by Katharina Pfeffer and Shawita Parag (EVS Volunteers / Vicolocorto) / (photo: Clementine Telesfort / by Umberto Dolcini)
Sunday 7th September 2014 was dedicated to the young students of Trinity Laban, selected by Masako Matsushita and Paolo Paggi in London. The project was presented at the XI edition of Hangartfest in Pesaro with the collaboration of the prestigious Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance.
The students are all at the end of their second year there and this was their chance to perform their piece which they created over the year. They were between 19 and 25 years old, and you could really feel the passion that they have for what they do.
The performance was divided into 6 short pieces, each performed by either one artist or a group. Each piece was different from the one before, and we were all totally fascinated by the fact that the dancers already have so much knowledge and can interpret so much at their young age. After the performances, we also had the chance to talk to some of the young artists, to hear about their piece and also about their lives.
By and with Jean-Baptiste Baele
This performance was an outcome of the solo Hyperion presented in Laban Studio Theatre and originally taught in reaction to the constant oppression that influences the personality and liberty of every individual. This piece assumes a different perspective in the context of Hangartfest, as an improvisation.
During the performance, it seemed like he was constantly fighting with himself, one hand pushing back the other, trying to control himself – it seemed like a very personal, intimate story that he was telling the audience.
The second piece was choreographed by Laura Ganotis from Brussels and presented by Irene Ingebretsen, Lindsey Nakorn, Gina Ricker and Natalie Sloth Richter. The description gave us some indications about what the piece was about:
Taking all their belongings wherever they go, the nomads represent the idea of belonging. The research is guided by how the concept of belonging can change us in a progressive way rather than in an obstructive way. Nomad´s land is an exploration that made us understand the need of both the individuality and being together.
During the performance, the four women who were all dressed equally, implemented the idea of a nomadic life by creating circles, building bridges, walking and running. The perfomance also showed some problems that one can face when entering a country or community that they haven’t been in touch with before, how to integrate themselves and how to find their place in the community. This was shown e.g. by three of the artists creating a circle, and one trying to enter, or by creating bridges where one of them had to walk over.
Interview with Lindsay Nakorn
At what age and why did you decide to start at Trinity Laban?
I started at the age of 22, because I did a lot of previous training as a community education dancer. I was teaching youth groups and adult groups to get people interested into movement and creation as a hobby, and for the younger children to give them the opportunity to feel passionate about something that isn’t necessarily academia or in a class room. I did that for a few years and it was really fulfilling, but I was quite young when I was teaching, and I wanted more for myself. Trinity Laban is very open with dance artists. It doesn’t just train ballerinas or contemporary performers, but also produces choreographers, film artists, sculptors, producers, journalists, teachers. They teach you to be an artist, rather than just a dancer.
Tonight you were in the piece ‘Nomad’s Land’. Can you tell us what it was about and what you wanted to express?
‘Nomad’s Land’ was choreographed by Laura Ganotis (dancer from Italy). She travelled quite a lot, speaks five languages and has grown up in Greece, Italy and Belgium. Her piece is about nomadism and feeling at home wherever your home happens to be at that time. A lot of the dancers here can relate to that. We travelled a fair bit and we all moved to London for the course at Trinity Laban. So whilst you are doing the course, you are trying to adjust to a new city, a new social circle and a new culture. The piece is about taking yourself with you wherever you go and being yourself in whatever environment you are in.
We performed the piece with four dancers, and what three of us were doing while making a closed circle were really ritualistic movements. It is like the basis of culture in terms of how a lot of places have a lot of history. If you enter a situation where you are surrounded by people who for many generations have done things a certain way, you are the first generation of yourself and your family to arrive there. As an outsider you might not know the history or be part of the history or even able to relate to it. So it is definitely about that kind of being together in this part of the culture and feeling strong in what you do, but also not entirely feeling part of the collective.
“You are deeper and more real than anything you can perceive, imagine or conceive. As long as you conceive yourself, you are not yet achieved, you live in the superficiality of yourself.” (Henri Le Saux)
The third piece was by Clementine Telesfort from France. As the prescription said, it was a self-portrait that reflects on the connection between body and being and a travel in the consciousness of the boundless nature in the limits of our space and time. The action of being in that precise moment becomes governess of everything.
She started the performance by entering the dark stage with a strong light, trying to find her way. She then found a tree and some leaves that were lying on the ground, and started to interact with them. Afterwards, she measured her body, it seemed like she was trying to find out who she was, trying to find her way “out of the darkness”.
The fourth piece by and with Christopher Spraggs from the UK was a self portrait in progress that investigates the subjugation of the self to its own memory and its own sensory explorations making possible live again the experienced. The piece uses the perceptions of the self imagined, which are possible through a majestic and evocative vocal score.
