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Rachel – Thursday in Kirchheimbolanden

Another beautiful blue sky day and the fine old oak trees look particularly wonderful from under the rig.

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There’s always a moment in these performance-based residencies when we have to stop introducing new material and techniques and focus on remembering the choreography and its running order. This repetition is often accompanied by a mixture of boredom and anxiety amongst participants, but we do trust that it will come right tomorrow.

There have been a couple of ‘bored boys’ hanging around all week, unable to commit to the workshops but so eager to be involved and to ‘help’. These ten-year-olds have become our regular visitors at the rig and are managing to pick up some aerial skills and fun in the lunch breaks and 3pm¬†‘have a go’ slots. We were also joined at these today by some very competent aspiring artists.

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Milton and the ‘bored boys’ appreciating the skills of Benedict.

 

Eleni final weeks

It’s nearly the end of our journey for this summer. 1st trip in Germany was really good. The rig was built in a quiet protected grassy area and was looked after by a guard in the night time.

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I felt great performing the shows. Maybe it was because the space was so quiet and calm and the quality of the piece is delicate and calm. Maybe because we had a great number of audience who were engaged and clapping at every stillness or ‘pose’. Sharing the space with an amazing band was great too. The audience had the chance to drift from one experience to another.

By now we have performed  the piece quite a lot and I feel we are at a stage where we can play with each other in our characters, smile, relax and even give a wink! Workshops: we participated in 2 other companies workshops which was great as we had the chance to connect with other artists work. Aerial workshops were good. Very busy 2 people on harnesses 2 people on ropes.

Germany trip 2. Here we go!!!!

Milton- Workshops

So the workshops have started and we didn’t have 200 participants. Instead we have 6 very exciting children and 2 teenagers. ¬†And they are really going for it!

It does surprise me their stamina and their will to learn and putting the moves together.

We are starting to create choreography using Mozart’s music. They are working from 10am to 3pm and they ¬†work hard everytime.

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At 3pm, today, after the class was finished, we had more then a dozen children wanting to have a go.

It seems that Kircheimbolanden is really embracing Aerial Dance!

Rachel – day two of workshops

We started the day with the usual warm-up of exercises and games to get our bodies and brains working but also to introduce some choreographic ideas and performance skills that will come in useful later, like listening to each other, stopping and starting in unison without verbal cues etc.

After reviewing yesterday’s work (a few sore legs today from yesterday’s harness work), we went on to learn some new techniques of circling over and at different distances away from the centre point. I love this mix of physics and physicality.

After lunch we dived into choreography and produced 4 sections of the piece, a trio and two duets on the ropes, a quartet traveling between the rig legs and a trio on the ground. very productive day.

Finished the day with an hour-long open workshop for anyone and included tiny tots to tall men. Some people were born to fly – like this little one…

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Rachel – day 1 of workshops in Kirchheimboladen

The day began with some rigging and sorting out of equipment, keeping it simple to start with and in fact¬†trying to keep it ‘clever’ but simple all the time.

Our short presentation seemed to work with an eager group of participants ready to sign themselves in for the four-day workshop. Nice mix of ages and abilities although only one disabled participant, I’m not sure why, too energetic, scary, too much time commitment, over protective carers?

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Wonderful to have three of us leading the session, it allows for 1:1 tutelage. We taught the basics and aimed to give people confidence in the equipment and each other. There was a general sense of fun, support and inclusivity throughout the day. People did get a bit tired towards the end and were happy to watch as we ran an hour-long ‘have a go’ session for anyone else at the festival who wanted a taste of aerial.

Tomorrow we are hoping that a couple more people might sign up so we have a full group but by Thursday it will be too late as we’ll have gone too far with our current group.

Slightly ashamed to say that everyone’s¬†English is a good deal better than my German, what we can’t work out Jess is able to help with. Nice moment¬†when Jess pointed out a red squirrel running down a nearby tree. I was surprised at how red it was!

