In Conversation with Directors of Sadler’s Wells’ Family Weekend’s ‘Underwater’ Xenia Aidonopoulou and Georgia Tegou

Underwater is part of Family Weekend 2022 (15-16 April) at Sadlers Wells in Angel and is suitable for babies and toddlers aged 0-24 months and their grown-ups. We caught up with Directors Xenia Aidonopoulou and Georgia Tegou about their multi-sensory show and dance theatre piece ‘Underwater’.

We loved watching the trailer of ‘Underwater’. What stimulated your imaginations to create this beautiful dance theatre piece?

XA: Since I first attended -as a young mother back in Athens, performances for babies and their families, I knew, one day I was going to create a show for this specific audience. When I moved with my family to the UK, four years ago, this idea started to take shape in my head and the right moment had come for me to put my thoughts into words and create the script for Underwater. By that time, I had a career break and the opportunity to spend more time with my baby daughter and focus on exploring her world.

Underwater was conceived as an attempt to visualise our relationship to water, which is our first environment while living in our mother’s womb, a common experience that connects us all. I was lucky enough to meet Creative Producer Lia Prentaki who specialises in dance for family audiences. Lia introduced me to director/choreographer Georgia Tegou and that’s how the journey began.

What thoughts and ideas went into choosing the soundtrack and how important was it to use some familiar melodies?

XA: Sound played a central role in creating the right atmosphere for Underwater. From the beginning we have discussed with Jeph Vanger, our composer, the idea of using ambient and womb sounds in combination with remixed versions of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ to form the soundscape for Underwater. ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ was chosen as a point of reference because it is a global lullaby, with different verses from countries all over the world. Therefore, it is a tune connected to many people’s babyhoods even if they were born miles apart.

Tell us about any similar projects you’ve worked on in the past?

XA: This is the first time I created something for babies though I have worked as an associate director on productions for CYP Audiences in Greece.

GT: This is the first time I have worked on a project for early years audiences after an invitation by Xenia. My other choreographic work follows a similar aesthetic of embodied visuality, driven by my practice of dance-as-design. It is an expanded approach to choreography which blurs the boundaries of dance and movement with other visual and spatial arts more readily associated with design, highlighting their interdependent relationship. Dance-as-design uses volume, movement, embodied rhythm, textures, the connection to the space, sculptural and architectural mediums to reveal and portray aspects of the human condition, an approach that has also been incorporated into Underwater.

Is this the first time you have worked with Sadler’s Wells and Family Weekend?

XA: Yes, it is the first time and we are very excited about it. Sadler’s Wells is one of the world’s leading dance organisations and we feel honored and privileged to be offered this opportunity to participate in Family Weekend with Underwater.

Congratulations on selling out at your premiere at Watford Palace Theatre in February. What’s the secret to your popularity and your success on stage?

GT: One of the facts that inspired us to make this project is that as parents ourselves we were also seeking out this type of experience. After two years of staying at home, families with babies are welcoming the opportunity to experience something creative together. Underwater is a dance theatre piece that takes our audience through a mesmerising story, with a beginning, middle and end, while layering a variety of sources for sensory stimulation for babies and their grown-ups.

How would you suggest children to get involved in Underwater ideally? How can they get the most out of it? Would this kind of dance theatre appeal to children with special needs?

XA: The piece is made to be viewed from close proximity, we invite the audience to sit close to the action so that the sounds surround them. Each family has different ways of introducing their babies to theatre however, the auditorium is a difficult barrier. Therefore, we invite the whole audience onto the floor on special sensory islands we have created for the show. The gentle multisensory approach makes the work accessible.

What is it about lights, bubbles and sound that engage babies and children do you think?

GT: I think they engage babies, children and adults alike. For me these are elements that take you closer to that little bit of magic, a bit of fairy dust around the space by creating illusions, engaging the senses in a calming way and triggering the imagination. During creation, our research was supported by a baby focus group who took part in a series of sessions and offered feedback on their baby’s experience with ideas and tasks we were trying in rehearsals. This dialogue helped us to develop ideas and sound frequencies that are highly engaging for our baby audience.

Can you tell us about your online workshops for babies and grown-ups that accompany your performance?

XA: This is an idea by Creative Producer, Lia who has over the years delivered many parent and baby activities. The workshops aim to offer the chance to revisit the world of Underwater from the comfort of the home and to explore creative play using the soundtrack and some of the creative devices of the show.

When did you start working as artists? Has being a mother inspired your artistic creations?

XA: I started my career twenty years ago. I have worked extensively in dance, including large-scale projects for the National Theatre of Greece, Athens & Epidaurus Festival & other institutions, mostly for adult audiences. I believe all our lived experiences define us and affect the way we create but mostly in a subconscious way. I guess being a mother has affected me but I am not a different person or a different artist. For me, art is a way to communicate thoughts, ideas, and emotions, and my objective is to do it in the most imaginative, inclusive and powerful way.

GT: I started directing my own choreographic work in 2011, having worked as a dancer before. When we started making Underwater I was a new mother experiencing the incredible moments of the first months of my daughter’s life that strongly informed the work. In many instances, I felt I was making work for her and her friends to enjoy.

Are you working on any other exciting artistic projects at the moment?

XA: Actually, Underwater is the first part of a trilogy for early years and now I am working on developing the script for the second part, Skydiver, again a multisensory experience during which we will be transported up to a fluffy sky. I am also involved as a Dance Dramaturg in REVERIE, an amazing work by Georgia and Michalis Theophanous.

