Sunday 26 February 2012

lost in translation

What a difference a couple of days make. Co-facilitating a workshop with Entelechy Arts over the weekend completely shed new light on my scheduled discussion with Dr Trish Lyons and dance artist Laura Glaser at Siobhan Davies Studios the previous Friday. Then we had talked about issues relating to language, interpretation and translation when developing Stairwell Suite, the main exhibit in my current show at the studios.

In order to weave the stairwell and perform Stairwell Suite, the
information and instructions on lacemaking and needlecraft imparted to the dancers needed translating, and a new terminology developed. The crossing of two lines for example would not adequately be described as a turn or a cross, as with bobbin lace, but as a handshake between two dancers, with either the back of the hand or palm facing each other.

Stairwell Suite was the result of a negotiation between space, material and the dancers, but in hindsight, the development of the work was made harder by focusing too much on making and materials, and not enough on the social context of the piece and interaction between the dancers. While my own understanding and memory of the piece is closely connected to the making, theirs relates to the embodiment of choreographed sequences in space and time. It was always my intention to use the collaboration to allow the choreography room for deconstruction and reinvention of some basic elements of stitching and weaving, but technique at times did get in the way. Memo to myself, I should practice more what I preach!

This was highlighted during the Entelechy workshop at the weekend. Working with balls of yarn and a large tangle of threads, the workshop allowed participants to engage in an unprecious and spontaneous way. Rebecca Swift, Entelechy Arts’s creative producer summed it up well: “the materials created a theatrical space for our imagination, feelings and projections. Somewhere everyone recognised the pile of tangled of string, and immediately knew what to do with it.”

I’ll let the images below speak for themselves. Click here for film and comments by David Slater at Entelechy Arts. Meanwhile, I’m off to sign up for a much needed movement improvisation class.

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