Hello again, the time has come for another blog instalment from me, to share some of the antics I have been getting up to over the past month which has included presentations, performances and even getting some of the museum staff dancing.
July started with the Tidemill Academy Cultural Explorers giving a wonderful presentation to some museum staff about the work they had been doing over the summer term, which they did with such brilliant confidence and enthusiasm. The museum staff were extremely impressed with their creative and imaginative ideas and are working on ways in which they can be fed into aspects of the museum’s future exhibitions and galleries. I very much look forward to working with the Cultural Explores again in the autumn term, as well as lots of other Tidemill Academy students, on a dance project that will culminate in a performance at The National Maritime Museum in late 2015.
Next up were the performances of There are only encounters, which myself and dancer Ingrid Hatleskog presented in and around the Queen’s House on a not so sunny Sunday afternoon (thankfully the rain held off for the outside sections of the piece!). We led three groups of audience around the house, asking them to linger in certain places to watch more movement based material, almost like a mini-dance tour. There was such a great atmosphere in the house on the day and what I particularly enjoyed about the performances was that as the piece progressed throughout the house, more and more visitors joined the route and became audience members. We received some really great feedback from people about the piece and it was a great way to say goodbye to the Queen’s House for a year, while it gets its revamp.
“It was like an embodied tour, the rooms felt more alive. I have never been to the Queen’s House before and it was a lovely introduction.” – Audience member
For this month’s Explorer Family session we left our base camp (RE·THINK space) and ventured out on a dance trail around The Great Map, where the families found their own expedition routes around the world. We also explored the museum’s Traders Gallery; where the families were given the task choose various objects or items they were particularly drawn to, make a physical dance response to that item and then document their response using an iPad. The group captured some great responses and we really enjoyed journeying to other parts of the museum.
Whilst I am doing my residency I am really keen to engage museum staff in my work and practice as much as I can, whether it is, as audience members, advisors or even participants in some dance activities. This is important to me not only because I have so much to learn from the staff here, but also because I would like to offer them the opportunity to think about and engage with some of the museum themes and collections in alternative ways, through movement and dance. Therefore, last week I ran my first dance workshop for staff at the museum, in which we did some movement sequences and tasks focused on the connection between exploration and the body, working with themes such as disorientation, orbiting, tracing and re-tracing. A great group of people came along who were enthusiastic to get moving and work collaboratively with staff members from different departments of the museum. I look forward to the next session later this month.
And lastly I am really excited to announce that as a part of my residency I will be making a dance film in collaboration with dance artist and videographer Stacie Lee Bennett that will be installed into the RE·THINK artist studio later this year. The concept for the film is based around responding to numerous diverse landscapes in the UK, from Scotland to Cornwall, through dance and film, considering how a choreographer can become an explorer of land and sea. We are also hoping to make connections with some of the Traveller’s Tails partner museums (The Hunterian– Glasgow and the Captain Cook Memorial Museum– Whitby). We are starting filming in mid-August, so will keep you posted on our adventures.
Until next time.