In September I was invited by Dance4 to work with Gary Clarke during his project The Choreographer Lab. The residency was a Research and Development Project funded by Arts Council England, that explores the craft of choreography and allows for experimentation with different methodologies or approaches used to devise work. The aim was to provide established dance artists, also including Abi Mortimer, Robert Clark and Gavin Coward, the chance to share and exchange their experiences with making work. Myself and three other local dance artists (Laura Savage, Tom Howells and Ian Dolan) were asked to be part of this process as ‘thinking dancers’, allowing the choreographers to experiment with their devising ideas amongst a group of dancers. I was also additionally invited into the choreographer’s discussion session to contribute, question and explore choreographic methodology within the creative process, which is extremely aligned with my own artistic concerns and it was very exciting to be part of. Our time together was made up of discussions, questions, making art installations, reading, drawing, writing, dancing, creating and laughing. We felt that there was an element of ‘choreographic counselling’ and at times ‘life counselling’ as we began to unpick and wrestle with our artistry. Below are some of my own personal findings and questions during this investigation:
- What is your motive for making?
- How do you know it’s time to move on to the next ‘stage’ of the creative process?
“Choreography and dancing are two distinct and very different practices.” William Forsythe
- We learn through doing and failing, mostly failing.
“I don’t know what I’m doing!”
- Performance reviews are concerned with the result and so much emphasis goes on the product of performance that quite often the process of performance making is never really revealed.