We started work on our SO Festival commission, Moving Colour, last Monday. The piece will be premiered at the SO Festival in Skegness on Friday (4pm and 6pm) and Saturday (3.30pm and 8pm) this week and then we will perform it again in Helsingborg in Sweden and Helsinore in Denmark throughout the week of the 1st August as part of the Passage Festival.
The concept of the commission, which is part of Igniting Ambition in the East Midlands and therefore a Cultural Olympiad project, is to create a series of 4 short pieces for 4 different areas, which can be performed as a dance relay. In Skegness these 4 different areas are spread along the Tower Esplanade, so the audience will follow the performance from the Jolly Fisherman fountain to the beach. For me, it’s important that each of the 4 pieces is connected, and the movement we’re creating for all of the 4 areas draws from sporting imagery (particularly the icons that have been assigned to the 26 Olympic sports: see http://www.london2012.com/sport) and the Olympic values (see http://getset.london2012.com/en/educators/the-olympic-and-paralympic-values).
Costumes are being created for the piece by four recent fashion graduates from the University of Lincoln, Laura Burrows, Amy Hood, Gemma Handford and Laura Hayward, and the music is being composed by Max Perryment. 8 of the dancers for the piece are from the UK (primarily the East Midlands, with a couple of regular Made By Katie Green collaborators from London, Vicky and Carl): James Bartley, Sarah Butler, Rachel Farrer, Victoria Hammond, Carl Harrison, Lucy Rowland, Stephanie Smith, Alice Vale. We are also collaborating with 2 sets of 6 dancers from Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg.
My plan for the 4 stages is to focus on 4 different qualities of movement/Olympic values, and Max and I have also used these 4 qualities to inform the music for each stage:
Stage 1 deals with beginnings: the start of a race, or even before that when the dancer/athlete starts the process of warming up their body, preparing themselves mentally and physically for what they are about to do. There is a lot of forwards and reverse in this section.
Stage 2, created in collaboration with our 6 Swedish dancers, focuses on the spirit of determination, and different ways in which we can get from A to B.
Stage 3 has become associated with the individual striving for a goal, featuring a lot of reaching movement. It also deals with the elasticity of movement: how far, how high we can push ourselves. We have created movement for this section through the activity of passing a relay baton so there is often a transferral of energy from one person to another, or from one dynamic to another.
Stage 4 is about cooperation, and will involve a lot more unison than I am used to integrating within my choreography! We also integrate explosive movement into this section as an expression of energy and vitality. The British and Swedish dancers will come together for this finale.
As often happens when dealing with so many different factors within a production, Moving Colour has been quite a challenge to bring together. I want to try to write more about this at the end of the week when I have more time to put together a blog post. For now, wish us luck for the first performances at the end of the week, and come and see us if you happen to be in Skegness!