Who are you and what do you do?
Wriggle Dance Theatre specialise in producing high quality dance performances for young children and their families, capturing the imagination of audiences by pushing the boundaries of performance to create playful interactive experiences combined with high quality contemporary dance theatre. Wriggle makes work adaptable and accessible to different audiences and spaces, inspiring and igniting imagination. Since its conception Wriggle has toured nationally with 2 shows Once in a Blue Moon in 2013/14, and The Colour of Me in 2016/17.
Alongside their performance work they offer an extensive education and outreach programme which is deeply rooted in their ethos of allowing all children and families to have the opportunity to participate in and experience dance from an early age, actively targeting children and families who are currently least engaged in the arts because of social or economic disadvantage.
What’s your background?
Wriggle Dance Theatre was founded in 2010 by Co-Directors Lucy Knight and Kath Kimber-McTiffen who both have more than fifteen years’ experience as practitioners, performers, managers and dance artists.
Lucy trained at The London Studio Centre and The London Contemporary Dance School. She went on to perform professionally as a dancer embarking on numerous European tours of commercial venues as well as choreographing for European hotels and hair and fashion shows in the UK. Lucy has also gone on to have a successful career as a fitness consultant and has written and presented over 15 fitness programmes on DVD, is the Author of 3 books and has had numerous television appearances as a result. More recently Lucy has written and presented 3 children’s dance DVD’s which are have sold extensively nationally and internationally.
Lucy has continually throughout her career worked with a variety of youth and community dance groups leading on workshops and projects. As Co-Founder and Co-Director of Wriggle Dance Theatre, Lucy was involved in the creative concept and devising of Once in a Blue Moon and performed in the regional and national tours. She went on to direct their second show ‘The Colour of Me’ and delivers on Wriggles extensive outreach programme in schools,community settings.
Kath completed her preliminary dance training at Rubicon, Cardiff and went on to complete a HND in Dance and 1 st class BA (hons) Degree in Arts Practice (dance) and Cultural Policy at Coventry University. Kath’s portfolio career has seen her perform, choreograph and teach in a variety of settings, working both as a dancer and a professional singer. Kath has performed with Kipper Foot Dance Company, Beingfrank Physical Theatre and Liquid Dance and tours regularly as lead singer with latin jazz band, Sonrisa, with whom she has recorded and released three albums.
Kath’s work in schools and the community is far reaching and has ranged from training teachers, lecturing and mentoring undergraduate dance students to running youth dance companies, working with the elderly and with children and families in the community. Kath was involved with the creative concept and devising of both Once in a Blue Moon and The Colour of Me and performed in the regional and national tours of both shows. She also continues to deliver extensively on Wriggle’s education and outreach projects.
Lucy and Kath work closely together to oversee the strategic and artistic vision of Wriggle, devising projects and fundraising to ensure that they can happen.
What will you be working on during your time at PDSW?
Wriggle’s focus during their time spent at PDSW as discovery artists will be to research, develop and create an interactive dance theatre performance with live music and digital elements for young children (3-8yrs) and families exploring how the subjective and psychophysiological perception of touch changes depending on environment and emotional relationship of those being touched. This project will be underpinned by research into affective touch specifically in relation to dual touch, egocentricity and the active, passive relationships between parent and child. We will explore the boundary between the self and other and how this differs in parent/child relationships.
Over two years the research and development will include creative studio time interwoven with experimenting and testing the work in schools and library settings. The research and development phase will culminate in a symposium to share our research, and the making of a promotional trailer for the show.
Finally, we will devise and then premiere the full-length performance ready to tour from autumn 2019.
How do you work?
Co-directors, Lucy and Kath work closely together from the outset brainstorming and discussing creative ideas until they pin down what they are both most excited about. There is usually no shortage of ideas so the difficult bit is choosing the best one. Following this they research and identify the creative team and performers that they feel will help to best realise their vision.
Once the creative team is in place Wriggle works collaboratively, the devising stage is very much a process where we like to start as open minded as possible. We always test our ideas and concepts on our target audience as part of this process, making them also collaborators in the finished product.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Lucy: Oh so many! My worst job ever was working in a brussel sprout factory when I was a student sorting the bad ones and throwing them off the conveyer belt! One of the most exciting moments in my career so far was getting my first publishing deal.
Kath: Non-artist jobs were numerous in the early stages of my career as I needed to make ends meet. I worked in the Bradford and Bingley building society opening their mail and finding things they had lost for two weeks which was officially the most mind-numbing job I have ever had. I worked in a bakery for a few years and quite enjoyed the heavily discounted cakes on offer and also in the booking office of Cardiff Central train station answering telephone enquiries.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Dani Parr as her work for children and families is always beautiful, intuitive and honest and she has been a great inspiration and support to Wriggle.
Aracaladanza as the standard of their work is stunning although very different to what we do.
Theatre-Rites for their inspirational and imaginative childrens work with puppets.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To keep making new work and challenging ourselves as artists and to be brave in the choices that we make.