The Vulture Photography project celebrates and supports the work of South African theatre-practitioners. We showcase and feature various aspects of the South African Theatre industry, from stage productions to awards ceremonies and festivals. Accompanied by Performing arts Photography, the project aims to give our readers a descriptive and visual experience of the local theatre industry.

I call you dance: sparking my flame as participant and audience member.

October 9, 2018

From the 23rd - 30th of September 2018 Vulture Productions was invited to participate in two workshops by the Any Body Zine team (which includes Julia de Rosenwerth. Kopano Maroga and Nicola van Straaten) co-produced and curated a series of dance performances, discussions and workshops at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory, Cape Town called "I call you dance", as part of the Theatre Arts Admin Collective's Curated Consciousness series. I  had the pleasure of attending two workshops and witnessing a performance piece as both participant and audience member.

 

 

The first workshop was led by the two talented creative artists from "CAN Creative": Ciara Bladwin and Nathan Bartman. Their workshop opened up with a much-needed body warm-up. I appreciated feeling physically challenged. I surprised my body and myself when I managed to keep up with the intense and challenging workshop, it's amazing what your body memory is capable of, however, the facilitators made me feel that I "CAN".  I left their workshop feeling physically challenged.

 

They brought a powerful and dynamic energy into the workshop space. When I out of curiosity asked what their superpowers would be they both agreed on being able to breathe underwater so that they could explore the ocean. Their answer resonated with their working style. The willingness to challenge one’s limits, physically, mentally and emotionally. Nathan added that in order to survive as a dancer you have to be able to be versatile as an artist (performer and choreographer), he even creates his own music for some of the performances that himself and Ciara is involved in and finds it vital to create opportunities for other artists.

 

Ciara advisers aspiring dancers to be open to anything, explore every avenue, attend every class, that there is no right or wrong but in the end, allowing your body the opportunity to experience these possibilities. Towards the end of their workshop, we stretched and as I breathed out I was thankful to Ciara and Nathan for allowing my body to physically breathe again. What I got from their workshop is that when you open yourself up to learning techniques and skills you get to have more dance vocabulary for your creative toolbox.

 

 

The second workshop was led by the "Derivations" (her first full-length solo work, debuted within the "I call you dance" program) performer, Adriana Jamisse (originally from Mozambique), who sees herself as both an artist and healer. Her presence brought elements of air and water. Adriana's workshop felt creatively liberating, with her selection of music playing in the background, she alongside her calm/earthy energy allowed myself and the rest of the participants to explore freely, yet made us aware of our direction and adding clarity to our movements. 

 

Adriana instructed us to freely explore with certain body parts, for example, the head, feet, knees etc. and generate different patterns in ways that, that specific body part could move and later on identifying it's rhythms, furthermore questioning and actively seeing how to accommodate the rest of your body when that specific body part moves. She also challenged us to play with the idea of making the movement small and really exaggerating the movement. This was interesting because when adding the idea of extension and momentum, one can generate a wide range of performance material from that one specific movement.

 

I also asked Adriana what her superpower would be, and she mentioned flying, this way she would be able to witness her experiences from a point of a bird’s eye view, a different perspective. 

 

 

 

Her workshop made me aware of how important it is to question your individuality as a performer, yes technique is important but what lies underneath you as a performer, what substance exists deeper than technique can see? When I allowed myself to authentically investigate this very question within her workshop I got to tap into the state of self -exploration. Each workshop offered something different, it cannot be compared. I do not think it should be. I think both workshops were important for me to experience. I received something from each one. This brings back what Ciara mentioned when she said that we should try out every avenue and through doing this you offer different experiences for your body.

 

My experience ended off with a cherry on top when I witnessed the talented Che Adams in her solo show titled "Querencia": that expressed the dance style of Flamenco, a dance genre that I was exposed to for the very first time, especially within a theatre space. To my surprise, I discovered that the venue had unexpected technical difficulties which resulted in no lighting, therefore the space was filled with candles, flashlights, fairy lights and rechargeable LED lights. However, it contributed effectively towards Che's performance outcome, giving off a personal and intimate feel.

 

As a first time watcher of Flamenco, I noticed Che's intricate mobility of her hand gestures, the heavy stomping of her feet and the complex rhythms of her feet vibrating passionately into the audience members, which gave off a heightened aesthetic energy. The relationship between her hands and feet was gracefully embodied. The stage set-up brought a familiar feel, dressing up and the idea of getting ready to perform.

 

  

 

It was all of these elements that came together as a whole, which allowed me to be ultimately captivated by her intimate performance. It felt like she was taking the audience on a journey through her personal experience even her choice of music was the same that her mother used when she used to dance. This was discovered during the discussion session. I understood her through her "happy feet" and made an attempt to join her on stage to tap into my potential Flamenco feet!

 

Towards the end, the audience transferred a positive round of applause towards Che, which she deserved! During the discussion session the audience members mentioned that they resonated with her story, felt gratitude towards her for expressing her art so vulnerably,  and highlighted how interesting it was that her previous performance was accompanied by musicians and technical lighting opposed to this performance being stripped from both which automatically brought out an intimate side of her as a performer and revealing her authentic creative expression, whilst at the same time encouraging her to rely on herself as an artist.

 

Che Adams performance brought me back to the short discussion between myself and Julia de Rossebwerth. Julia is one of the Curator's, who manifested this event into creation. She welcomed the Vulture Prodictions team to the Theatre Arts Admin Collective space with such a friendly and welcoming energy. She passionately voiced out how important it was for the audience members to engage with the artists on a personal level and to a certain extent break down the "fourth wall". This is exactly what I got to experience, thank you, Julia!

 

 

  

She expressed the aim of the Curated Consciousness program, wanting to create a space where the audience members can engage with the performers through the witnessing of their performances, talking with them and attending workshops.

 

This experience from the perspectives as both participant and audience member made me realize the vital importance of this Curated Consciousness program. Providing a space for engagement, as well as an opportunity for these talented artists to practically explore their experimental/development work. 

 

My personal experience within the workshop space and my encounter when I witnessed the performance sparked something inside of me again, as a lover of dance and physical theatre. It to a certain extent seemed therapeutic. It also made me aware of how important it is to attend workshops and performances that could potentially spark your creative flame as an artist.

 

My flame has been sparked!

  


 

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