GT: I am restaging REVERIE, a multidisciplinary dance-led work with some exciting collaborations. The piece was previewed in 2020 just before the pandemic started and it is now coming back to life to premiere at Dance Umbrella International Festival and The Lowry in Autumn 2022. I’m also developing a new dance theatre work that uses VR technology and movement aiming to premiere in 2023.

Underwater image by Nikolas Louka.

Books tickets and watch the trailer of Underwater here: www.sadlerswells.com

For more information about Sadler’s Wells Family Weekend (15-16 April) click here: www.sadlerswells.com

By Julia Nelson who does operations and marketing for Abundant Art.

 

 

 

Interview with Chronic Youth Film Festival’s Young Barbican Programmer Abiba Coulibaly

Chronic Youth Film Festival 2022, a festival programmed by young people (16-24) is taking place at the Barbican 12-13 March. This year the films look at the theme of ‘Home’ – and what that means to those facing adversity around the world and here in the UK.

Highlights include the San Dominican drama Bantu Mama, in which a young woman is on the run from a drug deal gone wrong; Mother, a Brazilian documentary celebrating the queer community there; and Crossroads, the teenage cult classic (starring Britney Spears) about three friends on a cross country road trip.

We talk to 24-year-old young programmer Abiba Coulibaly about her experience programming for the Barbican.

Tell us about Chronic Youth Film Festival 2022

Chronic Youth is the 7th edition of the Barbican’s annual film festival curated by its Young Film Programmers, but this one is particularly special as it marks the festival’s return to the physical cinema space, since the two previous editions were online owing to the pandemic. This year our theme is ‘Home, Hope, and Hostile Environments’ as we found ourselves gravitating towards films that evoked the ideas of home and belonging, but in ways that were often complex and ambivalent, and not necessarily fixed, literal, or welcoming. We felt this resonated both locally with the UK‘s socio-political landscape, but also globally allowing us to showcase some really exciting films from across the world.

How did you become part of this festival as a young film programmer?

I responded to the open call for applications in 2020 and after getting through to the interview stage wasn’t successful. For this year’s edition there was no public advertisement as it was meant for the two previous cohorts who had missed out on the physical event, but I got in contact with the programme coordinators and was able to join the alumni.

When did your love of film start and how has it evolved over time?

I’d pinpoint it to the first time I went to Film Africa in 2012 and saw L’Afrance by Alain Gomis which dealt with the psychological aspects of irregular migration status, and postcolonial migration patterns in France, two issues which are deeply personal to me, but which I never really saw fleshed out in cultural depictions. Film Africa were screening a lot of films at the Ritzy in Brixton, at the end of my road, which made it really accessible. Then when I started going to university (SOAS) I was within walking distance of the ICA and Bertha Dochouse where screenings were incredibly cheap for students and I could try out all sorts of genres and retrospectives and strands at a really accessible price. I was studying Geography and took one module called Hollywood and the Post-Industrial City which explored how the industry of Hollowood intersected with the urban processes around housing, gentrification and civil unrest that were taking place simultaneously in the wider Los Angeles area, and I think this method viewing film as part of inherently political processes situated in the real world, rather than a vehicle for fantasy or evasion, continues to inform my approach to and taste in films today.

How did you acquire programming skills and how did you move on to programme, market and deliver Chronic Youth film events?

I think for me a lot of it has been osmosis through attending so many different film events over the years, I never did any formal training prior to Young Film Programmers, in fact, it’s really, really hard to come by any training programmes for this field, let alone free ones. I also think the fact that we’re a group of 12 has meant you really have to discuss and justify your film choices, and often need to convince the others, which is completely different from choosing films one likes individually, and that has definitely strengthened my programming ability.

What is it you love about film and the cinema?

My favourite aspect is the immersive experience of being in the cinema. In the 21st century, there is no other activity where we sit and concentrate, fully absorbed by something without other distractions for 2 or so hours, which makes cinema for me a kind of meditative experience that other creative mediums can’t really rival.

What do you think makes the best cinema event?

I’m a big believer in cultural democracy and accessibility, so my primary response would be an event that is affordable and understands the needs and context of the community in which it’s being screened. Cinema shouldn’t be elitist or inaccessible, so I think this should always be kept in mind when organising related events.

What are your top favourite 5 films?

Sorry, I can’t choose 5! The Last Black Man in San Francisco by Joe Talbot, Mediterranea by Jonas Carpignano, Beau Travail by Claire Denis, Omar by Hany Abu-Assad, Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako, Shakedown by Leila Weinraub, Four Lions by Chris Morris, Les Sauteurs by Abou Bakar Sidibe, 120 BPM by Robin Campillo

Do you see yourself curating your own film events in the future? What according to you would be the fun element of the experience?

In an ideal world, 100% – it’s not just a hobby it’s my dream career path. That being said it really isn’t easy to get regular and/or paid work in, so I don’t see a future in film programming as being guaranteed. For me, the most fun part comes once the screening is over and you get to discuss it and hear all the different reactions and interpretations that might contradict or add to your own understanding of what’s just been viewed.

What have you gained from being a young programmer?

I’ve gained really valuable experience in every aspect necessary to run a film event, which was particularly meaningful because it was with an institution that I’ve admired and attended for a really long time, so it was great to switch from audience member to someone behind the scenes. 12 months ago I would’ve had 0 clue, capacity, or contacts for things related to film rights and marketing for example, but now I feel really equipped. I’ve been able to watch all sorts of films I would never have come across as well as develop more of an appreciation for short films which I was previously reticent about. I’ve also been able to discuss at length the programming and film festival industry with people who are as invested as I am, which was also a first.

