So you’ve been working for months, planning, applying, creating and dreaming about a new piece of work and finally the day has come where the mysterious creative process is set to begin and the big question is very suddenly, how exactly do we plan to begin?
On our very first official day as Kapow Dance we find ourselves in a lovely room at Theatre Harlech - with floor to ceiling windows and views of the beach, the sea and the mountains across the bay – it’s hard not to feel excited. We’re itching and inspired to move and Beth leads us through a tactile improvisation to start the day.
The concept is simple one party rests their hands gently on the left side of the others rib cage, the fingers follow the lines of the bones wrapping front and back and don’t lead or support but simply offer a heightening of sensation. The ‘mover’ begins by simply noticing this sensation, taking deep slow breaths and after a short while allows this feeling to inspire a movement response. This quickly transformed through mindful breath into an energetic flinging, leaping and rolling around the studio – as much work for the supporter as the dancer. We both felt suddenly set free and like two dancers who’ve been locked in an office too long we were moving and we were loving it.
We decided to carry on improvising for most of the week – after dancing together in 2012 it’s been some time since we were in the studio together. We felt that trying huge variety of movement tasks was the perfect way to learn, develop our methods and pin-point what’s important to Kapow.
On day three we had a brief but particularly fun episode clapping and stopping around the theatre to various Irish melodies and old fashion sea shanties. We were exploring a combination of contemporary and folk dance and this led to some high energy kicking, spinning and presenting - we both agreed that while perhaps not that sensible, this was at least very satisfying, real old fashioned good fun and perhaps with some adaptation and direction could be an interesting movement language for our timeless characters.
Alas, in any creative process the moment comes where you’ve got to pin something down and call it choreography. We decided to take a crack at this with a gestural exercise exploring rhythm in intricate movements and using movement to create images from life at sea. Hauling in the ropes, dodging seagulls and securing life jackets got all mixed up with swaying, shivering and balancing on our, at this stage imaginary, raft. As with everything this week we filmed every part of this process and were happy in the end with a simple and playful abstraction of these images into a short unison-ish sequence. Who knows at this stage if it’ll be in the work but it is certainly something we take forward with us into week 2, the week with the challenge of a real raft.
Being early in a process is exciting and we are working hard to explore fully and make every use of these brilliant spaces and the time we are so lucky to call research. Of course the ever present pressure to create something is already mounting but this week has been an invaluable learning experience, we’ve re-connected and supported each other as artists – a want to take workshops and keep learning together has been ignited and I feel that we are taking the first steps of challenging, wacky and inspiring journey.