It’s Tuesday morning in Arnolfini’s Dark Studio and leading interactive artist Tim Casson is in town to train up local artists Joel Daniel, Helen Wilson and Deepraj Singh, for The Dance WE Made.
I hear the dancers tell each other snatches of stories: “he was half man and half goat”, “wearing a sumo suit”, ‘she saw Christ!”. Then the words take physical shape as the dancers embody the tales, turning conversation into choreography.
Originating as a project for the biennial The Big Dance, TDWM has now been touring for five years. Made responsively, the work stays fresh and different each time it appears: “I’d been working a lot in education and had just finished working with a group of employees at Islington Council, whose creativity blew me away”, explains Tim. “That prompted me to ask myself if i could create a dance without coming up with any of the movements myself”.
“Dance is amazing. Dancers are amazing, but all our work is hidden in rehearsals. I wanted to find a way to make that process accessible and help people understand it. When people watch the performance and identify the part they made, it helps with looking at other movements and questioning where they came from. It teaches the language dance uses.”
As a project that pops up in different locations to collect moves and ideas from the people who pass by, The Dance WE Made has popped up at Glastonbury, New York and in the Guinness World Records as a dance made with the largest number of choreographers. After being performed, the work is filmed and shared online
In Bristol, the work has allowed Dance Village to work with the support of a new partner, Arnolfini, who are keen to activate the area around the harbourside and are also supporting Protein’s (In)visible Dancing and providing warm up space for visiting artists at Dance Village. The Dance WE Made also provides a new opportunity for our local dancers. And what do they get from the work? “How to extract a movement” (Helen), “A new perspective on the importance of helping people understand dance” (Joel), “How we can use language in a creative way that’s understood by everybody” (Deepraj).
Keep an eye out for the team around Arnofini and Queens Square on Sunday from 12 noon to 4.30pm, and help them make a dance!
Follow the team on Twitter @thedancewemade ♯TDWM
And check the company you tube channel later in the week for the finished film youtube.com/thedancewemade