What can we expect at the festival and what made you choose the line-up?

Variety – while staying under one theme we’ve taken it in all possible directions meaning there’s really fun, lighthearted, and celebratory viewing as well as more sobering, or contemplative moments. You can also expect our zine, which includes short written and visual responses to our programme, and look out for the Young Barbican Late that we’ll be curating in a few weeks’ time which will allow for more active participation from attendees.

Photo credit info: Mother
UK/Brazil 2020, Dir. Jas Pitt & Kate Stonehill

For more information about the Chronic Youth Film Festival 2022 visit www.barbican.org.uk

Interview by Julia Nelson who does marketing and operations for Abundant Art. Thanks to the Communications team at Cinema Barbican. 

Karen Gibson MBE, The Kingdom Choir: In The Round Festival – In Conversation

The Kingdom Choir performs on the sixth night of In The Round at the iconic Roundhouse tomorrow night. We caught up with Karen Gibson MBE  before they perform tomorrow night.

If you’re able to pick one, what would you say has been the biggest highlight of your career to date?

I think that the obvious answer would be the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Certainly in terms of profile and sheer numbers as well as the life-changing events that followed. After that day, things were never the same. It has been an incredible journey.

I think I would also have to mention our tour in the US. It was a wonderful opportunity to take gospel music to the land where gospel was born.

What was it like performing at the royal wedding in 2018?

It was magical performing at the royal wedding in 2018. It was almost surreal, in fact. I found myself mentally pinching myself throughout the day because I wanted to make sure I was really there and also because I didn’t want to forget the incredible experience – the atmosphere, the feeling, and every tiny happening.

How are you planning on celebrating your 25th year?

There were some amazing things that we had in the pipeline,  but we have had to put those things on hold for obvious reasons. I can’t say what they were but hopefully, we will be able to resume plans when we are in the clear, and things can move forward as they were before.

What can people look forward to from your performance at the In the Round festival?

We are very excited to be performing at one of the nation’s most iconic venues. We will be bringing a mix of some of our old favourites as well as some new music.

We are also very happy to be hosting the amazing Bianca-Rose as our support artist.

What does it feel like performing live again?

It is an absolute privilege to be able to do what we do in such a time as this. It’s fair to say that we have been chomping at the bit to get back to live performance! There is nothing like standing before people who have come especially to hear you sing. It is an honour and a joy. We absolutely love the connection of live music!

-END-

kingdomchoir.com

The Kingdom Choir headline In the Round festival at the Roundhouse Saturday 22nd Jan, last tickets are available here: https://www.roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/2022/in-the-round-festival-2022/kingdom-choir/

Their new single ‘Together Again’ is out now.

 

Art Value’s ‘numbers as art’ NFT auction – Project lead & Artist, Das Vegas In Conversation

The Art Value initiative, a perennial art project, exploring the concept of ‘numbers as art’, has started selling NFTs (non-fungible tokens) via a unique-concept auction, where the highest bid becomes the content of the token. The artwork’s price becomes the subject matter of the piece, making each work one of a kind.

During a typical NFT auction, once the reserved price for a piece is reached, the auction continues until the highest bidder acquires the asset. However, the artists behind the Art Value project have coined up a slightly different approach; before the auction occurs, technically, there is no artwork to bid on, as it is created after the event itself.

Each unique auction begins with empty Art Value tokens—depicting a question mark (“?”)—being offered for sale. As the proposed auction bids change, with each offer outbidding the previous price, so does the content of the artwork. The auction is won by the highest bidder, whose proposed price gets tokenized, meaning, the exact price of the winning bid will be inscribed in the token.

For instance, if the bidder has won the auction with a 1000 euro bid, s/he will acquire the number 1000 depicting NFT token. Each NFT piece can later be modified in a specifically designed virtual reality platform.

We spoke to Das Vegas, the artist leading the initiative.

Tell us about Art Value. How has it evolved and what has been your role in it.

The project started from holding live auctions in art galleries and art fairs, selling numbers as art. Now it has evolved into a uniquely-engineered auction, where the numbers represent the value of a bid and the final artwork was created only post-event. The price of the final bid, the winning bid, is depicted in physical artwork. So the biggest change, I’d say, is that now auction participants are immersed in the creation of artwork through the process of bidding, co-creating the NFT pieces.

I have been leading the project from the beginning, along with like-minded artists, seeking to introduce the concept “numbers as art” to fellow art enthusiasts.

Through this new project of Art Value, NFT auction launch, how do you see this disrupting the production and consumption value chain of the art world and creating a new model?

The main element in the project is the artwork’s own price. All the artistic and economic principles are determined only by the price. Price, in this case, becomes a crucial factor—like data in interactive arts—for creating something else out of it. Here the price, the major and middle point of the project, shapes the performance as well as the result. We believe that the numbers in Art Value project give meaning to our users and that afterward, they will continue to create more significant works from their number-depicting pieces, thus blurring the lines of the works’ true value and partially becoming creators themselves.

For the benefit of our readers could you please walk us through the steps of the NFT auction to acquiring the final product?

Art Value has pioneered a unique type of auction where generative tokens are created through the auction process.

Each unique auction begins with empty Art Value tokens being offered for sale. During the auction, the proposed bids change the content of the art. The auction is won by the highest bidder; after the auction is finished, the exact price of the winning bid will be depicted in the token. Also, the mechanics of the auction are very important to generating the art piece.

To sum up, if a user wins the auction with a 100-dollar bid, s/he receives the 100 NFT token.

