Hi Billy, could you tell us a bit about you and your work with Earthfall?
I recently graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University in dance and I first worked with Earthfall on a seven week placement as part of my course. I was able to work with Marketing Officer Lewis Gwyther and tutors Cet Haf and Sarah Rogers, as well as going along on part of the Chelsea Hotel Spring tour. I got to learn a lot about the way Earthfall operate; not just as a performance collective, but as a professional, touring company and educational organisation.
Myself and Hannah Darby, were working with a really talented and bright group of young dancers from Jigsaw Youth Dance in Salisbury. They were aged between 14 and 16 years old and there were 15 girls and one boy.
What did you work on?
We spent the first day running warm-up exercises and teaching the group some Chelsea Hotel repertoire. They picked it up really quickly. Many of them have a background in ballet, rather than contemporary dance and it was great to see them experimenting with Earthfall’s movement style and choreography. I was really pleased with the way they listened and responded to the rep that we taught them.
On the second day they took the moves and the new technique we had taught them and used it to devise their own work. We can teach them technique and new ways of movement, but I think it’s really important for dancers to develop their own style of movement and expression based on the education and influences that they are exposed to. The work we have done with them has helped them to diversify their own repertoire.
They’ll also have the opportunity to present their work to the Chelsea Hotel audience before the performance in Salisbury Arts Centre, which is a fantastic opportunity.
What were the highlights of the residency for you?
I think it was seeing the young dancers really getting into the new movement styles we taught them and then watching as they developed their own choreography. You could really see the way that the new style had changed how they thought about their physicality and their own dance styles and, as a tutor, that’s really important for me.
You can catch the work of the Jigsaw group before the Chelsea Hotel performance at Salisbury Arts Centre on November the 28th. Hope to see you there!
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