back together (e.g. at the sound of the gong)
  • and once again that all things are options. I taught a dance workshop in a primary school a couple of weeks ago and a boy at the front stood and stared at me for the first half an hour without moving a muscle. All his friends kept muttering and telling me that James always did this – I replied that if that’s what James wanted to do, they should let him get on with it. By the time they weren’t noticing him any more he’d joined in, absolutely no problem. I thank the team at Oily Cart for teaching me about patience and openness and the wonderful results they can yield (and also for the fact that now when someone asks me whether we’ll be needing water for a workshop/new project I hesitate ever so slightly and wonder whether they mean water to drink, or water to swim through!)

Thank you thank you to everyone, and I can’t wait to see the first performances next week!