In the reveal
Lead artist/researcher: Jennifer Jackson
Supporting researchers: Patrick Wood, Ann Dickie, Shima Kobayashi
Musician: Shima Kobayashi
Contributing dancers: Ann Dickie, Bethany Elliott, Rym Kechacha, Jennifer Jackson, Jenny Nilson
In the reveal is the outcome of choreographic research that interrogates the relationship of personal and shared ballet ‘histories’, the notion that the dancer’s somatic experience and memory are tied to a material sense of place and that choreographic forms and gestures, as structures in space, are available for re-invention. The choreography - for a musician and dancers aged between 60 and 17 - integrates solo material developed by the dancers, movement ‘chorus’ and theatrical ritual and aims to contextualise both performers and audience as witness to the unfolding action and participants in the internal place of the imagination.
The research references geographer Doreen Massey’s (2006) conceptualisation of space and place to investigate parallels with principles underpinning ballet (see below) and idea of the individual dancer’s physical sense of en place as both historically and geographically situated - at the virtual and material intersection of vertical and horizontal planes. Massey identifies geographical distance, speed and difference as tied to the inescapable "materialities of place", space as having the "dimension of simultaneity" and time the "dimension of change". She argues for the slow experience of time as a response to "friction-free" technological space. Reaching across places and times, we make somatic experiments with fragments of material from particular ballet histories - the Romantic - and reference Marian Smith’s (2000) analysis of C19 production in formulating dance/music structures that address issues of personal history and place.
By exploring the principles of spatial geometry (en place/en face/en croix/en dehors and en dedans) with somatic awareness, the ballet dancer learns to understand her body in space and develop a sense of being ‘at home’ in her body (en place). Ballet practice defines the dancer’s position in space (en face) in simple terms (a circle mapping a square) that replicate geographical compass points. The combination of the vertical being and horizontal action (en croix) makes her location and movement as a human being in space legible, and through breath and the imaginative flow of lines, indicates the interconnection of the whole body with both time and space (en dehors /en dedans).