Archives for the month of: July, 2012

My left elbow in Barbara’s palm, her leg in my right hand, we crash to the floor. Uninjured, we (fortunately) haven’t taken any of the others down with us. It’s a tricky manoeuvre: you offer your partner a hand, s/he places it on her/his (new pronouns please!) body somewhere, apply or withdraw pressure, they offer their hand etc etc. It’s fun, a bit like Twister, and there’s this interesting moment where you don’t know where your hand is going to end up. Or where you are (going to end up, that is).

Three choreographers, one after another, are here in the Methodist chapel hall (sprung floor!) to work us through improvisatory routines. Each has an hour, separated only by a water break, and admittedly, lunch in the nearby café. Rachel had us lying down, feeling and visualising the shapes we made with our bodies’ contact points on the floor; Laila had us working through the hand-place-pressure sequences, and stringing several together (before crashing to the floor, preferably); Toni made us give each other ‘screen-tests’: directing the auditionee/victim to act out a role. This is all so exhilarating, using your body, improvising with it, inhibitions falling away (as does your resistance to the dreamy gurgling music) and awareness becoming sharper.

The Company finally gets to rehearse our dance piece in the venue where we’re to perform it: the Foyer Bar area of the Dome complex. It’s (of course) smaller than all the spaces we’ve rehearsed in, and (of course) it’s got a rather hard Regency/Art Deco pillar in the middle of it. Which we have to avoid. And somehow we do, winding into an ever-tighter spiral around it like a totem pole, before breaking out and into the final image. Finally, we know what it feels like. We run through it several times. The piece, not the pillar.

(Three Score Dance Company performs the new contemporary dance piece, Twice Upon A Time, choreographed by Bettina Strickler, on Sunday 15 July, Brighton Dome Foyer Bar, 5pm)

A lowering sky and squalls of rain. ‘Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into…’ is the received wisdom of the band. Canning Town, London, E16. This is a bit of a wasteland, metaphorically and actually. Canning Town is where the Royal London Docks used to be, and is in the five percent of most deprived areas in the UK. This space is a temporary one before developers move in in five years’ time. And the Canning Town Caravanserai project aims to bring local people into it, to build a local economy: selling their products and sharing ideas from pop-up kiosks. The principle is based on the Caravanserais which lined the Silk Road from Asia to the West, offering rest, food, water, trade and entertainment. Ska Toons is the entertainment.

Silvertown Way is a wide new  road, overlooked by the elevated new station, the new cable-car line crossing the Thames, big old pylons, and the afore-mentioned dark clouds. We’re to provide the music  for the mostly young designers, makers and entrepreneurs gathered to pitch their ideas to the Dragons (as in Dragons’ Den) and win rent-free kiosks. There’s a trade school under a plastic awning, mostly protecting them from the rain. The band is to perform in three kiosks: keyboards in the left plywood box, drums bass and guitar in the middle box, horns in the right box. We have to crane round the partitions to count off a song, and we’re fairly together. Musically, anyway. And we play well, despite our boxed-in-ness. Perhaps we should always be boxed…

People wander in through the oriental-style cut-out gates, attracted by the sound. They don’t come in too far though: perhaps they think it’s not meant for them, though it is. Davey, in West Ham football shirt and Special Brew can, sits by the entrance, nodding, and eventually dancing, and calling out for a Prince Buster song. As he loads his car, Martin is harangued by a local racist, complaining how the area has changed – “it used to be just us” (meaning white people), and leaves with the rallying cry – “Up the National Trust!” (sic).

(He meant National Front, a defunct English fascist organisation. The National Trust owns and manages historic British houses, gardens, coastlines, and is a thoroughly GOOD THING.)