EDGE is the postgraduate performance company at LCDS and a core part of the learning experience for the students on that course is to work with external artists to create new choreographic works, and then explore the demands of performing these works to different audiences. Usually this involves touring nationally and internationally but because of the current restrictions on travelling and performing we worked to create films from the live works so that we could reach wider audiences despite the smaller tour. For the creation of the works for stage and film we chose these three exciting artists because they had previously worked in the School and we knew that they would be able to devise and hold a rehearsal process that would challenge the dancers whilst also including them in conversations around what it is to make contemporary dance work across different media in these difficult times. These artists are, in different ways, dealing with the quickly shifting contexts for how choreography is made and seen and they were able to share these experiences with the students to give them valuable insights into the professional context they will soon be entering.
In all three devising processes the dancers were challenged in different ways to create movement material in response to questions and tasks set by the choreographers. Sometimes this entailed watching videos of animal movements, or dance routines from ‘00s girl groups (see if you can spot which!),or responding to words and images. In all three works the dancers have enjoyed being able to adapt material to their own bodies, to propose choreographic ideas and contribute to the world of the work, and to challenge themselves to explore the different modes of embodiment that each choreography demands. Along the way this raised discussions within the studio around notions of grief and loss, on the conventions of human behaviour and performance, and around sexuality and gender identity. These discussions were supported through a lecture series and some of the dancers are continuing to explore these ideas in their own research projects as part of the MA.
The live works served as a basis for the films and they share common structures and design. The major difference is in how the filmmakers have been able to immerse you into the worlds of the works, getting closer to the dancers than would normally be permitted in a theatre, and closer than social distancing currently allows! We followed the strict guidelines set out for professional filming and performing to allow the dancers and crew to work safely in proximity and without masks.
You can also find out more about 'The Making Of' Holly Blakey's film 'Phantom' by visiting Fact Magazines website
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