On arrival at the Dance Centre today I was very excited to see the latest issue of Animated, the journal for participatory practice in dance had arrived, featuring an article by Joanna and I about how we made Under Dark Skies. (In summary, alongside a brilliant team of artists and participants; a true collaboration). You can read the whole article here:
We've woken up on day two still a-buzzing from day one. Lots of good work happened yesterday but an absolute highlight for everyone was meeting the wonderful Les & Kris, who took us on a walk around Elan. The walk demonstrated to us the scale of our solar system. Amongst many things we learnt about the Goldilocks Zone (life is possible here because the conditions are 'just right'), the Great Red Spot on Jupiter which is the biggest cyclone weather system I've ever heard of and that if we had enough water to complete the experiment we would discover that Saturn floats! Les and Kris' enthusiasm was infectious and we hope our paths cross again soon!
We've arrived at Elan Valley Lodge and have spent the morning warming up, getting to know one another and doing small bits of filming. I loved watching the silent warm up this morning, with everyone following Jo with just the sounds of the birds to accompany them. This afternoon we'll be exploring further afield and recording some sounds.
...deep in the heart of Wales! Since we were awarded a Wales Commission for People Dancing, the International Event, for Foundation for Community Dance, we've been waiting for this - our visit to Elan Valley and a chance to see the dark skies of Powys for ourselves! Tomorrow, three members of Senior Moment(um), five PYDC-ers, a choreographer/director, composer, a film maker and two of the Powys Dance team all converge at Elan Valley Lodge for a weekend of making dances and soundtracks, telling stories, filming (both stars and people). And we can't wait!
What is Under Dark Skies?
UDS is an ambitious community dance project: Joanna Young, a Cardiff-based dance artist with extensive experience of working with communities across Wales and producing her own professional work, will work with participants from Dawns Powys Dance. Joanna will collaborate with Portugese composer Filipe Sousa and British film maker Simon Clode. The creative team will be working to create a movement installation using the Dark Sky Zone and Dark Sky Reserve status given to areas of Powys as their stimulus. The status awards recognise the low light pollution in the area making for excellent visibility of star constellations.
Joanna will work with a cast combined of young people from Powys Youth Dance Company and older people from Senior Moment(um). Working directly with the three collaborators, the participants’ stories will be reflected through the installation with film, sound and their own live performance.
Through this collaborative researching and devising process, Joanna is looking to develop her own practice and the participant creative process beyond the typical choreographic and performance experience they have each been through before. The work will be presented two or three times at People Dancing to allow a larger number of delegates to experience it, and the ‘dress rehearsal’ of the work will be opened to a audience of participant family and friends / public in Llandrindod Wells in advance.