BESPOKE/A BUNDLE OF STICKS (DEVON DANCE COMPASS)Posted: January 4, 2013
a collaboration with freddie opoku-addaie (jagged antics) and katy lee (dance in devon)
On a wet and stormy evening in November at Chulmleigh Community College in North Devon members of U3A South Molton, Home Grown Kids and the college along with myself and dancers Hugh Stainer and Hian Ruth Voon of Jagged Antics Dance Company, performed BESPOKE/A BUNDLE OF STICKS in front of an audience of 90 people. The 45-minute piece was the culmination of many months research and exploration together with dance artist Katy Lee and Royal Oprea House Associate choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie around my arts practice, A BUNDLE OF STICKS, as already documented on this site (see a-bundle-of-sticks-courage-copse-creatives/). The project had been organized and coordinated by DANCE IN DEVON as a means to bring contemporary dance to rural communities across Devon, along with Freddie’s interest in the place of craft in society and movements associated with them…
“I’m interested in working mechanisms of traditional craft techniques and what this says about the value of human creativity and manual skills in an age that is dominated by technological advances.” Freddie explains, “With this I do not want to arrive at a nostalgic view of a pre-technology era, but looking at notions of manual precision, clear work processes and how design and patterns leads to production.” Freddie Opoku-Addaie, http://dancecompass.blogspot.co.uk/
For myself with a holistic interest in how our bodies interact physically, spatially and spiritually within our environment, combined with the physical nature of A BUNDLE OF STICKS, I relished the prospect of working alongside artists from different disciplines and to see how others might interpret such a simple and primitive concept – gathering and carrying sticks. Under Katy’s enthusiastic and intelligent guidance community groups of all ages creatively engaged with the idea to produce phrases and movements which were then taken by Freddie and woven openly and cooperatively with all members of the project to produce the final performance.
While the piece itself had a mixed reception – contemporary dance is not often seen in rural North Devon – the process led to a rich and enjoyable experience for all involved. I was personally overwhelmed by the wealth of possibilities, both physical and narrative, that A BUNDLE OF STICKS inspired – the basis of the project being catalytic rather than an end in itself. It was also a massive pleasure to work closely with others, especially Katy, Freddie, Hugh and Ruth, and to experience such diverse and collusive ways of making and experiencing the creative process. I very much look forward to more opportunities such as this and seriously hope to work with Freddie and the others again in the future.
Many thanks to all…
P Ward 2013
(Further images and a video of the performance will be posted when available)