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Inside the Platform Young Company: Looking for a show…

9 Nov 2019

Platform Young Company are a group of committed performers aged 16 - 25 years led by Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir and Eoin McKenzie. The group meet weekly and are currently creating and developing material for their new show. Workshops are assisted by Isabel Dickens and here, she provides an account of the creative process…


Looking for a show! The core elements so far: time/history, copying, 60bpm music & metronome, neutral or ‘pedestrian’ posture, walking and counting and dancing/creating choreographed pathways across the stage. Eoin brought some of his loves such as LCD Soundsystem, spacious movements and ecstatic open-ended movement exercises into the room.

DANCING

We began looking for different qualities of movement such as ‘walking, shaking, flailing, erupting’ to the song ‘How do you sleep’ by LCD Soundsystem. Then trying ‘reaching, running & inhaling’. There was a moment where everyone was running in a circle with people moving in the middle and then getting bumped out. There was running, jumping, arms up, arms low, turning, dancing in general.

Some people were self-conscious, some were moving freely. High point for me was images of Lucy stamping and of Eoin running around the circle like a whippet.


BUMPING

The next section was stricter; small groups were moving in a choreographed way on a grid and when collisions occurred, performers had to lean into it and make sure it happened. This led to a lot of laughter with people bumping/not bumping each other. With whimsical music the result was Laurel and Hardy-esque with a crowd of straight-faced individuals dragging each other along by the shoulder and then reverting to their prescribed pattern of movement. This is continuous motif in work at Platform, how do we create a rigid structure and find a way of destroying it and re-establishing it? However, this attempt had a slapstick quality that made it feel light-hearted and safe.


DECONSTRUCTING

Thirdly we worked on a ‘vignette’ using a section of text from the Woody Allan film Annie Hall. Two people were asked to read it, to then repeat what they could remember without a script as people joined them, impersonating their speech but without words, providing a dance description of the sound, providing a verbal description of the dance and finally dancing the description of the dance without watching the dance. Each line of the script gained a chain of feedback, interpretation and translation which became caustic and extended.


CLUBBING

Finally, we returned to a clubbing motif used before. Members enter the stage one at a time and strike a pose as someone at a party or a club with a ‘PARTY!’ facial expression. The track Ochen by Shadowax was playing. They strike a pose and then ‘click’ smile. Once everyone is ‘on’ they begin dropping their smile and reverting to smiling continuously, they gently bounce from the knees together until melting into a clump on the floor but still smiling/not smiling… It didn’t quite work so it was merged with the BUMPING exercise from earlier. The group performed the BUMPING exercise movements at the same as maintaining their clubbing faces and postures. The result was a giggly conclusion to the afternoon.

As we checked out, people felt energised and said the session felt funny and free - flowing as well as very physical. We chatted about the future of Platform. We are creating a short sharing at Platform on December 7th and continuing in the new year with the hopes of making a full-length show for next summer.

High points: sweaty dancing / strong humour

Low points: sore cheeks

Performance
Artists at work
Platform Young Company

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