Performances, teaching and travelling!!
This weeks blogs cover Chris and Sals views of all things that have taken place over the last few weeks for the company. It has been a very busy period for JSDC with lots of workshops based on 'theory,' several performances, huge amounts of travelling and all the regular teaching work! A huge thank you to all the continued support and make sure you catch our last performance of the current tour at Milton Keynes next weekend! Details on the website and social media.
Well, I'm not quite sure how we did it but... By Tuesday of week 2 we had our piece. 14 mins and 37 seconds of explosive movement, discerning text and dramatic silences. The realisation that we had come to a suitable ending for the piece is always a strange feeling, as one is never quite sure where/if ever anything is truely finished. We wondered if the end actually symbolised a beginning of a new story/chapter, but given the time restraints of our premiere, we rounded it off in a way we thought worked. From then on Jack really put us dancers through our paces, run after run, notes after notes, run after run. Over 2 days we ran the piece 20 times! As tiring as this was, some incredible emotions came out during the dancing and speaking, showing our exhaustion turning to desperation. One of our best runs was in fact the final one of the day in which the intensity and emotion of the piece really shined through. The beauty of repeating so many times was that our stamina vastly increased, as did our muscle memory, and connection to each other as we became more and more in tune with the characters we had created for ourselves.
Friday came and performance day was on us. Teaching a creative and repertoire class to the current 2nd years at the NSCD proved scary at first, yet after seeing their hunger for learning and movement, we at once felt at ease. Our teaching style is very relaxed, bouncing ideas off each other, chipping in when required and keeping a calm yet hardworking attitude in the studio.
A simple lighting design perfectly reflected the feeling of the piece, however, after a stroke of luck involving sweaty dancers and the removal of certain parts of costumes, the artistic decision to perform topless was the common consensus and in the end proved beautiful.
After a break of a few (very long and dull) days, us 3 were finally reunited, in the sunny town of Great Yarmouth, teaching a 5 hour long workshop to year seven boys. At first, we were apprehensive, not knowing how much/if any contemporary dance had been introduced to these boys. As it turns out, the week before the boys had taken part in a workshop with Rebourne/lord of the flies and so where to an extent, familiar. I was so surprised at how these boys took to our tasks with energy, focus and determination, it was truely heartwarming to see young boys enjoying dance so much. They all had the opportunity to perform twice at the end and after talking about confidence and stage presence, the progression from one performance to the next was incredible. A truly inspirational day.
As well as performing the duet for the school children and teachers (topless and censored) we then went on to perform as part of the Swaversy Festival, performing alongside the children who attend Jack's dance class. It's was great for the children to see what Jack is capable of outside of teaching them and I hope that we inspired a few of them to continue dancing. A great few days with my favourite boys, doing what we all do best - dancing.
The last few weeks has seen JSDC very busy and working on beast mode to rehearse and master 'Theory' in preparation for our performances at NSCD and Swavesey Festival.
We have been working in the studio to feel every movement and meticulously expand on every detail in run through after run through of the piece. The connection between myself and Sal within the piece grows every time we perform; it also changes every time. We find something new for ourselves every time we adventure into the piece as if it were new again. Spending the time warming up together allows us to connect with the piece and what we are about to do on stage; though I feel that we are 2 people living the moment of 'Theory' rather than performing it. As we do the piece over again, the text always means more to me than the previous time; as well as this, I can remember every part of being on stage in 'Theory' which is something that I have never experienced before.
JSDC has also been teaching this last week at Caister High School. We put the boys through their paces with a high energy warm up where we had them hurtling around the school hall, diving, rolling, and running! Having them do the same creative tasks that we did during the creative process was very interesting; they came up with so many things hat we never thought of ourselves. We were surrounded by such a creative bunch and the way they threw themselves into every task we set them was inspiring, and very rewarding, to see! We led them through a challenging phrase from the piece which they tackled with great energy. The work that they created at the end of the day was fantastic and it was a real pleasure to see them get so involved and show a tremendous amount of commitment to our work and their own. A challenge myself and Sal faced was to then perform to the year 7 pupils with very short preparation time. This is always a test of how quickly we can become connected and live the piece again.
As a company, we are extremely excited about 'Theory' and we cannot wait to teach at more schools and then perform in Milton Keynes next week.