As part of the ‘Knowing the Dance’ project, dancer/choreographer/researcher Paula Guzzanti and I have been meeting up to create a performance which explores innovative ways that movement/dance and poetry can meet where there is, what I am calling, parity of esteem between the two artforms and where the base of inspiration can move backwards and forwards between the two artforms. Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, have been the most generous hosts in providing studio space for us to conspire, inspire, experiment and create what I hope will be very interesting and affecting pieces.
One of our experiments is to use the same landscape as a base of inspiration for a piece of work, where Paula would take the movement forward and, I, the poetry. March, here, can be so fine and last Thursday (9 March) provided the ideal conditions to try this out. Paula and I installed ourselves at Steamboat Quay right at the end of the Pondage – and took a half an hour with our own process. It was lovely that walkers on the Pondage that afternoon seemed very content with us being there.
An interesting synergy emerged when we shared our work. Both of us had been considering where our attention was being drawn to, and how we we responded to that. When we moved to the studio to work on the piece of work which will, I think, be a key piece, this question stayed with us, acting as a kind of binding of sorts between the two artforms. This is very, very inspirational work. It is a real privilege to be working with Puala – including the fact that she has a writing practice and her current PhD research is examining ‘affect’ and this is adding a dimension to the work which won’t be there without this collaboration – a more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts situation entirely.