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Writing Dance: July 2021 Reflections

Tue 19 October 2021
Part of: Writing Dance: Artist CPD | 2020 | Artist Support | Dance Transports 2010s-2023
Copy of Writing Dance

Thinking about dancing, dancing about thinking, writing about dancing, dancing about writing…all things explored with 10 independent freelance dancers and writers during our recent Dance Transports series, ‘Writing Dance’. What began as a collaboration with the Writing Squad (NPO) in 2020, turned into a full week in July 2021, where three studios were occupied by professional dancers and writers as they explored the relationship, cross-over and blurring of their dance and writing practices. 

With facilitation from international dance artist, Ella Mesma and acclaimed poet, Kayo Chingonyi, the group explored starting points, gathering snippets of over-heard conversations, graffiti and resonant phrases to begin to shape characters, movements and poetry. Further facilitation by Yorkshire Dance Programmes Director, Hannah Robertshaw and Writing Squad Director, Steve Dearden, led to small and larger group work culminating in a collection of poems about ladders and a sharing of music, dance and spoken word which brought to life the character of Vicky under the bridge. 

We discussed how writers prepare to write and dancers prepare to dance. We discussed what being in a studio space offers and how creative processes start. We talked about writers block and the loneliness of creating solo work. We discussed improvisation and free writing and how we value and practice technique. We discussed our self-consciousness and hesitancy to step into each other’s art form and we experienced the successes when we did. We talked about beauty and gaze and how this translates in writing. 

The relationships forged during Writing Dance were a particular success. Writers and dancers found common ground, shared inspiration and now have a genuine desire to work together in a creative process. 

“For me, Writing Dance was a great opportunity to get creative in a different way. It allowed me to look at other elements of my life as potentially part of my creative practice…I enjoyed experimenting with the mini exercises and seeing what came out. It was great to have time and space to play without the pressure of a performance.” Charlotte, Writing Dance Artist.

“This three days were a real treat and I’m so glad I got to be part of this group and this experience. Remember when we discussed how to strive for beauty and if it was possible? Well, these days were very close to beauty if not entirely beautiful.” Anna, Writing Dance Artist.

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