This is not a euphemism @ CCA

Hello everyone! 

This feels like a slightly belated update on a really exciting thing that happened, but I was tired and then the festive season came and I was too engrossed in playing Pie Face with my five year old sister to even think about blogging. Yet, here I am, Post-Christmas with no whipped cream on my face so I should get back to the point and adopt a more professional tone...

In early December I was in residence in The CCA's Creative Lab for a research and development week to work on my performance This is not a euphemism, an opportunity made possible by Dance House. This is a performance I have been developing for around a year and a half, with developments of the work being shown over that period in London (Camden People's Theatre), Glasgow (Buzzcut Festival), and Leeds (Live Art Bistro). Despite being in development for some time I have still felt unsatisfied with the work and each manifestation of ...euphemism has been vastly different. 

Firstly, this performance is usually a two-hander(ish) between myself and the absolutely wonderful woman, talented performer and brilliant BSL interpreter Natalie McDonald. ...euphemism is always fully integrated with BSL and is therefore accessible to deaf audiences, something I am incredibly passionate about. However, due to financial shortages I was unable to work with Natalie during this period of research so I decided to focus on the choreographic material itself during this time. 

I began making this performance, over a year ago, in a way that was very confessional, exposing and direct in terms of the stories I wanted to tell and how they were presented in the material. I approached the delicate and vulnerable subject matter in a directly outward facing manor, purposefully putting the private into the public domain as a reclamation of my experience. For many reasons I have changed my intention to present my self, my body, my stories and my experiences in such a light, and carried this reflection into my residency. 

I wanted to take the movement material I had, pick it apart and distill or expand it to find more of its essence. I wanted to take the choreographies of the previous incarnations of the work and abstract them further, withdrawing them from any sort of direct narrative and instead focusing on the physical information itself. I wanted to reimagine the preexisting material of ...euphemism and label it purely as dance, and not theatre or performance, and see how the spectorial gaze upon the work might change or alter. I wanted to test the structure of the performance, play with the relationship between spectator and performer and try the work in more of a gallery setting. 

I addressed these intentions throughout the week which was really rewarding, and actually quite joyful. I presented my findings in the form of a sharing to a small audience on Friday afternoon. Below is some of the documentation from this (non)event.
 

Janice Parker Projects and Saltire Society Dance Artist Bursary!

I am so, so, so happy to announce I've been awarded the Dance Artist Bursary from Janice Parker Projects and Saltire Society. I'm over the moon with this announcement! This bursary offers financial support towards a new project, mentoring and professional development from JPP and a year membership to the Saltire Society. With this opportunity I will develop my first full dance work, One way or another (working title) which will physically explore the oppositional binaries in our dualistic culture. This performance also aims to articulate different choreographies of a dyspraxic identity and where this identity sits on the continuum of difference. As well as working alongside Janice and the team at JPP, I'll be in the company of the brilliant visual artist Molly Mae Whawell and creative producer Daisy Douglas in the making of the project. I'm also really excited to gather together a group of local dyspraxic people during the research phase, where I will be facilitating inclusive workshops in order to interrogate dyspraxic movement from a range of participants!

I had the total pleasure of attending the Saltire Society's 80th birthday bash at The Oran Mor this week where my award was announced. It was a wonderful evening with food, and ginger beer, and ceilidhing, and music, as well as lovely company. I spent the evening with the JPP team as well as the very brilliant Saffy Setohny who was awarded the Scottish Dance Theatre Emerging Choreographer Bursary. Congratulations to Saffy also!

Watch this space! There's so much to reveal about this project and its development, so keep those eyes peeled! 

Ax

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT ARE 1/10TH OF NTS' STARTER FOR 10 PROGRAMME! WOO!

Well, well, well... Katy and I are SO happy to announce ourselves as part of The National Theatre of Scotland's Starter for 10 programme. This award will give us the support to continue the development of our first performance as a collaboration, Technophile. We had an absolutely brilliant time sharing our initial thoughts back in July 2016 as part of scratch nights at The Tron and Anatomy at Summerhall. (You can read more about what the project is about here).

LOOK, THERE WE ARE! RIGHT THERE! WITH ALL THESE COOL PEOPLE!

LOOK, THERE WE ARE! RIGHT THERE! WITH ALL THESE COOL PEOPLE!

We're going to start this second developmental phase in February 2017 at the brand new and shiny NTS Rockvilla HQ. We're going to expand on our initial ideas about intimacy and technology, originally we were mainly concerned with exploring the physical intimacy between us and our own technical devices. We're going to interrogate this further but also spread the enquiry wider to explore notions of private and public within a digital globalised age. We worked damn hard to specify this interest in our application, so I'll let the PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT from the past explain this new direction in a clearer way.

As two women we want to question what the future of intimacy is in an age of globalisation. With our intimate, private and personal details becoming personal data, who are we really getting intimate with behind our screens? What do they know about us? And who are they selling it to? We are interested in finding out what happens when our personalities become commodities to be bought and sold, and when a human being becomes data. We will continue to develop our theatrical language of synchronised extravagant choreography, spoken text and risk-taking actions using of our own, beloved technical devices. We’ll try really hard not to drop them.
For this development we want to collaborate with an AV specialist to create a technical presence that is inherent to the piece, as a mirror to contemporary life where we are dependant on screens and their ever present nature. We’re interested in live feed, projection, social media, audience interaction, and (dis)connection between the performed live and mediated action. We’re excited by what new insights and angles a technological gaze can offer the audience and how we can push that in our enquiry into intimacy in our technical age.

We feel that this idea has an urgency that is important to address at this present moment. Both of us have become digital addicts over the past 10 years. In an age where 2 billion people are active in social media globally, and where in Britain 76% of adults own a smartphone, we are at a crossing point in society - from the analogue to digital age. We are caught between two different worlds, one where technology is full of possibility and opportunity, and one where it is an alienating and divisive. We hold our phones more often than we hold hands.

As two women in our twenties we are aware that technology has irrevocably changed our lives. We are passionate about this idea because we want to understand more about the implications of being digitally active. We’ve been discussing where our personal information we put online goes and we actually don’t know the answer. This is an age where we feel ever distant to the people around us but are dangerously close to global corporations and their surveillance of our lives. From snooping phones listening in to conversations between us and our loved ones to cookies following our every move online, our private information becomes public domain. When something as innocent as your birthday becomes a commoditised piece of data, what does this mean for the future of our private lives and sense of intimacy with one another? How much do we sacrifice for the sake of convenience? We are passionate about fighting against the commodification of personhood in the digital age, and see this performance as an opportunity for a wake up call into how tenderly we are holding our technology. 

Now with all that information you won't need to come see the performance now... JOKING. Please come and support us when the time comes. I also recommend checking out all the other brilliant artists that are the Starter for 10 cohort, we all went to dinner together and chatted about our projects- all seem so exciting and everyone is really nice! Great combination. You can read about them here.

Thanks! Big love,

Abs. x