For all the restrictions we’ve had to live with and adapt to over the past year, from a professional/artistic perspective I’ve found there to have been some real silver linings. Among the topmost is how being limited to working remotely has opened up opportunities for a number of unplanned and unexpected collaborations - some involving people I had worked with previously but hadn’t expected to see again quite so soon, such as former Ballet Cymru dancers who had moved on to new projects in other parts of the world, and others with people I’d never worked with before, and in most cases had not even met when the lockdowns began.
Generally following interactions on social media, the latter group has so far included Aidan Shiels, Sarah Nolan, Laure Dubanet, Jack Philps, Gaia Cicolani, Emma Jenkins, Sarah Jane Taylor, and Oliver Robertson - wonderful dancers working in a range of disciplines and traditions, and variously located in France, Portugal, Wales, Italy and England.
Sarah and Oliver are dancers with the contemporary dance company James Wilton Dance, who generously invited me to draw during a class and rehearsal (itself split between two UK locations), and then to explore poses and passages of movement for potential paintings. As with all the work I’ve been doing during this period, and all the dancers who have been involved, it was inspiring to see these artists at work, adapting and responding to circumstances, and pushing their practice forward.
As much as I'm looking forward to getting back in the studio with Ballet Cymru and meeting new members of the company as they refine their long-delayed production of Giselle, I’m thankful to have had this opportunity to work with so many talented dancers from further afield, and hope it will continue through the coming months and beyond the current crisis. The ideas and techniques - such as they are - that developed through necessity are now part of my creative life, and will undoubtedly inform my future work. I’m claiming this as a big positive.
For further information about Ballet Cymru, please see here.
For futher information about Jack Philp and Gaia Cicolani, please see here.
For further information about James Wilton Dance, please see here.