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A year ago I didn’t manage to write a review of 2018; which had ended momentously with the wonderful winter wedding just before Christmas of my daughter Joanna and her man Dan. A very happy occasion with much laughter and song; and the talents of dear dancer friends from Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet days were visible in the bride’s beautiful dress from Ritva Westenius, now headed by Chenca Williams, and gorgeous floral arrangements by Covent Garden’s go-to florist Bloomsbury Flowers run by Stephen Wicks and Mark Welford.
Building up to this special family event had shaped a year otherwise spent in regular teaching but also academic activity; beginning in January with a lecture for the History of Performance Course devised by the admirable Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance at the Victoria and Albert Museum which houses the former Theatre Museum collections. ‘Dancers, audiences and spaces: reflections from practice’ had been originally presented at a Dance and Academia event in Oxford programmed by Miranda Laurence. It drew on my own experience as a dancer in considering different spaces for dance and their effects on the relationship between performer and audience. In April the more theoretical side of my doctoral research had its first outing in a paper ‘The ballet class: oral tradition and embodied learning’ at the Society for Dance Research’s conference evocatively titled ‘Dance in the Age of Forgetfulness’. Read More
A brief update on Sonia Yorke-Pryce’s project with older dancers, Inappropriate Behaviour, of which it has been fascinating to be a part, with news of showings of the work in Australia this summer. Sonia’s filming of 4 Australian dancers and 4 British dancers interpreting her original motif was exhibited in a video installation in the Whitebox Gallery of Queensland College of Art at Griffith University from Tuesday 28th July to Friday 31st July. Sonia will also be making a presentation about her work on this as part of the DANscienCE FESTIVAL this weekend 21st to 23rd August at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. This will include a showing of the final cut of her short film incorporating the interpretations of all 8 dancers: Ann Dickie, Jennifer Jackson, Susie Crow, Nicholas Minns (UK) and Anca Frankenhauser, Ross Philip, Patrick Harding-Irmer and Susan Barling Australia).
Nicholas Minns and Jennifer Jackson rehearsing for Inappropriate Behaviour, Ivy Arts Centre January 2015
Watch Sonia’s final cut here
Read more about Sonia’s work here
Start as you mean to go on…
This year’s creative endeavours got off to a positive and life affirming start. I joined colleagues Jennifer Jackson and Nicholas Minns in the spacious dance studio at the Ivy Arts Centre at University of Surrey once again on 6th January at the request of dancer and researcher Sonia York-Pryce, to contribute to her research into older dancers.
Sonia’s research into ageism and the mature dancer began in 2013 as part of her Bachelor of Digital Media (Hons) at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia. She called it Does the Dancing have to Stop? and initially involved dancers Jennifer Jackson and Louise Lecavalier in interviews and questionnaires about their process, fitness, and performance thoughts. This and a short film using archive footage of the young Sonia and the mature became the creative input of her degree; watch the film here.
Met with fellow practitioner Nicholas Minns last weekend and found out about his blog Writing about Dance. Since spring, Nicholas has been writing extended pieces on dance performances and events; observant and though-provoking. Nicholas saw a performance of Dancing the Invisible – Late Work at the Ivy Arts Centre, Guildford in May, and wrote about it here.
You can also read Hannah Jelliman’s review on Arts at a Glance here.
Jennifer and I revisited the occasion on a warm July afternoon down at Surrey, looking at video footage of Late Work and considering next steps. Initial plans include resuming the blog and also further performance opportunities – watch this space for news of this ongoing project…
Susie and Jennifer in Late Work 1st May 2012