Co3 in association with STEPS Youth Dance Company presents at daCi 2015:
A world premiere performance, You be my mirror is a new work created by former STEPS Youth Dance Company Artistic Director, Alice Lee Holland, in collaboration with six young Western Australian dancers and delivers on the Congress theme of “Identity”.
The dancers have been invited by Alice to attend daCi. They are former STEPS Youth Dance Company members and current members of the Co3 Youth Ensemble.
Free to be me is a research presentation of STEPS Youth Dance Company as a youth company that offered a truly extraordinary experiences for young dancers; a unique and alternative approach to dance, which prioritised the development of young dancers as independent, imaginative, expressive and confident individuals. Presented by Alice Lee Holland and former senior company member, Jacinta Larcombe. Over 25 years STEPS devised and delivered extraordinary experiences for young dancers in Western Australia. This research presentation unpacks the extraordinary history of the company and its philosophy and methodology in delivering programs for young people. STEPS engaged young dancers in an experience that promoted dance as a means for them to be free to be themselves; to explore, to fail, to share, to learn, to shift and grow. The Lecture Sharing focuses on how STEPS encouraged and enabled this expression in young dancers within the artistic program. The importance of this will be discussed through a case study of a former senior STEPS dancer, Jacinta Larcombe, and her journey through the company, to find her own adult identity.
Identifying your signature.
How do I identify my unique/signature dancing /moving body?
Presented by Alice Lee Holland and Jacinta Larcombe, and dancers, Identifying your signature has been designed specifically for the Congress, to ‘unpack’ the creative process of the performance of You be my mirror and will be based in improvisation and imitation.
The 90-minute workshop is led Alice Lee Holland, assisted by the dancers.
The pairing of the performance and workshop at the Congress offers delegates a deeper insight into the work of Alice Lee Holland.
You be my mirror was created especially for daCi 2015, in line with the congress theme “Exploring Identities in Dance”. Over a weeklong intensive in April, the dancers and I worked together to discover and develop their individual, unique movement personalities; then they shared them with each other. Our piece is based on the idea that we learn more about ourselves when we’re in conversation with each other.
– Alice Lee Holland
Below is the description each dancer has developed about their own movement personality, and a sample of the other dancers’ understanding.
I move like a poisonous animal. Constantly aware and careful, with an overwhelming elastic tension. My movements are purposeful and voluminous, trying to reach out through the walls around me, eating the space. Every now and again, the elastic in my body snaps, releasing the energetic tension in poisonous flicks. Quick flicks with open palms and spread fingers, twisted spine with bent arms and legs moving within the socket. "Moves throughout the space travelling with large lunges and symmetrical arms." - Emma "A fierce energy with precision that draws you in and leaves you wanting more" - Tessa "Elastic, cat like movements, changing direction randomly" - Alex
Alex De Prazer
Suspended and swirling movements that change direction but flow evenly. Head down following the patterns the feet are making. Slowing down at the height and then falling through the body. "Alex moves like an action hero in a hurricane. Contained and controlled, yet moving with the unpredictability of swinging weight." - Rhiana. "Drop catch swings with suspensions until release in a corridor space, downward focus with energy flying out." - Emma. "Smooth windmill with a touch of angst, whilst dozing off." - Jack.
Dancing freely, ripple turning body, suspension until fly out in different directions. Arms spin until body catches up leading in with suspension and then catch. "Emma moves like a wave constantly at its peak, always on the brink of crashing, but never tumbling over." - Rhiana. "A dancing ribbon being gracefully twirled." - Tessa. "Wind, water flowing, floating, hovering" - Alex.
Just not quite there yet, close but no cigar. Ideas that are new in the head, not necessarily the body. Intention carried out but not complete. It worked. 3/16 possibility. Ready to fall yet I catch myself before I do. Unique, interesting, but not polished. Will be ready soon but not in the present. "Jack moves like a slow motion rollercoaster with sometimes dysfunctional breaks." - Rhiana. "Sense of twist suspension then heavy release throughout, off balance spins into fall and catch rebounding." - Emma. "No limits, no balance, a connection with all that surrounds." - Tessa.