Rachel – begegnung in der kunst – Theater Musik Fest

Our rigging team for yesterday in Kirchheimbolanden, a merry band of helpers…

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Today we do not know quite how many people to expect, there are 8 workshops on offer for the rest of the week and about 200 might turn up today! So we’ve planned a short demonstration for all to watch from which we aim to recruit 12 participants to work with us for the rest of week. We’ve been asked to produce some sort of sharing at the end.

Really looking forward to the teaching and the festival at the weekend. Glad that Jess has some excellent German up her sleeve!

 

Rachel – Alles Muss Raus weekend

A weekend of performances and workshops with an estimated total audience of 1,800 and 118 participants.

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An eager queue to ‘have a go’ with adults getting the first chance! Unlike in France, we did not have a translation of the script for Germany but with a brave and brilliant¬†piece of learning Dave gave an introduction in German to each show. Seems to help the audience to know what the piece is about, even a very brief and open explanation¬†helps them to find their¬†place to watch and interpret the work more comfortably. It was good to see a huge range of ages and abilities in the audience, Alles Muss Raus appears to be hugely successful ¬†at inclusion in all aspects of its work. It’s a wonderful experience to be part of.

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Rig down on Sunday with everyone’s help and stored away at the City Fire Station ready for our next visit in a weeks time for the festival in Kirchheimbolanden.

Dave continues to document all the work with his fantastic photos.

Lisa – Farm and Germany

The last 3 days at the farm were full of activity from the groups that came. Nice to see some familiar faces again.  We did the show, and workshops to follow on the ropes, cattle shed and bug hunts. IMG_3892

Rig down from the farm for this year.  Last bit of tidying to do before leaving.

Germany

Amazing hotel in Kaiserslautern Рcomplete luxury Рperfect breakfast that doubled up as lunch and sometimes tea.  Sauna and sun beds on the top floor Рgreat to visit to ease out the muscles and stretch in.  Rig set up opposite hotel like last year in a nice enclosed garden area.  Lots of audiences at each show with great feedback and general positivity.  Bombarded for the have a go workshops Рgreat to see people going for it on the ropes.

Lovely surprise was to see fellow Hijinx collegues and Academy students at the festival. ¬†Really nice to see two of the North Walian students and to see how much they’ve progressed since I last saw them in February.

Really enjoyed watching the other shows – a really well organised and programmed festival. ¬†In awe at the drummers and trapeze artist that went up in the air by crane. ¬†Loved the fire juggling dance to Johny Cash’s burn burn burn song whilst standing in front of a fire engine in a fireman outfit. Loved that the silks were rigged off the ladder of the fire engine. ¬†My favourite piece was the elderly group of performers from France – walking along the streets in time to music carrying food trays. The piece was so moving and perfectly paced, though we missed the end as we had to get back into costume. We did 3 shows each day with workshops in-between so we did well to catch a few of the other performances. Plus Hijinx group came into our area after the workshop doing their promenade Sleepwakers performance which was really funny. ¬†Reminded me of how much fun promenade performances are.

Also the workshop days before turned into participating in a workshop with a dance group from Germany Рthey led a brilliant workshop enjoyed by all.  Rachel led a workshop for the Hijinx group and they had a go on the ropes.  Then the next day we participated in a workshop by Hijinx, before preparing for the shows.

All in all an amazing festival full of lots of interesting performances from across Europe, and the shows went really well and again as usual the rain stopped on the sunday just in time for a show.

Nearly at the end last trip to Germany next week to a smaller festival where Milton and Jess will be doing workshops with Rachel and Eleni and I will be arriving later just to do the shows on the saturday. I wonder whether the hotel will have a sauna…………………….

Rachel – Kaiserslautern – Thursday

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Workshops today with the three lovely women from Tanzbar_Bremen (Germany) and an international group of people including the fabulous Hijinx from Cardiff. Strange but we have had to travel to Germany to meet and skills share with some of our UK neighbours. Tomorrow more workshops and rehearsals when Milton and Jess arrive.

