This project is a very special experimental opportunity – I am really interested in finding the intersection between structure and freedom, improvisation and direction, collectity and intimacy. All this inspired by my work with people with Parkinson’s over the years, and what I have heard, seen and learned from the dancers as we’ve explored creatively and over conversation together.Danielle Teale
The workshop took an improvisatory approach to the key themes of sculpture, play, connection, trust and support. In particular, aiming for dancers to build bonds with one another and feel a sense of achievement in a short space of time.
This project brings together professional artists (dance, music and visual arts) and dancers with Parkinson’s, to collaborate together as equals. The first day of the project was therefore primarily to enable these contributors to bond together and find a common ground in their enjoyment and interest in the project, its themes, and dancing as a whole. Working alongside, rather than in a hierarchic way in a project of this kind requires active listening on both sides, clarity in and an understanding of roles in order that everyone is exploring and contributing together, without it feeling that there are any uncomfortable power dynamics at play. I hope the end result will be an organically created performance in which all dancers work together and no distinction is made between leader or follower, professional or non professional. I believe that as professional community artists we learn just as much from the dancers we work with than they from us. So what is shared will be truly equal if the contributing artists are entering into this process expecting to learn, to be moved, and to be challenged by the dancers with Parkinson’s…Danielle Teale
Movement in the workshop included lead and follow partner tasks, sculpture building as a collective and in quartets / trios, physical exploration of opposites in dynamic and energy, taking up space, challenging our use of spaces in between bodies. Captured by one of our collaborating artists Sara Hibbert, whose work inspired by the dance process will be shown in an exhibition at Poplar Union in July.
Some of the main features of my recent work have been conversation and collaboration – opening peoples eyes to the possibilities of creative movement with dancers with Parkinson’s, and how much we can learn when we have a human dialogue and interaction with our dancers, asking their opinions and hearing their stories. I want to blur the boundaries of lead and follow, and consider what is possible when the enquiries come directly from the dancers experience as a whole person, not how we can tailor dance only to meet one facet of their identity as people with Parkinson’s. If we open our eyes to the whole story of individual people we move with, we can be moved by their contributions and taken to much more exciting creative possibilities than we are able to create on our own.Danielle Teale
The workshop was followed by a lunch and sharing of conversation, thoughts and experiences over food – the best place to share is at the table!