What inspired the team to conceptualize numbers as art?

It started with my conceptual work on numbers and prices as art. This art practice now gets digitized and leverages digitalization, monetization, and the newest technologies. We believe that numbers are very important to our contemporary lives, for instance, various anniversaries, and their significance only continues to grow throughout our lives. We believe in the power of numbers and aim to emphasize their importance through art.

If I could invest a million in art, I would rather acquire an original masterpiece rather than owning a digital number-what is the value proposition of this project to attract both new and established art collectors and artists

The technology NFT’s are based on is the future. There will always be collectors, investors that appreciate traditional art, however, I think the potential NFTs bear is immense, and the current momentum we’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.

What is unique regarding our work, is that having acquired our digital NFT numbers, users will be able to redesign that simple number with our digital tools (our virtual reality space, the “Art Value Experience”) to create a 3D object; later it can be printed with a 3D printer, so the piece becomes tangible as well. This brings numerical abstraction to the metaverse. We bring new physical experiences from both the abstract and virtual space to the real world.

Some critiques have cautioned that the digital arts NFT market could lead us into a potential bubble. How would you respond to that?

Some NFT projects have no value and they will never have, but some will stay forever. It is the same in the tangible art world, some art gets the recognition it deserves, some, unfortunately, remain on the sidelines.

The Art Value is a crypto art—or metaverse—project rather than only NFT. It examines fundamental issues of cryptography, distributed networks, functions of blockchain technology, digital art, provenance, certification. It is not only an image in NFT format to be sold for collecting or investing purposes only; it raises questions about what is digital art in general, how technology could support artistic expressions, and, eventually, how to disrupt or even hack the established power systems.

What could make this idea gain wider popularity?

Now we are actively working on developing new tools for the Art Value project, which will help our users to engage in creative processes in relation to numbers and NFTs. However, we need to build a strong network of professional artists and start working with them from the curatorial perspective as well as invite them to create artworks through art commissioning. Last but not least, we started building our community of artists and collectors – this may substantially increase the reach and support our idea’s development.

Tell us about your work outside this project and related to this project.

In parallel to developing the Art Value platform, I work with several other art projects. Some of them are more in the field of traditional media, some are digital and interactive; but most of them are grounded in the field of arts and technology.

I show my works in exhibitions, but also participate in academic endeavors like conferences where I present both my art practice and research. In the last solo exhibition “Digit”, I exhibited my 3 latest projects, which were of complex and interdisciplinary nature. During this exhibition, I also showcased Art Value works utilizing many different painting techniques; prices of those artworks were explicitly exposed in the paintings themselves.

Another project of mine is, for example, Metaphone – an interactive art machine producing paintings from participant’s biodata. It is based on advanced technologies, but the results are aquarelle paintings.

Innovation and technology are part of my artistic process, in the Delete by Haiku, an artistic mobile application whereby deleting old SMS text messages the user creates haiku poetry, the digital upcycling happens in the hands of a user.

Would acquiring or creating art in this new format appeal to buyers and artists emotionally and lead to a satisfying experience? What are your thoughts?

I think that working with such innovative principles of creativity, everyone should be excited to witness the novel use of old and new techniques. In the Art Value case, the buyers and artists become an inseparable part of the process, actively participating to create and, hopefully, achieve creative fulfillment. Numbers have strong emotional connections and significance to people, therefore, meanings in numbers are very important in this project, too.

-End-

About Art Value project:

Launched in 2009, Art Value is an enduring art project consisting of performances, exhibitions, installations, interventions, artwork production, critical designs, evocative experiences, network building, and interactions. Its latest initiative focuses on selling NFT art via a blockchain-based online marketplace. Led by the artist Das Vegas, Art Value is one of the first crypto art projects in the world, seeking to set new standards regarding art creation and production.

Learn more: https://artvalue.org

Luca Manning supports Richard Dawson TONIGHT at the Roundhouse – In Conversation

The Roundhouse resident artist Luca Manning supports Richard Dawson tonight at In the Round festival. The Roundhouse, are committed to developing young and emerging talent- resident artists will be given a platform to showcase their talents in the intimate main setting at ‘In the Round Festival’. We caught up with Luca Manning before he performs tonight.

How did you become a resident artist at London’s iconic Roundhouse and how has this helped your music career?

I applied on a whim after seeing something online just as I was graduating from college back in the Summer and was invited to audition. I’m thrilled to be a part of the 21/22 resident artists family! I’d heard great things about the programme from other creatives and was looking for new adventures. Since moving to London, my main musical endeavours had been within the amazing jazz scene here. However, jazz was not my first ; nor is it my last love – my love for art refuses to be monogamous. I wanted to be a part of something where I could explore a range of art forms & embrace new sound worlds – as well as learn and collaborate from other artists. Thankfully, the Roundhouse were on board and have been super supportive in all my weird and wonderful plans! Being a part of the Roundhouse Resident Artists programme has not only given me a physical space to explore new ideas within my work but has also given me mentorship and a new family of amazing artists to share ideas and collaborate with. For example, I’m so excited for fellow resident artist Keziah Hodgson to perform an opening spoken word set at my EP launch later this month!

We’ve read that you are an artist that questions rigidity. Can you elaborate?

