At the tail end of 2016, i received news that I had been
awarded funding from Arts Council England, with support from Dance4 to research
and develop one of my projects – D.A.N.C.E (Developing a new comedy
experience). This is an event that i’ve been running once a season since late
2015, and involves comedians performing their sets and dancers improvising and
reacting to them on stage.
I’ve been interested around the parallels between dance and
comedy for a while, from being close friends with many and living with them in
my time. I always wondered when I first got introduced the industry, if there
was a circuit like there is in comedy. Is there an obvious route for
progression, do dancers take shows to Edinburgh – how long are they usually?
But also wondered about the performance and what it feels
like performing to an audience, in an art form that usually doesn’t expect an
instant reaction from the audience in the same way Stand Up comedy does with
The groundbreaking moment for me though, was watching the
dance improv collective Quickshifts
perform one of their shows in Nottingham Contemporary. It was improvised with
live musicians also improvising, and as a result often the words that were
spoken (which in itself I didn’t really realise could be a thing before) and
the movements that were made were very silly and a lot of fun. It had completely
broken my preconceptions of dance, I didn’t realise that it wasn’t serious all
the time, which it can make fun of itself, that it could be funny.
And in many ways that’s what this project is about; it’s
sharing that realisation with comedy goers, and other members of the public who
think that Dance is serious and not for them.
Throughout this year (2017), I will be producing 6 D.A.N.C.E
events, a residency in Nottingham, delivering workshops to students, exploring
this relationship between dance and comedy, specifically looking at Stand Up
and improvisation; this will culminate in a documentary being made from the
wonderful James Hissett.
This blog will be produced alongside teaser trailers for
this documentary, to be released after each event, as a chance to discuss my
findings, explore and analyse the experiences being made. And to make the arts
council evaluation really easy to write at the end.
Thanks for reading