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FATHOM by MiFlamenco

Day One

Today was the first studio session of our artists in residency week. In our prep sessions, we have been just a small group of 4, so having the additional artists mixed into the process today was amazing: our cellist Nick Squires, Kelian Jimenez – our gypsy dancer – and our sound expert, Will. It took a while to get accustomed to the new dynamic, but there were some magic moments in the studio today. As a flamenco dancer, I have my own source of inspiration: the live guitar, the powerful singing. This combined with my own life experiences is what moves me and inspires me to create. This project is completely different, as we still have the basis of our company: the essential flamenco guitar of Uri Tal and powerful gypsy voice of Luis Vargas Monge, but there is a large dose of extra stimuli to work with and it is really this extra stimuli, which is shaping the project. The powerful narrative of Vita Nova poets like Jane Cartwright and our experiences and collaboration with the Vita Nova and the Butterfly Foundation members has opened our minds and steered our creativity into a brand new direction. We are all being stretched so much as artists on this project, being forced out of our comfort zones – under the direction of Lee Hart – into new and exciting directions. There were some challenging moments for everyone today, but some of the experiments we undertook were breath-taking. On with this amazing journey tomorrow.

Day Two

Today was the second day of our residency. We really got to grips today with Kelian Jimenez’s input, which blew everyone away (not a surprise really!). I have been working with Kelian for years and he still blows me away. One of our Butterfly Foundation women, Cathy, was in the studio today, andher input was truly amazing. This collaboration is creating something very unique and I feel truly privileged to be working with these individuals. This combination of artists and community input is a first for us and I feel we are all learning so much from this experience. Our photographer on this project, Samanta Tavares, was present today in her usual relaxed, professional manner. She somehow makes herself invisible and present and aware at the same time and I still can’t work out how she does it. The result, though, is that everyone just carries on working, so hoping to get some really natural shots of rehearsals uploaded soon. Because of the sensitive, thought-provoking subject matter, I feel myself carrying the mood home with me, hours after the studio session has finished. Having said that, I feel hungry to get working again tomorrow.

Day 3

Gathering momentum all the time and feeling more and more drawn in by the issues we are exploring. Today, I would like to quote some snippets from Cathy diary (one of the Butterfly Foundation members involved in FATHOM); she is using her diary to document her experience with us. “I am a client of The Butterfly Foundation which supports the recovery of people who have experienced abuse. As well as helping individuals pick up the pieces and re-build their lives emotionally through self-esteem courses and learning to understand the nature of abusers they help us to regain and develop our sense of identity and individuality (something which is crushed during the process of abuse) through the creative arts…….By the end of the day (Tuesday Day 2) I had become more involved that I could have imagined. Lee got Jess (drama undergraduate) and I to do some free writing. We read it back to each other, explored some more, recorded snippets….”This writing contributes enormously to the issues we are exploring. Cathy “performs” it with courage and truth and we feel very privileged to be working alongside members like Cathy, brave enough to share their experiences. Talking directly about her take on her participation on Tuesday, she talks about returning to the world of art that she loves: “It’s not a “we’re all in this together” show time, its “this is my story”, come along for the ride if you want.”

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DAY 4

Today was a very inspiring and exhausting day for everyone. We ran through what we had been working on and got some extra pointers from the director Lee Hart, who is driving us in a very challenging and rewarding way. We are all starting to feel like a real team: everyone pulling their weight, supporting each other and feeling equally moved and driven by the issues we have been exploring. The group feel very united, despite the language differences and the diverse ways of working. The growth in the room feels palpable with everyone being allowed to express themselves in their unique way, but also being encouraged to challenge themselves in a safe and supportive environment. Everyone in the team, at some stage or other, has expressed the difficult emotions they have felt this week, with the issues we have been asked to address through our art. What I am sure of though, is that we have all grown through this experience and we are all looking forward to sharing our work-in progress tomorrow

DAY 5 AND WORK IN PROGRESS MI FLAMENCO

It seems a strange thing to say when our project is really just beginning, but I feel that I can finally exhale. The emotions I have felt over this week, cannot really be described: thank God, we can dance for that. We had a lot more to show than I ever thought possible in one week, but thanks to Lee Hart, the Director, it was about experimenting and getting it all out there in whatever form, to reshape and think about later. This was such a different way of working for us, and after some natural resistance, everyone just did it, and it felt great to let go and just let the process be the focal point. Some very creative fruits came from that process, we all felt, and those who came to share in the work-inprogress in the Ocean Room on Friday, seemed to engage in the work in a very positive way.We are very much at the starting point for this work, but this beginning we have, feels like a very positive place to be, and we are now looking to develop the work further. Thanks to Pavilion Dance for an amazing week of growth, inspiration and the chance to interact with some amazing artists and human beings. I would just like to quote some of the comments we received during the feedback on Friday:

 “This has been a generous, professional and valuable art and community project.”Gemma (Vita Nova)

“It was so powerful, relevant and deeply enthralling…”“visceral, raw, dynamic…”“It expresses deep emotions perfectly and the pain of violence, abuse, heartbreak..”

 

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