This workshop insight contributed by Sally Varrall, supporting artist on the CID project, offers thoughts on visibility within the frame of seeing & being seen, in the week 3 CID workshop led by Casson & Friends.
In the exploratory phase of the workshop we were invited to work with a partner, with one dancer beginning the spatial journey of an imaginary thread, making clear the end of the journey enabling their partner to continue. This also became a group improvisation with three dancers initiating a thread weaving a journey, finding stillness, until the thread was temporarily accompanied by a different dancer. The exploratory nature of these improvisations brought heightened awareness to the moment of connection (for me) with another dancer.
In the performative phase of the workshop we were invited to share the dances we made (our morning breakfasts) in a fairly formal format (in front of black drapes), set up to allow for the dance to be filmed and the dancers to be visibly captured on camera – capturing our dancing identities.
Discussing the essence of identity, Fraleigh (in Carter, 1998) refers to the process of looking at dance reveals its identity – its individuality. This has resonance with the focus of this project on Collective Identity, and more specifically suggests the dance we made provides a consensual, collective experience within which the dancers show their distinctive individuality.
Week 3 of the CID project saw us play together with the concepts of narrative and storytelling led by Casson and Friends artist Chloe Mead. We developed close personal duet material which we shared together for the rest of the group.
We connect through the body, senses and eyes. I learn about you. You learn about me. We play together. Moving, connecting, smiling. The more we play, the more we understand each other. We begin to take risks, pushing the other with a sense of lightness and intrigue. Respect. We begin to bend the rules, finding our own language and code. Rewriting the rules to our very own game. We share an understanding. An experience. A connection.
Play provides space for rich explorations and meaningful connections. I encountered a genuine sense of play throughout the session this week. It allowed me to connect with the other dancers with lightness and curiosity as we played together. Providing a safe space for personalities and identities to emerge within the room.
by Ella Fleetwood
Ella Fleetwood (Dance Collaborator for the CID Project) reflects on play as practice in the third week of the CID project
One of the values underpinning the CID project is bringing visibility to people with Parkinson’s and their contribution to the dance community. This has been a featured topic in our discussion groups at the end of each weekly workshop.
I found it difficult to talk about the project to others afterwards, difficult to convey how special it felt. So (as we discussed in the feedback session) visibility feels especially important. Many of us know what it feels like to be embarrassed by the effects of Parkinson’s and the feeling that we have to hide the symptoms. Here is our chance to do the opposite: to stand up and be seen, maybe even shout about it. The fact that we are working towards a final sharing event which perhaps includes some kind of performance means that, if the telling is difficult, we can show what we mean.
Kate Swindlehurst, dancer
The visual arts element of the project was designed to bring visibility to the work and to reframe the dancing body through the artists lens. In week 3 of the CID project we experimented with framing portraits of the dancers during the workshop led by Chloe Mead. The workshop focused on individual storytelling and narrative, and the resulting images bring a personal insight to the dance experience, connections we have made, and the willingness shown by our wonderful dance collaborators, to share and be seen.