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Isabel Dickens is an artist currently working with the Platform Young Company, our performance group for anyone aged 16 - 25 years. As part of her work with the group Issy will be posting regular updates of what goes on during meetings, rehearsals and workshops:
Today we spent time checking in and then warming up. Even though people are not performing live on the zoom chat every week we have still warm-up together. At the minute I work with a warm-up based on the online culture of selfies and Instagram. It is a nod to social media culture as we are now limited to communicating mainly through phones and social media platforms. I find Britney Spears’ Instagram presence very interesting; as it is like a template of what a big corporate Instagram presence can be and there is a very clinical emptiness to it which points to both all the speculation about her life as a pop star. It is an example of what the pillars of a ‘benign’ social media presence are. She shares beauty and fashion shots posing, she shares selfies before pouting and smiling, she uploads work out videos in the garden, at the beach or cycling through her estates which tend to be empty of other people. In the warm-up we do, selfie poses finding our best angles, then we do hair tosses and body poses, we do some twirling, either throwing our hair around on the spot or twirling around our seat, we do some fake exercise routine to wake our bodies up. I also try to incorporate we also do some mindful breathing and a quick body scan to try to get people into their bodies especially when we are so screen focussed all the time. It is fun to have at least one part of the session where everyone is moving together even though we are not able to be together in the room.
The task from this week was to create individual footage where each member of the group designed a section of choreography which led on from the last person’s final position. Gudrun edited the pieces together and created a video. Every person was asked to create two sections and performed them in different spaces either within their homes or outside. We had bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, benches, rivers, gardens, the street, hallways, alleyways, outside stairwells. When I watched this video I had the sensation I often get when watching somebody in my space be fully absorbed in a task that they don’t notice their surroundings. I enjoyed seeing people show what they think dance is, what their style of expression is, what their movement is like and it felt contained and almost honoured in this format. By showing things as a film, especially things which are purposefully messy, or unfinished, or not ‘polished’, it enhances the feeling of playfulness or vulnerability in the performance. People are living a lot more in the private sphere at the moment so I felt that this video was reflecting that and also reflecting the spirit of improvisation that takes over when everyone has to change their lifestyle suddenly without much warning. Overall, it was an enjoyable session and next week we are going to reflect on the last 4 weeks of participation on Zoom.