I’ve now done funded work on Phrases for like 3 weeks and Footnotes for like 3 weeks as well and i’ve done two performances of each show since the beginning of December. This week i’m working on Phrases at the University of Lincoln where I was lecturing in the Autumn. (My thoughts and accounts of my experiences are coming out very robotically which I'm putting down to one handed typing). Today I've mostly been trying to involve my face more in my improvised dancing and I've been making little videos which may inform the making of the piece in some direct or indirect way.
My work has been somewhat redirected since I sustained a fairly serious hand injury a couple of weeks ago (it got crushed and broken in a metal sculpture and needed surgery). This means that my tendency to indulge in rolling on the floor has been interrupted but maybe this is a good thing despite the fact that the nature of my activities has become more like that of office work i.e. sitting down and typing...with one hand...but it's all part of the rich tapestry of life I suppose. Just remembering that my last blog entry also recounted a bloody injury so my maybe my life tapestry is not all that rich in variety just rich in blood. That sounds pretty cool actually in a fight club kind of way...but I suppose this is only two injuries over three years so not really that regular so never mind the Pitt comparison, I’m much more of a Norton anyway. Today I managed to move away from the computer quite a lot though which feels like both a dance win and a recovery win.
Anyway maybe some reflecting on the past few months...
I did a 45 minute version of Phrases (longest ever and maybe a mistake) at Attenborough Arts Centre in December. It was good, I learned some things... I think I learned that in terms of the projected text less can definitely be more...I think I've fallen out of love with the blue costume/contemporary dance bare feet idea so defaulting to jeans, trainers and t-shirt...I'm also rethinking the scores I'm using for movement, there is some unexplored variety to find.
I then went into a studio at De Montfort University for two weeks, one either side of Christmas to work on Footnotes, which was great but also weird. Quite a long time to be on one's own but some things solidified and I got some good writing done plus had a great open studio session with Conor from the MA course, Scarlett Turner and Lee, Shannon and Louisa of Near Miss Company which was very fun.
Next thing was two days at Laurie Grove thinking and talking about Phrases with Stephanie McMann and Charles Linehan. A key thing I learned about Phrases in December was that it effectively sets an atmosphere, which is quite meditative but doesn't change that at all for a long time and I decided it would be good to discuss possibilities for a gear shift. Charles and Steph were both great at helping me throw ideas around about what this could look like and now there are some great possibilities in the air...some of which were very surprising, some of which were fucking hilarious and some of which related to gardening, who knows where they will go.
After this there was another day with Steph which was spent doing some dancing and talking in response to some improvisation scores and talking about the practice of improv and ways to open up new characters, and textures and variety when moving. This was totally great dance food. We also got majorly distracted by a police incident outside.
The next day myself Matt Cawrey and James Hissett (media braintrust) began work on the oblique marketing idea of making little character vignette poem videos which are really fun, we knocked out three that day, JEFF, ALLEN and GREG and slow released them.
I was booked in on the bill to perform Footnotes at This Is Where It's At, a work in progress night at Yorkshire Dance on March 2nd and hadn't thought about it for a while so panic ensued. I booked a few days at York Dance Space and immediately knew that I would probably waste those days with procrastination if I didn't have someone with me...I had a feeling that my friend Tiia Ojala would be a great rehearsal director/outside eye owing to her good nature and impeccable taste and I was proved correct when she helped my rework the show to a really good place over three days (coinciding with a fuck load of snow) we also danced together a lot and read about Meg Stuart and listened to this sexy song about Steve…Only You - Steve Monite. The show then went very well at YD.
Ten days later after my move to London it came time to perform Phrases again at the Omnibus theatre thanks to my friend Barnaby Booth. I was exhausted from some other work which had totally killed me off but employed several new elements from my conversations with Steph and Charles and to the best of my knowledge they went down very well despite some negative written feedback from a couple of audience members which I actually liked as I disagreed with them and I'm becoming more okay with not pleasing everyone.
The following Sunday my hand got royally ripped into by a man's bodyweight and a steel hinge. Two days later I had surgery to stitch the bugger up and pin the bones together and in the glow of opiates and lingering local anaesthetic I decided to go ahead with my performance of Footnotes at Camden People's Theatre two days later. I made a meagre attempt to extend a couple of sections to pad it out from the 15 minute Yorkshire Dance version but it didn't get much longer but I felt that was excusable. It went really well despite the fact I was high and quite tender. Still waiting on the audience feedback but I'm happy with how the footage looks and I'm aware of some new things to try out. Following this was a supposed week at Camden People's Theatre working on the show. I managed to pull myself together for two days of this and not an immense amount of 'work' was done but I danced a bit and I sat and thought and this felt somewhat productive.
Now is my Lincoln week, I've already mentioned a bit but more time with the marketing braintrust was good bank holiday fun on Monday and through the week I've had some open conversations with Eleanor Sikorski about practice and art and creative things which have been great for helping me frame my practice...I don't know what I mean by that but it encapsulates what I think happened in my brain as a result of talking with her.
This is like nearly 4 months worth of blog, I wonder who got this far reading it...writing this on my phone on a train so I'll just send a message to future me when he's at a computer...LEWYS! Put some pictures, links or videos on this thing to spice it up a bit for christ's sake.
Love to all you dedicated readers and also to those who skipped stuff