For the audience, it was a very interactive piece. The artist asked everyone to stand on the stage, leaving a small circle for him to perform in. He then started moving along with the music, which also included some spoken indication, e.g “now tilt your head back”. He followed the indication, but also included the people around by looking at them and continued his show according to their reactions.
SCIENCE OF STILL
The following piece was choreographed by Lindsey Nakorn and performed by Jean Baptiste Marie Baele, Laura Ganotis, Irene Ingebretsen, Gina Ricker, Natalie Sloth Richter and Clementine Telesfort
Exploring the relationship between the sound, the resonance of the frequency and the human body, Science of Still is a research about how the sound gives a shape to the relation with the others and with the space that surrounds us. Uniting and at the same time isolating, the sound comes to move us physically and emotionally in ways that we can’t control and predict.
For me as a viewer, this piece was the very interesting and at the same time a little hard to understand. The group was moving almost all the time, running in circles or lying on the ground and moving. Repetitively, the group of dancers was somehow handing one dancer from one to another, as if she needed their support. Later we found out that she represented the sound that was reflected by the others.
Interview with Lindsey Nakorn, the choreographer of ‘Sience of still’
After presenting Nomad’s Life, you choreographed ‘Science of still’. Can you tell us more about that piece?
The second piece ‘Science of still’ started off as an exploration of sound in a very scientific way. Sound influences the body and there are a lot of vibrations and resonances that the human ear cannot pick up, but you can feel them anyway. For example, when someone enters a room you can feel that something is wrong. Or sometimes you can get an awkward feeling around someone, even if you don’t know the person. That just means that your inner vibration is clashing with the other person’s vibration. So, apart from objects, our bodies and our relationships as well are being affected by sound.
In the performance we started off by one of us representing a sound and the rest of us representing different objects. Sounds move through space, but if they are interrupted by something they will change their course or effect what is being hit and then that will make a sound. So one person was shaping the space by opening up the way sound travels and we tried showing how people affected by it react.
A collection of spaces
A body that moves… trying to remember
Spaces left in the past, images, reinvented.
The sounds evoke and the silence resists.
The last piece was by and with Samara Dubois from France. It started very silent and calm. On the floor, Masako had prepared a circle of four cloths for her, and she performed on all of them, using almost spiritual sounding music. On the first one, she stayed very silent, moving a little bit. On the second one, the movement got heavier, almost angry, while on the third one, she ended by lying down in a fetal position, while we could hear her own voice talking in French over the speakers. After performing on the fourth clothe, the lights went off and when they came back on, she had disappeared from the stage. We later found out that each of the clothes represented a memory or feeling to her, and she reacted to these memories or feelings with her body and movements.
Interview with Samara Dubois
How did you start dancing and end up at Trinity Laban?
I started dancing from the age of three or four. My mother travels around, so I pretty much followed her. So my dance training was a bit everywhere. I guess it got me to understand what really interested me. I have been dancing for a long time, but started doing contemporary dance when I was around sixteen. In Australia and France I met an older generation of teachers who were in their 50’s or 60’s and were trained at Laban. They were giving workshops and I got interested in the school, but also in the importance that was given to choreography. Laban was pretty much the only school I really wanted to go to. So I decided to apply.
Why did you choose to come to Hangartfest?
Masako Matsushita, a freelance dancer who was also trained at Trinity Laban, came to the school about three or four years ago. She had come to watch performances and ended up appreciating it. She wanted to keep in touch and therefore invited us here. It is quite special in the sense that it is always good for a community of artist to support each other. I also find it important that generations of dancers keep in touch.
Your performance is called ‘Ephemeral Ground’. Can you describe what you wanted to express?
It’s a developed work on a self portrait. I used four cloths which I laid down on the floor and on each cloth I performed a piece. Every cloth represents a fragment of either memory or sensations that I gathered. So it’s like a collage, a gathering of fragments of memory and feeling. There are some meaningful images for me that I embody and that goes with feelings and emotions. There is something different in each cloth that I’m trying to give out to the audience and at the same time the audience can receive something different out of it.
Can you give an example of something that is connected to one of the cloths? Yes, what was quite a challenge in this performance was that every cloth had a different creative process. I worked on one cloth at the time and I put them all together in the end. For example with one cloth, that ended up having a very still choreography, I used the recording of my own voice. The sound fragment was a part of an interview on a text I had written about my childhood. In that specific answer I was talking about my mother.
I remember the starting point was the recording and the cloth. Then my aim was to respond to that physically, but what happened and what I find really interesting is that the memory of my mother completely took over to the point of me surrendering myself, wanting to stay truly honest to the way I was experiencing the voice and that memory. So instead of using a lot of movement, I just laid down in a fetal position, because that was what it evoked in me.
Something that we are encouraged to talk and think about as dance students is how to stay honest in the piece that you are performing. How to make the difference between being honest and doing something that is pretty to look at. Finding that balance is something that I was trying. I was trying to keep a sense of poetry and at the same time make everything still.