What a week it has been, such a week in fact, I don’t quite know where to start this weeks blog. So many things to talk about.
Friday evening saw JSDC perform Man Up. Man up is a solo exploration around toxic masculinity and the effects that it can have on one persons life. Man Up was also the first time that I had performed a solo in close to 6 years, the last time I performed a solo was my final year exam piece at Northern.
So the day started with a few hours by myself in the studio, working slowly through the piece and just recapping what had been created. The weeks process to create the piece had been a fairly smooth ride. There were times where I was on a role and other times where I needed to step back and allow time for things to settle or formulate further, as I have said before the one thing I found hardest was the change of pace. Working with dancers and being able to express to them what I saw and that these changes should happen, was an immediate answer. With a solo, something I really like and will be keeping, is how slowly it allowed me to assess everything. Each time, watching and rewatching, taking notes, exploring those notes and then trying another run and repeating that process. It became quite organic to rely on the thoughts and feelings of the run rather than always just relying on the video, so this is something that will be more important now in future rehearsal periods. Not just for solo works but for group works, I always relied on dancer feedback and personal expression but I think it will become more important now.
At 2.30 my tech run started, this was were being a solo performer really started to show some new challenges I hadn’t thought about. The first was being able to see what the movement would look like in the lighting. So it was a combination or relying on my knowledge and trusting myself. Then to look back at the film footage and take notes. These notes will help develop the look and feel for the next set of performances look like. The three runs went well, small mistakes in all but nothing that an audience would notice, but it was interesting getting to watch the three runs back and how they changed. I always push my dancers for a more personal story each time they perform and getting to watch that back, on mussels, was quite interesting how my story developed.
Performance time... We had a dress run before the show, allowing us to watch the three other works was a great moment to relax and enjoy other artists sharing their newest works. I got off stage after my run which went well and had a really bad headache and was like uh no! But some yoga, good bit of food, some ibuprofen and time just hiding in my dressing room cleared that up and then just nervous energy took over. It was a weird feeling and one I wasn’t entirely sure how to deal with, all the old training kicked in but time just flew by. Then, the time came to perform and then I was taking my bow. I wish I had recorded it as it went well, I think. It moved and felt really powerful, the audience hiding or recoiling at the right moments laughing at times and also letting me in on the journey and feeling those soft and tender moments. It was a really fun performance, I’m looking forward to developing and performing this piece again.
After the show, there was a chance for the audience to come and discuss with all of the artists about their work. It was a really intense discussion for an hour and a half talking through what worked, what didn’t, what made sense, what needs clarifying, does the order work, what stories did the audience make, what would people like to see and how it develops. All this and so much more was discussed. Man Up has only just begun its development and the possible progression that has been discussed is very exciting and I look forward to being able to push this work further than any of JSDCs work so far. There will hopefully be some photos from the day that I can share, thank you to everyone at the Garage, all in productions, Dee, Dan and Smithy for their support in the studio. To Oli for working so quickly and producing an incredible score and the audience that came and supported us all on Friday and for helping shape the next steps for Man Up. To friends and family that have offered support and creative input throughout the first part of this creation.
See you all next week!