My narrative is not relative, for I am expansive. I seek to go beyond the mundane. Perhaps this feels natural to me as I’m coming from the queerer side of life but when I think about artists I love – from David Bowie to Leigh Bowery, their work has continually evolved and defied fixed definition.
I am inspired by artists like Moses Sumney and Bjork who harness whole creative worlds that we can immerse ourselves in. Artists like Kae Tempest and ALOK who remind me that there is so much more both out there and within us than the dreary, stagnant everyday. I want to feel alive. By questioning rigidity in my art, I feel alive, I feel true.

What was it like living and working in Glasgow’s music and arts scene and how’s it different from living in East London?

Ah Glasgow, she’s a beauty. I loved growing up in Glasgow. I started off playing in a fun lil pop rock band, we were called Violet Drive (lol). My songs were hilariously self-indulgent but I was in my early teens managing to play over 18 venues and drink all the band rider so I thought we were pretty iconic at the time. When I first discovered jazz, the jazz scene in Glasgow was (and still is) really buzzing. There used to be this jam night at Dukes Bar on a Thursday run by Cheryl Chadha that was always packed with young folk.. we hadn’t had anything like it before, it captured such a unique energy of the time and that’s where I started out. I was still in school at the time but getting to come up alongside incredible artists like Fergus McCreadie, Noushy, Matt Carmichael and witness the beginnings of bands like corto.alto and Graham Costello’s STRATA was really exciting. The obvious difference in moving to London is that the world is suddenly a lot bigger. Being in East London has allowed me to explore the incredible drag and queer scene here which has definitely become a major influence in what I create. They both have a place in my heart!

Can you tell us about your upcoming EP ‘Noises with Friends’? What was the inspiration for it?

Interestingly, I never intended to release any of these tracks. They are a series of demo tracks that we recorded in Hugo’s [Piper] living room from fun days we spent together making music. Then after sitting and listening back to the recordings we’d made, I decided it would be fun to set them free into the world. I’m a bit fed up if everything is being unattainable, perfect and squeaky clean. I wanted to embrace the messiness in our lives and creative process, so this release sort of honours that thought. The songs/words themselves are all pretty sad, I like to indulge in my melancholy a bit… they explore questions around identity, home, change, figuring your shit out, my recent experiences of sobriety, finding my queerness and feeling stressed living in the rate race of capitalist London. It was so rewarding making this music without any pre-conceived worry as to how it may be received or if it would be commercially ‘successful’. It’s just us three playing some sad songs I’ve written haha.

Have you supported Richard Dawson before and what are you most looking forward to when you perform on the 20th Jan?

I have not! I actually hadn’t come across him until recently but all my hip friends were very impressed that I am getting the chance to support him haha. I’m really excited to hear him play live! I’m also really excited to play some of my wonky music on the iconic roundhouse stage with two of my best pals, what a joy!!

What’s been the highlight/highlights of your music career to date?

I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had in my early career. However, as of late I’ve been working on trying to be present and see each experience in its own unique beauty. So I’m that vain, I hope the best is yet to come !!!

-END-

https://linktr.ee/LucaManning

Luca supports Richard Dawson at In the Round festival Thurs 20th Jan. Last tickets here: https://www.roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/2022/in-the-round-festival-2022/richard-dawson/

About ‘Noises with Friends’:

‘Noises With Friends’ presents a messy, unadulterated world.
An escape from the rigidity present in the everyday… an antithesis to the shitty performative perfection that has us chasing our tails and confusing creation with content…
‘Noises With Friends’ is storytelling through an ethereal art pop adventure.
Featuring : Luca Manning, Christos Stylianides and Hugo Piper.
Birthed in a south London flat, these recordings will transport you to the moment where three friends drank absurd amounts of caffeine, confessed their sins and enjoyed making some noise together… jump in. 

 

Goat Girl headline In the Round Festival TONIGHT at the Roundhouse – In Conversation with the band’s Holly Hole!

Goat Girl headline the second night of In the Round this evening with support from PVA and Flâneuse. We caught up with the band’s Holly Hole before they perform tonight.

How did Goat Girl start out? What inspired the name of your band?

Lottie, Ellie and Naima started making music together as teenagers and Rosy joined when they needed a drummer a few years later. I (Holly) joined in 2018 when Naima left and the rest is history. I believe the name was Naima’s Dad’s suggestion initially, but it’s not hugely significant of anything.

What inspires your music?

Lots of things. Sonically it’s a combination of all our different and shared musical (and even non-musical) preferences. Lyrically it’s often about our personal experiences and trying to make sense of the world.

Tell us about your second album ‘On All Fours’ released last year.

Where to start? The album was written from the ground up in 2019 and was an entirely collaborative process, which saw us experimenting with new sounds and instruments, often switching around to write parts. We recorded it with Dan Carey and Alexis Smith, who helped us fuse together the raw and electronic elements and encouraged us to push the boundaries sonically. It was a hugely challenging and rewarding process and we’re very proud of it.

Previously you have joined with environmental charity Clientearth in creating Playlists For Earth – tell us about it. Any other social themes/issues you would like to address through your music?

We were approached to create a playlist where the song titles created a message about climate change. It seemed like a fun and interesting way to show our support, so we were happy to be involved. We are a relatively active group of leftists so it’s not unusual for social and political issues to make their way into our music. It’s not necessarily a conscious thing, it’s more about how we’re feeling and/or what we’re concerned about at the time of writing.

What will you be performing at the In the Round festival? Are you looking forward to watching PVA and Flaneuse who are supporting?

Mostly songs from On All Fours, with some special surprises thrown in. PVA are always so fun to watch and we’re excited to check out Flâneuse.

