Very excited that we will be taking Frida to the Southbank on 7th September as part of this year’s Unlimited Festival. We’ll be doing 2 shows with the audience on stage with us. Come and join the party!!
We will be performing 2 shows a day of Falling in love with Frida at Dancebase from 12-17th August 2014.
I’m diligently reminding myself text, sending videos to the dancers for refreshing their memories, updating websites, preparing marketing materials and printing company t-shirts – all very exciting!! I can’t wait to get my teeth into a longer run to see how the piece grows and develops. There are only 120 seats for the whole run so get your tickets sorted!!
The company came to sunny Bournemouth to be part of the Integrated Dance Summit, organised by South West Dance, held at The Pavilion. This was the opportunity for us to present the piece in front of 60 promoters, any or all of whom have the potential to programme the work at the venues and/or in their festivals. It’s a long time since I’ve been this nervous but the piece feels the strongest it has ever been so I just need to trust that and breathe. We do two shows here and Frida goes down a storm!! Phew – relieved is a major understatement!
We went to visit the gallery space that Falling in love with Frida is going to premiere in at Lakeside in Nottingham. I entered the space with my supportive production team, Emma Jones and Amy Steadman. I must say I was quite daunted to start with – a long, stark white space with skylights and quite low ceilings. And then then the questions started about the chairs. What sort of chairs did I want the audience to sit on? I had no idea!! And to be quite frank chairs were the last thing I was thinking about. What are we going to do with this! As we sat in the space, and whilst I had a little freak out, Emma began dream up amazing possibilities for the space. Her wise advice was to embrace what the space had to offer us rather than resisting it and that’s exactly what we all did. After getting the floor down, our set in and Emma’s mood lighting installed the place really felt like ours – it was gorgeous!! Perfect for a premiere and for the production shots and filming that took place. Thanks for your vision EJ – you have the patience of a saint!
Making or choreographing a piece is one thing but choreographing a piece that you’re also in is a whole other thing!! Luckily I have brilliant people in my life like the very talented Joan Clevillé who has an incredible choreographic eye and an ability to ‘handle with care’ other’s work in order to enhance it rather than change which it is a true skill.
Joan spent 3 day in the Dance4 studio with us polishing, questioning, clarifying and refining the piece from the outside. I outlined the areas that I felt needed particular attention so we started there before working our way through the whole show.
The piece now feels in the place that I have been hoping for and it’s now definitely ready for an audience. Bring on Bournemouth!
I was joined in the studio by Jemima Levick who I invited in to be an ‘outside eye’ and give me some feedback on the direction of the piece. We did a run of the piece in it’s current state. Jemima said it was lovely but thought there were things missing from the piece – crucially me. We then went on to discuss what might be needed. I began to pull out and read bits of text that I had written when I’d been first dreaming about the piece back in November 2012 – they seemed to be just what was needed. Over the next few days the piece really started to take shape and become something that felt much more robust and solid and, thankfully, less episodic.
This morning I broke my finger trying staple together contracts for the team. Usually this would be painful and annoying no big thing really but this morning it seemed to push me over the edge.
I’m feeling the pressure of expectation that has been placed on this piece, by myself and others, to deliver something that’s going to be amazing. My self doubt is at an all time high which I know isn’t unusual for artists generally but it’s quite unusual for me.
Luckily for me I was in the studio with my Producer, Becky Bailey and amazing dance artist Welly O’Brien who allowed me to recognise I was trying to do a lot and set about eliminating unnecessary things I’d planned for that week.
The tears flowed freely for most of the day but after a trip to Neal’s Yard several doses of Rescue Remedy, applications of Anica ointment and some light strapping on my fingers, the world started to look much brighter.
On reflection, I figure it’s better to meltdown on Day 3 of a making process than Day 23 or 33.
We bought Frida to Sweden, thanks to Skånes Dansteater, and finally got do perform it as a dinner party. The audience was seated at tables arranged at the edge of the performance space and they had been lavishly dressed with crushed velvet table clothes, candles and coffee pots. Due to the licensing laws in Sweden we were unable to offer the audience tequila so everyone had lime cordial. Swedish audiences are very polite and remained fairly quiet throughout the show but many assured me later that they had enjoyed it very much. As performers, due to the audiences lack of interaction and having time in the studio the day before, we found new things in and between each other which gave the piece a new depth that we hadn’t found before.
After, what feels like years of waiting, thinking, dreaming, talking and application writing it’s the first day in the studio making Falling in love with Frida.
I have gathered an incredibly supportive team, will be working at The Arches and CCA, both new working spaces to me, have a brain flooded with ideas and now just need to begin, but where do I start?
I have a plan and many lists! Lists of things I want to try out, set elements to explore, songs to sing and various bits of text attempting to share some little known facts about Frida.
Deep breath in and here we go…..let’s get making!