It’s very, very hot here and right now at 11pm there are a group of drummers from Transe Express (France) rehearsing outside our 5th floor hotel room, but actually they are about 100m off the ground suspended like a giant mobile off a huge crane. Looking forward to the full festival starting tomorrow evening.

Rachel – Alles Muss Raus

Here we are again at the wonderful Alles Muss Raus Festival in Kaiserslautern. It promises to be an action-packed weekend with workshops and performances each day.

I hope to catch Tango Summer, Duo Catch Me, Hijinx Theater and ADHOK between our sessions.

It’s a cauldron of creativity with strong flavours of diversity and inclusivity.

Another great rigging team…

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Rachel – Sunday

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A successful Whitbourne village show and fête yesterday where the damselfly costume won a 1st prize in the craft section!
This morning I fetched my passport from the cupboard only to discover I had Josh’s passport instead of mine!! Lucky it was not 24 hours later when we shall be on our way to Germany for the Alles Muss Raus Festival in Kaiserslautern. So instead of planting and weeding the veg. garden I’ve been driving all afternoon to retrieve my passport from Llandrindod Wells. All’s well that ends well.

Rachel – last week in the UK

The last few days have disappeared in a haze of energy and colour. Saturday was spent with Malvern Special Families who have taken part in previous projects and came prepared for a day’s activities; they watched the performance and ¬†everyone had a go on the ropes in harnesses or cocoons. Remembering our Lovely Bugs project last year they requested a¬†repeat of the bug hunts, so nets and holding tubs were quickly found and some very lovely bugs caught.

Sunday welcomed a group of local people for workshops with ages 11 to 40-something taking to the air in the cattle shed (complete with bellowing steer) and out in the field on the rig. By lunch time, they had all created some choreography and so we shared it as a curtain raiser to our audience in the afternoon before our Kingfisher piece.  The weather teased us all day with deluges of rain followed by blazing sun, but as always we worked with the weather and were able to do all that we had planned at the right time.

 

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“I loved the ability to be physically creative”

“I loved the variety that was on offer. All very friendly and talented”

“I loved being lifted on the pulley rope”

Today was our last workshop day and we were joined by students aged 11 to 19 years, with severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour and staff from Rowden House near Bromyard. We had a very gentle day that began with showing a short extract from the performance and was followed by giving each student a go on the ropes, cocoons and/or hammocks. Each student had their favourite and grew in confidence as the day unfolded.

“What a wonderful way to spend the day! Thank you” – ¬†staff feedback.

Summer in the UK

After parching conditions in Brittany we returned to Britain: the day of our public show dawned blustery and WET. And it rained … and rained… But, guess what? True to everyBODY dance fortune, performance time of 2pm came around, the clouds backed off and the sun shone, the dancers gleamed and all was well with the world once more.

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Jess – Week 8 – France to farm

We arrived back at Longlands late last night, and already Rachel and Trevor-with-the-tractor are putting the rig back up as I write, ready for us to return to the ropes on Saturday with the Malvern Special Families group and then the public performance and workshop day on Sunday.

Today is a moment to reflect on what has been an incredible month away in Brittany – surreal and profound by turns. It was a little strange for me ‘disappearing’ in the midst of the Le Fosso residency to walk across Herefordshire for the walking festival (a performance as part of my PhD, booked before I knew about this amazing opportunity) but I was very grateful for Rachel’s inventive and adaptive choreography (a speciality of an integrated company!) that allowed me to still be involved – the other dancers creating a trio to be performed in my absence.

But going and coming back did allow me to see, with a bit of distance and perspective, how important the work of the company had become to community in Gomene and how quickly the company’s work can facilitate a sense of connection and inclusion, confidence and possibility.