-END-

Website: goatgirl.co.uk

Goat Girl headline the second night of In the Round Tuesday 18th Jan, with support from PVA and Flâneuse. Last tickets here: https://www.roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/2022/in-the-round-festival-2022

Second album ‘On All Fours’ is out now on Rough Trade Records.
https://open.spotify.com/album/6DcAHOjKGAzytkGp7DNrbE

In the Round Festival, 15th – 24th January 2022

The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Chalk Farm, London, NW1 8EH More info and tickets from roundhouse.org.uk

15th January 2022 – Hak Baker presents Bricks in the Wall with Connie Constance, Rachel Chinouriri, Bel Cobain and Kai Kwasi

18th January 2022 – Goat Girl, with support from PVA and Flâneuse

19th January 2022 – Emeli Sandé + support

20th January 2022 – Richard Dawson, with support from Luca Manning

22nd January 2022, 6.30pm – ‘The Birth of Punjabi Garage’ screening, plus q&a with Yung Singh

22nd January 2022 – The Kingdom Choir + support

24th January 2022 – Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Ségal, with support from Abel Selaocoe

Akeim Toussaint Buck In Conversation-Radical Visions, Wild Card at Sadler’s Wells, 20th & 21st Jan

Abundant Art is delighted to chat with Akeim Toussaint Buck in the run up to his upcoming show. On Thursday 20 and Friday 21 January, Sadler’s Wells welcomes Akeim Toussaint Buck to the Lilian Baylis Studio to present his Wild Card, Radical Visions with an ensemble of artists. 

 The  curated evening features live music, spoken word, film and powerful performances by artists who work with the themes of social transformation and diasporic identity. It celebrates the resilience and joy of the artists’ communities whilst underlining the oppression and trauma they face. 

Akeim Toussaint Buck’s interview with Abundant Art-

What does dance mean to you?

Dance for me is a means of healing. We heal when we express ourselves and for me dance has been an expressive tool of deep healing and liberation that I don’t even have the words to truly communicate. So, I create, and I teach to hopefully strike others with that message and truth. For me this is what every expressive art form does for us.

Your work covers multiple art forms to tell the story, combining dance, creative writing, film, poetry, beat-box, singing and acting. What inspires you to work on multiple artforms?

Humanity speaks many languages so it’s only right my message is delivered in multiple mediums. Sometimes my work is just dance however the process to create the dance is fed by different mediums. Source material can be poetry and sometimes it’s a film or a specific song or an interview or a situation etc. In the context of a finished product, for me to get my message across one medium just doesn’t cut it. As a creator whose focus is on people and their stories, I feel it necessary to exercise my skills in many ways, telling stories that can open up new perspectives for audiences. This also bridges the gaps between audiences, inviting regular theatre goers, dance enthusiasts, supporters of poetry and live music to be in one space. Or someone who’s simply interested in the subject matter, so they come to witness art like this for the first time and they hopefully become hooked because their appetite is enriched with so many different flavours.

What are the elements that spur you when creating new work?

Ascension, curiosity of clarity, enlightenment, challenging myself and questioning collective accepted norms that we all know deep down should be questioned. I’ll give an example: in ‘Windows of Displacement’ & ‘Displaced’ I was adamant to use my own story as a springboard to look at global situations of injustice related to displacement. I was adamant to show the connections between what has taken place in the past and the current political climate we live in. The purpose becomes the fuel, even when I’m trembling inside questioning my position to tell this story and thinking no one will care. The passion to reveal something in the work keeps me going, digging and breaking my own fears around exercising my right to freedom of speech.

What is the Radical Visions story, how did it come about?

The opportunity to do a Wild Card came about because I asked for it and kept putting myself out there and my willingness to bet on myself and the artists I have programmed. You must back yourself first or else no one else will.

I went to a couple of other artist’s Wild Cards and was inspired by this idea of curating your own night. I took part in Spoken Movement and Keira Martin’s Wild Cards, and both were earth shatteringly brilliant, so I felt excited to express to the programmers that I am interested in hosting my own. They liked my track record and ideas after a chat and then we began to plan.

I thought long and hard since 2019 on what I would bring together. At first it was How we Rise, a nod to the late great Ms Maya Angelou. However, as the pandemic hit and my own confidence in my profession became shaken and the sudden global lens placed on the plight of People of the Global Majority (People of African Descent and Indigenous People), it became apparent that something more heart centred and focussed on us lifting ourselves out of the doom and celebrating our inner power had to be the theme. Radical Visions is born as a response to all things that we find lacking in our society, it’s a soap box for the people our society likes to forget. This Radical Visions is about placing people of the African Diaspora who live in the west at the centre of the lens rather than at the margins. That’s why I’ve programmed artists of that identification and who make work that reflects on that experience.

Does the theme of Radical Visions reflect your own experiences of diasporic identity?

The theme of Radical Visions transforms to reflect my diasporic identity in the form of being the product of a radical imagination and radical environments. Being of the African Diaspora in a predominantly European environment means my experience is unique, this society was not built for me to fit in it fairly. However, I am here and the society, regardless of its foundations, has to treat me with humility and respect as a fellow human being. It sometimes doesn’t, it sometimes does beat me down in numerous ways but still we are here beaming with greatness. This is testimony to the radical persistence of oppressed people. The truth is like a lion’s roar and this roar is saying we are human beings and that we deserve to be treated the same as anyone no matter where we are from or what you may believe about us. I do feel it is sad though that something so natural is now radical, that is a reflection of our times. Love, compassion and empathy are now radical.

Radical Visions also talks about the oppressions and trauma faced by the artists’ community and their resilience. Please elaborate and share your thoughts with us.

