Week 1 – Etch R&D

Week 1 has given us all a lot to think about! After the initial meeting with myself Mat and Nat on Monday we spent a day with Nat on the Tuesday followed by a day with Sue Smith on Wednesday.

Nat brought in sweets, a onion and a lemon (and some scotch) to help stir up our senses and encourage us toย share our memories and stories evoked. We shared the stories of meals we have eaten, made list of songs we like to dance to and we made a tiny garden of herbs and filled it with lies.

We finished the day with a improvisation using the words we had spoken as a physical form. The whole day was inspirational and I really felt the dancers (any myself) finding the fun and balance in using text and movement and it also became much more natural. By the final improvisation the dancers really took ownership over the structures they were working with and it was incredible to watch! Nat wrote down all of the words we used and has taken them away to work on leaving us with the cards to continue to improvise and play with.

Working with Sue on the Wednesday was brilliant. I have been really fascinated by Sues research and practice for a long time so it was brilliant to have her come in and lead a days workshop for us. Part of Sues research has been exploring the idea of audio description for dance and as a company dedicated to making dance more accessible to all it is something I really wanted to explore right at the beginning of the making process so that we can use it to inform us during creation, with the idea that we can incorporate it into the work. The day was inspiring and has given us all so many ways in to help us develop our work in this area so that is can be a part of the piece rather than a extra added on at the end.

There was so much information in this first week and as its a new company the dancers are still bonding and learning to move together. By the end of the week I felt we were all so much closer and the final improvisation on Friday was so moving I could really see the connection between the company and the trust and support growing. This week has been invaluable for all involved not just for us to work together and develop this piece but also as individual artists. It has really fed us all so to speak. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in to next week and starting the making process!

Claire Summers

Artistic Director, Exim Dance Company

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