Etch – Comany dancer Laura Henry reflects

With our fourth Etch tour date and last of the year fast approaching at Truro – Helford Theatre on 8th November at 7pm its been nothing short of a fascinating  journey to date, one that I will never forgot!

Working with such an open and creative team has allowed Exim Dance Company to create in my opinion our best tour work to present, Etch isn’t just a dance piece, it takes people on a personal journey from the minute you enter the performance space, you can experience dancer Vicky’s herb garden, receive a hand massage from dancer Heather and learn all about the health and well being benefits regarding coconut oil from dancer Lucy. I have always been a huge lover of tea and have used various books to make different herbals ones in the past when poorly, if I had a headache or when I need a health boost, so I am so happy that I get to share that as part of my intro when we begin Etch. The audience is encouraged to make different kinds of teas with me and try several natural teas that I’ve made specifically for the audience on the evenings. We also offer the opportunity for people to take some of the products, plants and recipes at the end of the night, for them to then create there own stories and memories.Our costumes have been specifically made to represent each dancers interests, hobbies, beliefs and stories they had shared in the creative process, this adds an extra layer for the audience to work with. Its one of the biggest talking points at each performance and people are fascinated with the amount of detail gone into them.

One of my favorite quotes received from our National Star Centre performance back in October sums up the work rather perfectly….

“Wonderfully intimate experience where you felt part of the performance. It was a feast for the senses and enlightening for the mind. You felt close to the dancers in proximity as well as emotionally whilst discovering who they are and yourself”

Sarah Gardinar – Nation Star Centre Cheltenham

Another highlight of the tour for me is working with young people with and without disabilities and delivering a number of workshops and creating curtain raisers for the students to open the evening’s performances. What’s been really magical is that the students have been working with the same creative tasks as the professional company had in our research & development period and created there own mini Etch excerpts. I have to congratulate all the students we have worked with so far for their professionalism and how they’ve not hesitated to give anything ago.

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National Star Centre Cheltenham               Dance Workshop

As well as being one of the four dancers in Etch, I have been working for the last year on tour booking and organising the workshops and curtain raisers at each venue. I felt this time around with it being our second tour it was the up most importance to have curtain raisers from the local secondary schools, colleges and local theatre and dance groups to allow them the experience working with a professional company. Exim Dance Company’s work is heavily community based and it didn’t feel right not to have that link with our professional touring company this time around. Its been quite emotional to see it all come together and been a really privilege to be apart of.

I’m already excited to see how the work progresses in to our 2017 batch of dates and the stories we will collect along the way.

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Laura Henry

Performer Etch/ Artistic Director

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