Don’t stand so close to me

Over view of the day

The show on April the 2nd was one of the smoothest
running events of D.A.N.C.E i’ve ran, which is a credit to the performers and
maybe I’m getting the hang of this a bit more. I was thrilled to see how much
everyone put into it.

We started off with a discussion, about our expectations for
the day (as well as discussing our favourite animal –Dancer Ian Dolan chose a
seagull, make of that what you will) it lasted well over 30 minutes, and in
fact could have gone for longer as we discussed the elements of play that is
involved within the performance and the importance of status – it’s difficult
because due to the comedian speaking inherently they have a higher status and
focus, how do you manage that? How do you create a balance between the two
performers without their being more weight than the other? I’m still not sure
but it’s interesting to explore, maybe by the end of this project I’ll have a
focused answer for you. Or i’ll be applying for more funding to continue

Comedians standing
close to the audience

One of the main things I noticed in trying to address this
balance is staging. Where each of the performers stands on stage.  I’ve noticed increasingly that the comedians
tend to stand very central and in some cases stand as close to the edge of the
stage as possible. This i’ve realised is natural for any comedian to want to
do, of course the comedian will want to stand as close to the edge as possible
as that’s what they are used to, what they are doing is having a conversation
with the audience, it’s a dialogue so naturally they will want to be as close
as they can to the receivers of this dialogue so both parties are engaged in
the relationship they are having.

However in the context of this event, this can hinder the
performance, it draws attention away from the dancer behind them, who in turn
is in danger of looking like a ‘backing dancer’ to the performance, which is
absolutely not the aim of the event.  Is
it better for the comedian and the dancers to have their own ’boxes’ one each
side of the stage for them to perform in? Or should the comedian be off stage
in the corner so the focus is on what the audience is hearing and all they are
seeing is the dancer interpret that. This may be a task that I try for next
time, however that in itself brings about its own problems, it leaves little
room for interaction between the two performers.

And that interaction is important and key to the development
of this concept; this was encouraged further in this event, with some dancers
interrupting the comedians set entirely with dialogue, which was great to see.
Other interactions included contact between the two performers, with dancer
being gestural towards the physicality’s of what the comedian was doing.

One of the main things I noticed was eye contact, at times
there seemed to be very little eye contact between the two performers (in some
cases this was deliberate), it’s interesting because in many ways the comedian directs
the audience attention, it’s important for them then to understand their
responsibility to the dancer, and ensuring they are acknowledged throughout the
performance, by looking at them or drawing attention to them. If the dancer is
ignored, then is there still an element of collaboration here?

Highlight of the day

For a large part, this blog post seems to be focused on what
the comedian is doing, Apologies for this, it’s perhaps because I’m a comedian
myself and understand the thought process around this more, and I’m still
waiting to hear feedback from the dancers.

There was a couple of real highlights for me this time
round, one being where we were getting the chorography together for Jack
Brittons ensemble pieces, there were two in total, and although it didn’t plan
to go this way, the comedians directed and choreographed one piece, where all
the dancers were performing and the dancers directed and choreographed the
other with the comedians dancing. It was a magnificent moment of collaboration,
and hope for this to continue in future events.

The other real highlight for me was #MarbleFeedback


Evaluations can be really boring (although I find them fun,
but then that might be due to the satisfaction of ticking boxes), however (and
thanks to Richard Fletcher for the idea) I’ve got a new fun way, ladies and
gentlemen I present to you #marblefeedback.

A little context first, this project as I may have mentioned
is about tracking audiences perceptions of dance and comedy, and whether the
event can change their views on it. At the start of the night audience members
are asked to fill out a form monitoring what they think of both art forms
currently, and is there anything that puts them off attending these events.
They are then given two marbles, a white and green one, and not told what they
are for.

At the end of the event I explained that each of these
marbles represents comedy and dance, they were then asked to put them in one of
two boxes ‘yes’ or ‘no’ with the question being ‘Has this event made you think
differently about comedy or dance’. Excitingly the majority of the audience put
both marbles in the yes box. Which proves that this event is actually doing
something to change views.

Using Format