The work is inspired by my interest in inclusivity, individuality and identity and I am delighted to be joined by Scotland based dance artist and co choreographer Hayley Earlam, musician Alessandro Zangrando (Zar) and dancers Anderson De Souza and Brian McSweeney.
As part of our research we hosted a series of movement workshops over 3 days for 6 young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, facilitated by myself and Hayley, assisted by dancers Anderson and Brian and accompanied by musician Zar.
The w/s structures were malleable which allowed us to stay open and responsive whilst creating a safe space for ideas to form and people to share. Using a mix of improvisation, movement scores and group tasks we gave the participants space to express themselves fully both physically and verbally. We were blown away with how deeply engaged and committed each person was from the moment they stepped into the studio. As a result their voices will strongly inform the foundations of this new work.
We encouraged all artists, performers and w/s participants to contribute to group conversations throughout sessions and we created a group mural (a large sheet of paper) that lay on the studio floor. This meant people could document in their own way with a few words, pictures or colours.
Having Zar in the space brought a whole new energy to our exploration; he experimented with various instruments and dipped in and out of abstract and more rhythmical composition giving us plenty to play and converse with. We began using our own voices as a stimulus for movement, exploring how it felt to move and be moved by a cacophony of different accents and rhythms. Our recording sessions with Zar became a real favourite amongst the group.
Everyone leaned in and trusted the process and the lines were blurred between community and professional dancers. There was a sense of honesty, intrigue and respect in the space; it was a truly beautiful week.
A few words from Co Choreographer - Hayley Earlam
“What an exciting week spent in the Draiocht studio with some phenomenal artists. Dancers always move differently when there is a live musician in the space. Watching everyone respond and converse with one other through sound and movement created an energy in the room like electricity. Our young artists took us in directions we couldn’t have anticipated and therefore we continue to find ways of making space for more voices to be heard within the overall work.”
Stay tuned for:
- Updates on our further two weeks of development with the core creative team in Draíocht & 2nd blog post.
- Our film 'Voices - The Making Of' documenting our process. To be released by Draíocht in November 2022.
- We will present 'Voices' at ‘Dance Live’ festival in Aberdeen, Scotland in October. Made possible with funding provided by Culture Ireland.
Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency 2020, 2021 & 2022 in Draíocht is supported by The Arts Council, with additional funding provided by Fingal County Council & Draíocht.