The ‘lakeside’ performances at the drained hydro-lake at Caurel were the most surreal part; outside of an arts context, it seemed that our ‘audiences’ didn’t know how to receive the work as an audience (by giving the work their full attention!) though also it was really very hot out on the sand (away from the shelter of the lakeside trees) to get close enough to watch and become more involved in the ‘story’. And from too great a distance, it does perhaps become an abstract spectacle of blue-clad dancers flying around! But it was also an amazing luxury to stand on top of the rig and perform in this expansive, desertified landscape – that won’t be exposed again for another 100 years – under soaring blue skies.

For me, my own ‘lightbulb’ moment happened on Thursday last week, when we had a day of slow and gentle – but also very intense – one-to-one work with two visiting PMLD adults. We worked with different kinds of sensory stimulation – touch, sound, visual – with the participants in the cocoons, or working on ropes around and over the participants on the mats and in their chairs, finding ways to connect and animate space and place, allowing space for expression and new movement and states of attention.

At the end of the day, a different (residential) workshop group arrived back from a busy day sailing on a nearby lake. The participants enjoyed relaxing in the hammocks and cocoons and after a day of finding different ways to communicate and reciprocate with our visitors, it felt like a gift when the participant in the hammock, extended her hand for what became an intricate ‘hand-dance’…

It was only coming back on the ferry that I remembered that Thursday had been the first official day of Glastonbury (festival, back in the UK) – and thinking back to some of the magical experiences I’ve had there in the past, I felt that the moments of connection I’d experienced that day at Le Fosso had been much more profound and much less hedonistic than anything that might have happened at the festival, had I been able to go and I felt grateful for the experience of being in that place (Le Fosso) at that time.

It’s hard to encapsulate the multi-layered work of this company and why it’s important – to participants, or equally to us (employees/dancers) as individuals – but in this sliding together of memories in the sunset the ferry was sailing into, something fell into place for me‚Ķ.

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Lisa Week7

End to the France trip. On ferry travelling back to England.  Amazing thanks to Mike and Hilary and all those who welcomed us warmly in Gomene.  It was beautiful to be part of a lovely community for 3 weeks.

Here’s our last meal together in the local Pub which is the centre of village life in Gomene.

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After Gomene we went back to the drained lake in Caurel. ¬†It was really hot over the weekend which was lovely for me! The sand was again tricky to perform on, it gets everywhere – eyes, ears, mouth, equipment, shoes, hair etc. But we managed and felt like we did a good job. ¬†It was lovely that the holiday residents that have been staying at Le Fosso with their carer’s came to see us on the saturday, which was nice for them to see the show after they’d had workshops. Also on the Sunday, Blondine and her family came to see the show, which was lovely to see her again.

Thank to all and to team EveryBody Dance!!

Next stop farm and Germany!

Eleni week 7

The parachute is up.

Looked like a giant elphant or a strange creature.

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Lisa climbed up the leg suffocating but reached up high to wear her big skirt.

Performance at the Fete as a trio felt really good. Rigging and dancing at the same time. Less arms and legs to focus on. Calm, concentrated audience, sun came out at 20:15.

Rig is down, rig is up, rig is down, rig will be up once more at the dried lake.

Last workshops to go. Group yesterday did not have a go on the harnesses. Only a few swinging in the cocoons. Instead we performed the show and I think that was the ‘best bit’ of the day for them.

Rachel – Thursday

We knew we had a workshop today for 10 adults with learning disabilities but had little other information to plan with. But we did make a plan and then deviated from it as soon as the group arrived.

Aged between 50 and 65’ish the group, we were informed, had all grown up in a devout Catholic community in France at a time when learning disability was shamed and thought of as a punishment to parents. So these lovely people have been institutionalised until fairly recently when, thank goodness, attitudes changed and they began to live in supported community settings.

