How strange that it almost feels like the end of a year in some way. I think that perhaps it is because my rhythm is still in that of the English school with Summer marking a time for reflection and looking forward. Moreover, the recent submission of a big funding bid has me in this space of purgatory and in between. So, in spirit of my sharing on here, I want to share lessons from a variety of experience since I first moved to Cardiff in September 2021. I hope these short phrases may prove as a fruit for your own chewing and nourishment.
National Dance Company Wales’ Laboratori 2021
Coming out of a European Theatre training, this was the first gig and first time using dance as a word in my professional practice. I would say that imposter syndrome was the biggest challenge here, and knowing that my voice was one of a unique sound was an important lesson. I was awe-inspired by the dexterity and expressivity of the dancers and this made me feel like a unicyclist on a ski slope. But, with movement, I realised we were all saying the same thing, even if speaking a different language.
Key takeaway: An orchestra is comprised of many different voices. Each matters.
Pink by Yos Theatre
Working with Rhys Horton on Pink was a great experience to see if it was possible to put on a show at a theatre with just two of us on our first year out of Rose Bruford College. We did this, performing Pink at Camden People’s Theatre in March 2022. It required a lot of dedication and we had a lot of unpaid time. But, we did it and we made about 50 quid each in the end.
Key takeaway: The relationship between friendship and partnership is one that should be discussed and dissected.
Letters to the Rain as part of Volcano Theatre’s Solo Duets for the Future
This was a great experience to connect with Volcano who are such a friendly venue. I deeply appreciated their time and energy in supporting my experimentation for Rain Pours Like Coffee Drops. Letters to the Rain allowed me to really dig into ideas of site-reactivity and the curation of space and it was great to share something more improvised with an audience and gauge a response.
Key takeaway: the space is everchanging and as such we must accept that we are ever changing.
Rain Pours Like Coffee Drops as part of Richard Chappell Dance’s Supporting Acts
Richard has been a continual mentor and friend since moving to Cardiff and he has been extremely influential in helping me feel like I have become part of the South Wales dance scene. He speaks with honesty and directness, which is what I need, inspiring me to be bold, teaching me to self-produce and helping me understand my creative voice. Working with Faye Stoeser was a privilege and allowed a great insight into how a work reacts with different bodies. This was the first time Rain Pours found itself on a female-identifying body.
Key takeaway: communication goes beyond words. It goes to the openness to experience and the ability to be present with another.
Butoh Workshop Wales
This was a great training week that I felt I must include, even though I paid for it with support from Creu Cymru. The reason being is that this movement style and the teachings of Marie-Gabrielle Rotie and Nick Parkin resonated with my creative voice and the avenues I have been researching with a beautiful ringing. There are plenty of lessons I learned during this week, one of the foremost being how to learn. However, to put it into one takeaway….
Key takeaway: Art grows like nature, with patience. Feed it over time, give it water, sunlight, different foods, and with time it shall bear fruit.
There are plenty of other lessons from plenty of other people, yet I shall keep these bound in the paper of my notebooks. I hope that this Summer offers a chance for a soft reflection of your brilliant journey.