The artists in Radical Visions all come from the African Diaspora, this means we are descendants of the enslaved people taken from Africa for the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This act literally funded the world we now live in, and the atrocities enacted to such close relatives are inherited by us. Not just us the descendants of victims but the perpetrators too. This is not just focused on this situation; this is the same for the descendants of survivors and victims of World War One and Two. Scientists have proven that we do inherit the traumas of our ancestors, the experience is in our DNA. Some Artists decide to make work that ushers us into the possibility of healing those parts of ourselves, by giving space to what has not been acknowledged. Our painful pasts become fuel for our creations as we rewrite, re-experience, explore and give new life to it. We transform this pain into something beautiful and transformational for the audience, ourselves and our communities. This is the same for our communities, regardless of the attempts of genocide of traditions and people. Traditions continue to thrive and evolve, we continue to dance, sing, drum, and tell our folklore stories of our magic. As if during slavery the drum was banned but still, we found a way.

Just a side note, I truly believe that the time we live in now is a time where the inheritors of such resilience will become the leaders of tomorrow because now more than ever, we need creativity so we can adapt to this quickly changing world.

Creative expression is a vehicle of healing that everyone can practice to get to know themselves. Our communities did this during pre-colonial times and they still do because of the resilience of the act of creating. Again, this isn’t necessarily isolated to people of recent African decent however, due to the times we live in, we see people of African heritage practicing more dance and song communally because it is and always has been our pass time, before, during and after the slave trade. This is what my entire message is, at the core of all of us we have the same need, the need to express and be heard. This expression transforms depending on who we are, the acceptance of a diverse landscape of expressions is the Radical Vision.

Your presentation at Wild Card on 20th and 21st are packed with powerful work from a team of amazing co-artists exploring topical themes such as race, identity, unity, and power.  What led you to select the team?

I selected the artists for Radical Visions based on the intention I felt from their work and them as people. Both companies aim to shed light on the many dimensions of what it means to live an African diasporic life. This was something crucial for this Radical Visions. I also contemplated whether this opportunity or event makes sense for their career and their projection of themselves. They had to want to do the event of course, this was super important. I am really happy with all involved, everyone connects to the theme and their work will shine and connect with people. FUBUNATION and Alethia Antonia are rewriting and expanding the possibilities of how people receive work, not just because of their identity but because of their ability to be relatable, vulnerable, with flaming hot movement language and potent messages without excluding their audience. This for me is a genius balance in being an artist and I just want to tip my hat to them.

Lastly, the cover poster for Radical Vision with a flaming Akeim Toussaint Buck leaping out of a stained-glass background with flying locks is absolutely striking. It tells the audience what can be expected from your performance. We would love to know about this image and if this is a part of a performance.

Pertaining to the picture. That is the great synchronicity of myself and Ashley Karrell, the photographer. This church is a location in the film ‘Displaced,’ yes, some dancing takes place. You’ll have to catch the film to see exactly how. It is a very beautiful image, full of symbolism and metaphor, it felt perfect to promote Radical Visions. As you may know Christianity was used to mentally indoctrinate many people who were subject to biological and cultural genocides, for example, Africans and Native Americans. To have myself dressed as this mystical African Angel Warrior, leaping out of this stained-glass window, represents breaking the mental chains. Don’t get me wrong, Christianity really and truly started in Africa, don’t believe me, read up on Ethiopian and the Egyptian connections to it.

The hunter not the hunted tells the story so when the European powers at the time were ready to spread their version across the world, the tactics were placed in scripture. So, for me it’s really an image saying we can connect to the god all around us in the traditional way our ancestors used to. And I’m not just talking about African spirituality, I’m talking about the Druids and ancient Celtic and Nordic cultures. It was about the Earth and the Spirit of the Universe as god and that lives in us.

-End-

Radical Visions is Co-Produced by Sadler’s Wells and Akeim Toussaint Buck for Wild Card. Radical Visions is also a part of Sadler’s Wells’ new programme Well Seasoned, Celebrating Black Dance in 2022.

Other artists featuring are London-based dance duo FUBUNATION, Ashley Karrell, Azizi Cole, Otis Jones, Pariss Elecktra, Amy Gadiaga and Muti Musifiri. Akeim Toussaint image by photographer Ashley Karrell.

Tickets:Wild Card: Akeim Toussaint Buck – Radical Visions – Lilian Baylis Studio – Sadler’s Wells (sadlerswells.com)

About Wild Card

Wild Card is the unique initiative providing a glimpse of the rich variety of work that makes up the current dance landscape. Increasingly popular with audiences and artists alike, Wild Card opens the stage to an exciting and adventurous community of dance-makers, giving a broad range of artists the unique opportunity to curate their own evening of dance. These specially curated nights feature exploratory approaches to choreography and combine different mediums, broadening audiences’ perspectives on dance made today.

Wild Card is part of Sadler’s Wells’ talent development programme of support for dance artists, alongside other initiatives including New Wave Associates, Sadler’s Wells Summer University and hosting the National Youth Dance Company.

About Akeim Toussaint Buck

Akeim Toussaint Buck is an interdisciplinary performer and maker, born in Jamaica and raised in England. Akeim’s intention is to create moving, thought provoking, accessible and free-spirited projects. The work challenges, enlightens and entertains in a visceral way, calling on multiple art forms to tell the story. Audiences are invited to not just observe: they are implicit in the experience. His work aims to reflect on reality, looking at ongoing socio-political issues, with a humanitarian intention.

