April saw me in Romania making a new disability-led work with Agape Orphange and the communities of Sercaia and Fagaras. Now I am collaborating with folks with dementia in Stirling recording the sounds of dance workshops for an installation in macrobert centre; and am also creating a new performance event with sculptor Claire Barclay.
Romania was extraordinary. The energy and enthusiasm of the people bowled me over. The project is hosted by Agape, a forward thinking orphanage for disabled children and young people in Sercaia in Transylvania and funded by ResiDance one of the European network partners for Community Dance. I am Creative Director of this three year development project that aims to share the concepts, philosophy and practice of community dance with local dance artists and participants. The fact that it is disability-led at its starting point is profoundly political and exciting in equal measure. Workshops in the morning were in the gym hall of the local primary school and had upwards of 40 people in them including experienced disabled people, kids from the school and, as word spread, grannies and other folks from the village ! In the afternoons, we made a piece in the Casa de Cultura in Fagaras. There were 45 performers aged 4 upwards. The daily warm-up was joined by an ever increasing variety of aunts, neighbours, brothers…..!
We performed in the auditorium as the seats in the newly renovated auditorium were not yet installed. A great opportunity indeed to make a site-responsive work. Photographs will be up on the site soon. I go back to Romania in November to work with and mentor local artists and organisations, as well as involving dance artists from Germany and Italy who are engaged in disability-led dance practice. It is a great opportunity.
Here in Scotland I am collaborating with TownBreak day services for people with dementia in Stirling. The residency is hosted by the macrobert centre as part of their Big Dance Scotland programme. I am recording the sounds of our dance workshops and working with MJ McCarthy to create a sound-loop that will capture the energy of the workshops and the presence and contribution of the participants. Accompanied by photographs of participants by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan this will be an immersive exhibition experience, guided by the things that hold meaning for the people who created it. You can see/hear it at macrobert …..[dates 17 – 21 June and link]
And the work with Clare Barclay is part of Generation. Hosted by the amazing Hospitalfield in Arbroath, Clare and I are collaborating in residence at Hospitalfield to create an experimental performance event that draws on the roots, essences and overlapping fundamentals of our different practices. It is really exciting for me to research and reflect on my own work and way of making work through the eyes of a sculptor. We are both pushing our own boundaries, as Clare says, that is true collaboration.