When I move I sort of zone out from everything else and focus on the piece of floor just in front of me. Nearly all I think about is what I'm doing, what I have to do next and what my movement quality is. I know that my movement has a lot of pressure, tension and resistance, I also know that I have very curly wrists and that it's "like the twisting roots of a tree". "Otto moves like a water bender, manipulating the air between his hands as if it was tangible." - Rhiana. "Body closed and grounded with wide open palm and short tension until together, twisted up and contracted." - Emma. "Intense, twisted, inside, grounded" - Alex.
I stay in my own world where there is no such thing as a restriction, just swirls and twirls of energy whisking me away. An invisible whirlwind carries me along as fireworks travel through my body and my eyes sharp. Flickering, flinging parts of my body everywhere, all disconnected and as quick as a frog’s tongue. The thoughts in my head move as quickly as my body – there is no time to think, just feel this overflow of everything that fills and releases. "Continuance ripple throughout with fast hard arm and leg movement, has small, quick steps underneath themselves." - Emma. "Fast in transit, next thing to the next thing while the world changes around you" - Jack. "Tessa moves like a regal bird caught in an invisible whirlwind." - Rhiana.
DAY ONE HIGHLIGHTS
“Assisting Alice with the workshop. It was interesting to see the way that the work we’ve done over the past few months translated onto other dancers who’d never seen it, or done anything like it before. It was great to see so many different styles… we all have the same love for dance but we are all so different at the same time… and I think that’s what’s nice about our work as well. One of the dancers I met in the workshop told me that she has always been scared of improvising, but she grew more confident during the workshop and had a great time.”
“Creative meeting points because it was nice to be in the room collaborating with people from all across the world who didn’t necessarily speak the same language… so we had to communicate through movement!”
“Our first session for “creative meeting points” – which is where a group of dancers from different countries and groups come together to start working on a new site-specific work for the Congress. We did some extreme trust activities, which meant that we bonded really quickly and created a new mini dance community. I really enjoyed helping out with Alice’s workshop as well, because I could see the joy on all the dancers’ faces as they were really expressing themselves in their own way.”
“My favourite part of today was making friends with people from other countries. My favourite session was Dance Flavours because we melted into the floor and it was really fun.”
“The youth forum! I got to meet lots of people and we played games that helped us get to know each other.”
“The floor work because it was a nice and easy pace for the start of the day and you could just slowly relax and move across the floor.”
TOUR DIARY EXCERPTS
On Monday Emma and I went to a DACI Youth Forum. This Youth Forum was called Danceokay and it involved people from Finland, Denmark, Chile, Sweden, Jamaica and America. In this Forum we played a game called 100% DACI. This game was all about getting to know each other better and make some new friends from other countries. In this game one side of the room had “YES” written on the floor and the other side had “NO” written on the floor and what would happen is on of the teachers would read out a question or statement like “Do you like beef?” or “I like beef” an you had to run to “YES” or “NO” if you agreed you would run to “YES” but if you disagreed you would run to “NO” and then the teachers would choose some people from each side to say their name and the say why they chose their decision so that you could get to know them a bit better. Then we got into a pair with someone we didn’t know and we would both find a common ground and then say that statement to everyone and then they would run to the side that they supported [e.g. my partner, Lucy, and I found that we both like turtles so we said “I like turtles!” and then people ran to their sides and it turned out that most people like turtles. It was an amazing experience because we got to meet new people from other countries and find out their opinions. I thought it was very fun and interesting.
– Otto – daCi Youth Forum
Tonight (Wednesday) we watched a performance called 360˚ by Uppercut Dance Theatre. The performance was by a professional company, made for young people. The show was about lies, specifically how a small white lie can evolve into much larger problems. The show carried itself incredibly well, with each of the dancers completely taking the stage in their turn. The piece as a whole was cleverly done in that it included humour, engaging the younger audience, whilst the development of the “lies” and the physicality of the work was appreciable by an older audience. One of my favourite moments in the piece was the solo by the only female dancer. She moved her body with precision and ease, yet also had a quirky flavor to her style. Her solo featured lots of small hand movements accompanying bounces or small body convulsions/rolls. Whilst watching her, her performance qualities were so impressive that I didn’t notice her technique; her turnout, her feet etc., how I usually do in performances. She made me want to be her, and to manipulate my body not only in the style I am comfortable in, but in different movement too. Her versatility made me want to get up and dance.
