Hi I’m Amy Morvell, the new intern dancer for Lîla Dance. I’ve just joined the company as one of four cast members in their new work The Hotel Experience. This is my first blog in this role, so I’m going to give you an insight into my experiences as a dancer in the creative process so far…
one of the most exciting, insightful, fast paced and drilling weeks of dance I have ever experienced
I had a brilliant first week working in The Point, Eastleigh’s Creation Space. This residency was one of the most exciting, insightful, fast paced and drilling weeks of dance I have ever experienced. Each day new explorations helped us delve into what The Hotel Experience could be and this made the work begin to come to life giving light to my role in the sections.
I felt very nervous before our first day (first professional experience!) – however once in the studio, this melted away quickly as everyone in the company immediately made me feel so relaxed and comfortable. As a recent graduate of University of Chichester, I can’t believe my luck that I managed to get an internship with such a welcoming and inspiring group of people. The directors and dancers involved in Lîla have such unique voices and I imaginations – it has been really exciting and inspiring to be at the heart of the creative workings as these voices come together. It’s so great to be amongst them, doing, learning and contributing to it all.
In this process, Lîla is also collaborating with set designer Simon Plumridge who is designing and creating the set for the work. Simon artistic ideas have been really inspiring and made me consider the possibilities of the work from a new perspective. The set is currently a prototype, a room sized wooden frame on wheels. As a dancer, moving with this set and the smaller props is challenging, it gives me (and the other dancers I hope!) double the amount to think about when creating and rehearsing material. I have absolutely loved this challenge though – It has been like halving another contact improv partner!
Week 1 has been a whirlwind, but I have started to find my feet within the company and it has opened my eyes to understanding my own physicality as a dancer.
So Week 2 was really fantastic. We were in residency at The University of Chichester and started the week working with the feedback that we got from the sharing we held at The Point. We delved deeper into the themes and possible relationships that had surfaced in week 1, this required plenty of confidence which was a challenging for me, however each day this became easier.
This week we also worked closely with Dougie Evans, one of Lila’s Co-Artistic Directors and composer for dance, to bring together the movement material with the sound score. It was amazing to dance to his creations because he captured the energy and mood of each section and this really fuelled the way we performed the sections.
There are so many ideas coming up in the different sections it is hard to pinpoint which is my favourite but what I can say is that each has different challenges and this has lead me to develop my performance skills in lots of ways. One of these ways comes from the fact that the audience will be seated in a horse shoe shape for The Hotel Experience. I have had to really work on making a connection with the audience on all sides and not gaze past them. It’s strange to realise how tricky this is! However knowing that Lîla are likely to be taking the work on a rural tour I know that audiences will be close to the action and therefore I want make a ‘real’ connection with the audience and use my focus to drawn them into Lila’s world.
Week 2 was fast paced… and I loved it! I’ve danced in ways I have never danced before and can’t wait for week 3… thanks Lîla!
For Week 3 we were in residence at The Gulbenkian, University of Kent. We rehearsed in their theatre space which was lovely because the auditorium was seated in a horse shoe shape already making it god practice for developing my focus! Over the week we really went into depth with the material we had and focused on finding the heart of each section, questioning what energy, intention and relationships made up this moment? Getting the time to think and move in this way was brilliant, I felt so involved in, and connected to every part of the process. I love making work myself and this depth of development has completely inspired me in my future choreographic ventures.
Toward the end of the week we began to really focus in on the articulation of the spine in each section, bringing the body to life in a 3-dimensional way -front, side and back of the body in motion – it was fascinating to dance like this and by watching the other dancers, I could really understand how this transformed the movement and the audience experience – it was beautiful to watch.
Also… Lighting Designer Natalie Rowlands of Pitch Black join us to explore ways of lighting the set and dance through lighting sources that we as dancer could controlled from within the work. It was really great to explore the work in collaboration with Natalie as she used light sources to emphasised the mood/feeling of the performance. It was pretty challenging to dance and move, the set with stage lights and switch lights on and off at the same time… this will take some rehearsal!!!
This process with Lîla has been like the holiday that you don’t want to be over. I have had such an amazing time with such talented people I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction into the world of professional dance.