All 43 excited dancers gather for a second time in the Theatre at Jerwood House. The four companies have diligently worked with Luca at The Place, London (Damn Fine Dance and The Place Dancers) or at DanceEast, Ipswich (Cadenza and EncoreEast) in the interim period. These sessions gave us the privilege of watching Luca’s working processes as he wove our dances together into a whole. Now, Luca has two days to weave the material into a garment that can be shaped over the coming months into a fabulous ‘coat of many colours’.
Watching Luca work is like witnessing atoms in the universe coalescing, dividing and reforming. An endless process just like our dance themes of beginning, middle, end and the bits in between. ‘Where is the beginning?’
Grateful thanks to the choreographers able to be there to support us. Also, to tireless magician musician (Andy Pink), lighting genius (Conor Farthing) and helpful costume designer (Lizzie Barker), all seeking to perfect these aspects of a performance, with ‘ringmaster’ Luca. It’s mind-blowing to watch, knowing that I’m a small cog in this beautifully spinning wheel.
Staying alert throughout two eight-hour days, whether dancing or standing ready waiting, is a challenge. The generous support we give each other throughout the days is subtly turning us into one company. Important learning points are: taking responsibility for myself rather than following; remembering where I am in a space and which dancers are around me for new bits of choreography; actively taking in the changes, or performance ‘tips and hints’ Luca makes as they arise; and most importantly only talking in scheduled breaks!
Various impressions that have stayed with me include folk taking phone photos of Luca’s white-board plan, or the feverish scribbling of memory notes on cadged bits of paper. Lunch sharing with different company members. Endlessly repeating ‘I’m Sue, I think your name is…’. Or ‘what comes next, oh dear, I need to be on the other side of the stage’. However, by the end of day two, Luca had interwoven four dances into one, including a lovely finale phrase incorporating a movement from the different dances.
Luca thanked us for our work rate, minimal compared with his, but happily received. We said warm farewells to fellow dancers as we look forward to a summer of recalling all we’ve learned until we meet again. For the last two nights the best way to drop off into instant sleep is working through the dance from beginning to … and it’s morning.
Book Home from Home ticket
DanceEast, Ipswich – 14th October: https://www.danceeast.co.uk/performances/home-from-home-encoreeast-and-friends/
Norwich Playhouse – October 19th:https://norwichtheatre.org/whats-on/home-from-home/
The Place, London – 21st October:https://theplace.org.uk/events/autumn-23-home-from-home
Why not join us on 28th September to experience workshops by EncoreEast’s Home from Home choreographer Alethia Antonia https://www.danceeast.co.uk/workshops/home-from-home-experience-day/
Home from Home is devised and produced by EncoreEast; supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, co-commissioned by EncoreEast, DanceEast, The Place and Norwich Theatre.
Photo: Roswitha Chesher