Rhiana – Performance 360˚
Today (Thursday) Rhiana, Tessa, Jacinta and I participated in a workshop taken by Shelley Cushman, a professor at the University of North Texas. The workshop was called Walking In Another’s Shoes, which explored the workings of connective tissue in the human body, as well as the idiosyncrasies in how we walk. Most of the workshop we were assigned to a partner to observe and learn the small movements in their walk. I found this very interesting because all the differences were so slight that you didn’t notice them until you paid attention to the finer components. For instance in my walk my partner observed that I had a lower center of gravity and that I sunk into my back slightly when I walk. It was interesting to think about because it applied the simplest human action of walking and breaking it down into its separate parts, which can be then applied in composing movement and choreography.
Jack – Terrific Thursday
One of the highlights of the week would have to be our creative meeting points. In the creative meeting points there are three groups (working on three different sites). All six of us were placed in the “industrial” group, which was then split into five different groups. Alex, Otto and I were all in group number 1 along with others from many other countries (some kids not speaking English.) To create the dance we went to the spot and thought of words to describe it, we came up with words such as hard, rough and tough. Then we thought of words that mean the opposite like soft, light and life. Then we started to play around with those words in improv so we started to get ideas. We got into small groups of six and created a small phrase. Then we played the commonly known (name) game when we go around the room saying your name while doing an action. Once we had learnt everyone’s actions off-by-heart we made our own small dance across the room using only those moves but making them travel across the space. Then we added the two things we learnt together and learnt a new dance that we made the beat of with objects in the space and a taping stick. I really like this piece because it demonstrates the feeling of everything around us and the industrial side of it. I think it is clever to base a piece on a particular area and quality. I really enjoyed doing different dance styles and I met a lot of new people. This was a particularly fun part of the day that I look forward to.
Emma – Creative Meeting Points
My highlight was the performance of our piece on Tuesday night. We had been training and rehearsing for months and building up to the show. We prepared for so long and finally it was great to perform it. I was nervous backstage but once on stage, I relaxed. I thought about all the little notes Alice gave me. I thought about being big and open. Once we had finished, I thought through any mistakes I had made in the run. I felt proud of myself because I had worked hard for it and didn’t do a token effort. The highlight was achieving the goal I’d been working towards. I felt good when strangers came up to me and said how much they enjoyed our performance. I am glad it went well.
Alex – Our Performance
The process of creating the piece “You Be My Mirror” for daCi was an intense, yet amazing one. This involved doing a lot of improvisation and really digging into our own individual styles. As well as this, we spent a lot of time imitating the other dancer’s styles and trying to embody the way in which their body liked to move. All being fans of improvisation and all with such different styles of dance, creating this work was so much fun. Sharing this process with the dancers, all from around the world, at the workshop that Alice ran, was very rewarding. What I found that was interesting was how no one had ever done anything of the sort. Due to this, they were all amazed by this way, which Alice explained, to just let yourself go and dance however you want to with no limits. This also changed people’s negative thoughts on improvisation to willing and positive attitudes about it. Witnessing these dancers doing the workshop was so lovely as I could really see how individual each dancer was, yet we were all so connected by our passion for moving. This workshop also made me realize how not everyone had such a person like Alice in their dance lives.
Not only were the positive responses to the workshop really beautiful, but as was the responses to our performance. After two great shows of the work that we had put so much time and effort into, and absolutely loved doing, it received such a lovely reaction. What caught people’s eyes were that the piece was much different to any of the others shown, and also that it really highlighted each dancers unique qualities and individuality. Creating and performing this piece with Alice and the other dancers was so fulfilling and sharing that with others was just such a great experience that I wish I could just relive again.
Tessa – You Be Your Mirror