Sadlers Wells’ brand new choreography and performance project, Making Moves, kicked off this weekend, and we sent our Project Coordinator, Ollie, to get involved. The project is working with 50 dance artists from across the country. Ollie was partnered with the talented choreographer, Oona Doherty, to enhance his choreographic skills and process. Oona, an Irish choreographer and the Artistic Director of OD Works, was a fantastic collaborator. The weekend consisted of exciting choreographic sessions, creative tasks, inclusive practice sessions, and technical talks.
Here’s what Ollie thought about the weekend:
The weekend was amazing! It allowed me to fully immerse myself in my own choreographic process and simply be a dancer for a while. Working with Oona was such a pleasure, and her approach to contemporary dance was truly fascinating. I loved how she broke down the stereotypes surrounding form and technique and focused on the development of movement from the emotions within our bodies. We explored how the tiniest details in our bodies can be a reflection of deep-seated emotions.
As part of the weekend, we received a Choreographic Toolkit that delves into everything Oona taught us. It covers all aspects of choreography, from warm-up exercises and music ideas to lighting tips. My favourite part of the toolkit is Oona’s videos on the ‘5 Spinal States’ – a movement concept we studied over the course of the weekend.
One class that I particularly enjoyed was Kimberley Harvey’s ‘Translating Movement Material.’ Kimberley, a freelance disabled dance artist with over 13 years of experience in the dance sector, taught us how to convey movement without specifying specific body parts, directions, or styles, resulting in a phrase that was interpreted differently by everyone. It was an impressive skill to observe, and one that I will definitely apply in my own practice.
The biggest takeaway from this weekend is a lesson that Oona repeatedly emphasised – “Practice with kindness… it’s only dancing.”
This project is the first of its kind for Sadlers Wells and presents us with the opportunity to create a new work with FuzzyLogic. Our final piece will be performed at a Making Moves regional platform, with hopes of being selected to perform on Sadlers Wells’ main stage alongside seven other groups from across the country.
Image credit: @mary.litva