The idea behind The Experiment, held at Laban Theatre on 23 April, was to ask questions and provoke the audience with work they may love or may hate without them knowing the gender of the choreographer. The Experiment was never billed as a show and it was not a showcase or a platform for new and emerging choreographers: it was a research evening with performances involved in order to gain the responses we required.
Everyone attending was given questionnaires to fill out in response to the pieces they were watching and the feedback from these has been fascinating. We have been accused of not choosing the 'best work' for the evening but that was not what the event was about. The evening has provoked strong reactions from various areas of the dance industry and has already generated a huge discussion which is exactly what Jane and I wanted to achieve. We want to make people talk about this issue and come together to further these conversations. We feel it is very important to recognise this as not just being a concern in the contemporary dance genre but also something that is happening in across the board in all genres, hence the mix of work we choose for The Experiment.
Jane and I do not have the answers to the questions and we don't believe for one second that one event is going to give the answers we are looking for but it is the basis we have decided to work from. This is just the beginning; not everyone will like the way do certain events/performances/research but we welcome everyone's opinions and thoughts and feelings on this varied subject as our plan is to bring everyone together - both male and female - and find a way to move forward and bring about a change.
A feature in Time Out about the FCC by Lyndsey Winship: www.timeout.com/london/dance/why-arent-there-more-female-choreographers?intcid=leader
A review of The Experiment by Donald Hutera for London Dance: londondance.com/articles/reviews/the-experiment-female-choreographers-collective/
A critique of The Experiment by Jacob Hobbs and Flora Wellesley Wesley of Bellyflop: www.bellyflopmag.com/reviews/female-choreographers-collective-experiment
A follow-up blog by Alexandrina Hemsley of Bellyflop on the reaction to Jacob's and Flora's blog: www.bellyflopmag.com/blog/being-offensive
Some thoughts by Laura Dodge on The Experiment: dancemusings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-experiment.html
The works performed at The Experiment were:
Title: “Is my whining winding you up?”
Choreographer: Cindy Claes
Performers: Andrea Queens, Natalie Bailey, Cindy Claes
Extract of a new Dancehall Theatre piece on the theme of feminism, women’s rights and gender inequalities. Three female characters address conflicting topics through the epic dance language of Jamaican Dancehall and a sprinkle of spoken words!
Website & Videos: www.cindyclaes.com
Supported by Arts Council England, Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban Partnership, TheLondonHub
Title: The Hanging
Choreographer: Alfie Smith
Music: The Hanging, Craig Armstrong
Dancers: Ben Radford, Joe Seaton, Pascal Johnson, Peter Moir, Josh Hutchings, Vernon Anderson, João Carolino
This piece explores depression and suicide through the allegory of gang violence.
Alfie Smith is currently studying at Tring Park School.
Title: Behind The Smoke
Choreographer: Travis Knight
Dancers: Travis Knight and Natalie O'Brien
The piece looks at the hidden thoughts of exploration that a newly formed couple undergo and how it evolves from something shy and wary to an intimate and daring discovery of their own forms and lines.
As each of them steps in to their minds they develop an alienated sense of their own bodies, as well as each others, thus beginning their desire to observe and learn more about the stranger next to them.
Travis Knight is currently dancing with Wayne McGregor/Random Dance. He recently showed work at Resolution 2013.
Title: Man Down (an excerpt)
Choreographer: John Ross
Music: Nine inch Nails and J.Ross
Vocals: Matthew Lackford
'Man Down' is based on a true story of a soldier sent to Afghanistan who never came back.
John Ross is currently dancing with Tom Dale Company and working as a freelance choreographer.
Wrecking Ball Dance Company
Title: Even the Devil has Demons
Choreographer: Caitlin Barnett
Music: Interrogation, Lonesome Subway, Grimm’s House – Chemical Brothers, In the shadow of life - Niyaz, Switchblade Smiles – Kasabian, Miss Lucifer – Primal Scream, Escape-700 – Chemical Brothers
Dancers: Caitlin Barnett, Daniel Bradford, Laura Flanagan, Rosie Terry, Thomas Wilkinson
Even the Devil has Demons brings you face to face with the creatures that seep out of the imagination, onto the page and through the screen into our daily lives. “Don’t forget him. If you confront him, then he’s out of a job” Keith Richards (2002).
WBDC recently showed work at Resolution 2013
Yuyu Rau and Elena Zaino
Title: Invisible Presence
Choreographer: Yuyu Rau and Elena Zaino
“The idea that visible reality is only a small crumb of what is really out there.” Doug Wheeler
Invisible presence is aiming to create illusion on the stage and disturbing the possession of what audience believes what they see through the choreography and simple light changing.
Video footage will be available shortly.