Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Thomas Noone and I have my own company in Barcelona. We make contemporary dance works with a particular physical and gestural signature and our aim is to bring dance to the widest possible audience while remaining faithful to our contemporary creation roots.
What’s your background?
I am English, London-born, but have spent my entire professional life outside the UK. Indeed, this reaction with PDSW will be the first time my company has a firm link to the UK. I trained at the Rambert Dance school (having completed my degree in Geology – family orders) and then danced in Holland and Belgium before finally settling in Barcelona where I have been since 1997, and where I set up my own company in 2001.
What will you be working on during your time at PDSW?
Our main creative focus during our time with PDSW is our new work Closer. A creation designed for a circus space or, more concretely, a performance for a space where the audience is in 270 degrees about the stage and very close in. The idea came from the invitation to create for La Vela, a circus tent in Sabadell near Barcelona that belongs to L’estruch, a contemporary creation centre. In a conversation with their director the idea came to bring dance to this space and also how the dance language could be influenced by circus. The idea is not to make a circus dance fusion, and we are terrible at juggling-trapeeze-chinese pole, etc. but to look at “body poetry” as in Lecoq, mime, clown and maybe a touch of acrobatics, and see how these could influence our visual.
We do have other projects during these two years, a family show combining dance and puppetry, an outdoor work and a lot of touring – we like to keep busy!
What themes do you pursue?
I am very interested in people and the fine line we tread between our social behaviour and our more primal instinctive roots. I am greatly interested in some of the more the absurd natures of our behaviour and how we relate one to another. I see both kindness and violence, complexity or simplicity and the contradictions fascinate me.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Dishwasher, maths teacher in Jamaica, boat tour guide… but to be honest these were just as a student. I have had the immense fortune to be a dancer for my entire career – and I stress “fortune”.
What do you like about your work?
Short one here – I actually never really “like” my work. I find it unsatisfactory! From a very objective point of view I know when it works just about and can see how to connect it to the audience. I see when the dancers look good and when I have made something that is not correct for them, or made errors to construction. But I am still chasing the work that I think is “good” and the I “like”. Maybe if I ever achieve it I will stop because well a) maybe I got there, or b) maybe my judgement has gone!!!
Should art be funded?
Yes, definitely. I think art is essential for your society in bringing people together, making us think, keeping us aware – the theatre is a social meeting point and is the place where people consciously and unconciously made to consider different viewpoints and thoughts – from the show itself to the reactions of the rest of the audience.
It should be connected to education as well so that here is the social return and not just the artist shutting himself away in the studio for a long period of time… by the same logic as I have mentioned previously, young people see how you can express things by different mediums, music, dance, theatre art.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I think the goal is always to produce an engaging and stimulating dance work for the audience. I firmly believe that what we do would not exist without the audience, so they are present in my mind from day one. Whatever “inquietudes artisticos” (that translates as between artistic impatiences and curiosities) I might feel it has to become something that works for the audience and not a research itself.
I would really like to establish the company more, I think we are in a different place to 15 years ago but still I would like to be able to have a slightly larger ensemble and be a tiny bit more ambitious with the production. And above all, I really would love to be able to show the work to more people. I believe that dance is engaging and accessible to a much greater number of people than it arrives to at present and I would love to be able to share our vision of dance with many. many more people!