What we found was a group united in its resistance to participate in the aerial work. A few tried out the cocoons for a moment or two and we had fun with the warm-up exercises. However they seemed to really enjoy the impromptu performance of The Kingfisher and the Damselfly and were very vocal in their praise and thanks.

We ended the afternoon with tea and cake, hand dances and more parachute activity plus a couple of songs.

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Milton Lopes – Jess is Back

11536059_10207650210872433_3157816743778467467_nAfter working a whole week as a Trio, ¬†Jess joined us. She arrived yesterday and brought us a dead Damselfly that she found in one of her walks. look how thrilled she is:) Not sure if it is because she joined us or because she found a dead Damselfly ( Note: no Damselfly was killed during this photoshoot! … or before. He was really dead when he was found.)11012420_10207650358876133_7206291911715840935_nWe had a good day today. We rehearsed in the morning. We have new material that was developed when Jess as away and that she ¬†had to learn. While they were rehearsing that I was rehearsing my swoops and new circles on the ground: two with my feet as a pivot another two with one hand as pivot and another sitting down in the air. (

(the circles I mean)

In the Afternoon, we had group with learning disabilities with which we did a workshop. At the end we did our show for them. They seemed to enjoy it ūüôā

Lisa Week 7

Yesterday we had a rehearsal and made up some new movement for the top of the leg. ¬†We tested out the parachute and I had a go with a corresponding costume sitting at the top of rig like the lady of the lake. ¬†I didn’t see it, but took some pictures of it on the way up. ¬†It also looks cool on the inside.

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In the afternoon, we had a session with a resident group at Lefosso.  They did great in the harnesses and afterwards we used the parachute (the small blue one this time)

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Rachel – Wednesday

A morning of changing and creating new material followed by an afternoon workshop with a small group of resident guests at Le Fosso with a range of PMLD (profound and multiple learning disabilities) with their support staff.

With four of us team-teaching the session we were able to work 1:1 and took time to duet with each participant, discovering their range of movement and willingness to create and respond to movement stimulus. Some wonderful moments of connection between people.

Everyone tried out the ropes and each found an idea to ‘play with’: standing independently, swinging with arm gestures, simply being off the ground and pushing off on tiptoe. Finished the session with the parachute creating a welcome breeze in the heat of the afternoon.

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They are coming back for more on Friday!

Rachel – recovery and reflection

Fantastic weekend of sunshine-drenched community activity in Gomen√©. Several workshops with beginners and improvers, sharing snippets of their choreography and generally having fun. Over 100 children tried out the ropes yesterday: we’ve become a slick team, able to manage getting them into and out of the right harness, on and off the ropes with 5 minutes of creative freedom for each child with a few technical suggestions from us when needed.

I watched the audiences during the shows and saw open-mouthed amazement and delight from all ages. The people who have joined our workshops have been particularly appreciative of the work – they have an experienced understanding of the skills it involves. Some have been talking about getting their own aerial kit to rig in their barns! I feel a larger community project emerging!

We’re joined this week by Josh who will help with workshops and general holiday-making tasks. Looking forward to having Jess back this week after her epic walking project and installation.

A few bits of choreography to work on, refining what we have and adding some details now that the initial material has become embodied. Extra speed and movements on top of the circle for the ‘girls’ and new choreography for Milton on the single rope. Keeping them on their toes.

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Pic – Rob Spaull

 

Lisa Week 6

Well end of week 6…. This weekend has been lovely – being part of the lovely community of Gomene. ¬†Saturday we performed for their fete da Musique (pardon spelling). Sunday we performed for the local school fete. It was also our first time doing the show as a trio. ¬†We had to remember all the little things we had to change and then the end section which was re-choreographed. ¬†Definitely got the new technical transitions down – whoop!

Here’s us keeping warm by the fire pre-show and trying out some new damselfly looks with Eleni – where we realised that we’re actually the same width, even though I’m taller.

Massive thanks to all the organisers and of course Mike and Hilary who also played amazing Breton music and showed us some Breton dancing!

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