On Saturday I went for an audition for The Body by choreographer, Joe Moran. The Body, a sound and performance installation that draws upon the work of writer Paul Auster, will be performed in the Nottingham Gallery in November. ‘Amidst ten chairs and in counterpoint to a spoken word sound score, nine performers listen, sit and stand in forming and reforming configurations.’
I’m certain it’s more compelling to watch than it sounds.
I’ve never seen Joe’s choreography, but I like what I’ve read about him. Here he is talking about a recent production, and like many dancers/movers, unable really to articulate what he means. Dance, after all, is another language and the meaning is always lost in translation.
'His work has gained recognition for its intelligence, complexity and disregard for convention. He creates bold, physical and distinctive new works for theatres, galleries and public spaces.’
Arriving with dripping umbrellas, we were welcomed by Heather Forknell of Dance4, and led up flights of stairs to a long narrow studio, with a door that opened to a fire escape and views high over Nottingham.
There were fifteen of us, ranging from late teens to mid-fifties. Whilst we waited for Joe to arrive, we lay on the floor, rolling around, stretching, warming up, hugging the radiator, and chatting – and I was back in that familiar world I miss so much, where the common language is movement, and the connections with complete strangers are made so much more easily than through words. The atmosphere was friendly, curious, open, with nothing of the paranoia and insecurity I remember from auditions in the past.
Joe arrived, and taught an improvisation class. His manner was quiet, unassuming, and generous, and his class was a delight. We moved every part of the body, slowly, with control, swiftly, on the floor, and running and jumping. Above all, we listened, through the muscles, through the skin – the kind of listening I’ve only ever experience through dance. Afterwards, for the rest of the day, I felt renewed, more alive than I have for a long time, despite the fact I exercise every day. To work with other people makes the difference.
Early this week I heard that I’ve been accepted to take part in the group of nine dancers. I’m delighted, and look forward to working with Joe and the group very much.
Tricia Durdey dances, writes, and teaches Pilates.