Since graduating from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance with a Bachelor degree in Performing Arts, Akeim has been involved in multiple cross disciplinary programmes with a wide range of artists and communities from around the world. The aesthetic of his work combines: dance, creative writing, film, poetry, beat-box, singing and acting. Fused to tell stories capable of bridging the gaps between a variety of audiences.

Akeim’s movement interest has a myriad of inspirations, from Capoeira, Kick Boxing, Contemporary Dance, Contact Improvisation, Caribbean Dance, Hip Hop, Yoga and Release Technique to name a few. His performance focus expands from the physical to vocal expression. Building on an interest in the voice’s expressive qualities, with current explorations of beat boxing and vocal improvisation.

Recent achievements include becoming Irie Dance Theatre’s, Artist in Residence for 2019-2020, becoming the Artist for Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Yorkshire Dance and Spin Arts’ Catapult 2019. Thanks to Deda Theatre in Derby where Akeim has been recently appointed Associate Artist 2020-2021, gaining more support in his work. Thanks to Geraldine Connor Foundation where Akeim is an Associate Artist. Attaining a Seed Commission for piloting Beatmotion Mass for Leeds Year of Culture 2023.

Akeim’s work has been supported by Yorkshire Dance, Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Inspired, IRIE! Dance Theatre, Spin Arts, Serendipity, NSCD, Sadler’s Wells and Arts Council England. His choreographic work includes: Snakebox’s PLAY, Windows Of Displacement, Reckoning, Sib Y Osis, Beatmotion, Souls & Cells etc. Film work includes Galvanise & Displaced.

Instagram/Twitter/Facebook:
@toussainttomov

www.toussainttomove.com

 

 

 

 

 

Interior Designer Kate Conrad pens a thoughtful reflection on Jane Austen’s work – In Conversation

Kate Conrad, an interior design specialist at Madison and Mayfair, has always found literature a source of inspiration in her work. To celebrate the life of the author, Kate pens a thoughtful reflection on Austen’s work. She tells us how her writings work to make us all better individuals.

1) We hear you have written a thoughtful reflection on Austen’s work. Can you tell us what inspired this and where we can read it? How has this inspired your work?

My design work has always been inspired by literary greats – I’ve been outspoken in the past about the influence of the likes of Wilde and Fitzgerald on my design work. Jane Austen’s representation of Regency-era style is unmatched, and her work has provided great inspiration for a number of my design projects. I wrote the piece around the time of national Jane Austen Day, which was celebrated in December 2021, to share why her writing is still so pertinent today – not just in terms of her influence on my design, but her influence on myself as a person too. The full piece is up on Madison & Mayfair’s website with our other articles if you’d like to read it.

2) As an interior design specialist working in a creative field how important is it for you to find inspiration?

Creative inspiration is absolutely crucial to what I do. For anyone working in a creative field, whether they are an interior designer like me, or a musician, writer or artist, finding inspiration is essential to the craft. Such inspiration can come from anywhere, and you may find yourself inspired by anything – for me, inspiration comes largely in the form of literature.

3) Besides books, what other things motivate your creativity?

Truthfully, a lot of my motivation comes directly from my career path. I began my career as a schoolteacher and later decided to pursue interior design as it was something I felt incredibly passionate about. There’s a Japanese concept called ‘ikigai’ which refers to the balanced fulfillment you find when your talents and passions converge; my vocational switch allowed me to find this balance, and it’s the gratification I get from doing what I love that motivates me.

4) Before Jane Austen were there any other authors or creative personalities you have closely associated your work with?

My design work has been inspired by a host of literary figures. F. Scott Fitzgerald, for example, is practically synonymous with the Art Deco movement and the roaring 20s in America. Art Deco design is always cycling back into style, and it’s a timeless style I love using to embody in my work. Beyond aesthetics, though, Fitzgerald was an author who romanticised the very concept of timelessness, longing for the golden hour of youth to be preserved so it could remedy the symptoms of life’s harsh reality. Fitzgerald lauded Art Deco aesthetic grandeur – not for merely superficial cause, but because it represented a comforting escape from the world outside. Fitzgerald’s philosophy is one I strive to encapsulate in my work.

5) What are you working on at the moment?

We launched a number of soft furnishing items over the Winter, which was a new and exciting exploration for our company. At the moment, though, I’m getting ready to launch a new product range full of products from really varying interests. Of course, I find my primary inspiration in literature, but in these new ranges, I’ve worked with a lot of new décor styles from around the world to expand my creativity. I can’t spill too many details, but I can say that I’m super excited!

6) Why could we all do with a bit more of Austen’s spirit in our lives?

Austen was a revolutionary of her time but managed to hide her assessments of strict Regency morality behind a veil of sarcasm. She drew attention to the confining reality faced by women in her contemporary era to provide a commentary on society’s downfalls. For all her vigorous, moralistic appraisals, though, Austen also offers her readership hope. Her female protagonists embodied hope for the future, where women would have the freedom to be witty and quick, not befitting of the defined mould they were expected to fit. Austen blended the real and the ideal, revealing society’s shortcomings while instilling optimism for women in the future. When you cast your eyes over the global landscape we’re in right now, it’s undeniable that moral assessment is needed, but it is equally true that hope is something we could all use a little more of.

7) Austen’s writing served an important moral purpose in its revelation of the inequalities and injustices of society. Her writing often tried to expose the confining realities of women and their position in society. Do you see any change in women’s position in society in 2022?

The women in Jane Austen’s novels had a lot to contend with when it came to their restricted societal position. In Regency-era Britain, women were not allowed to have independent careers, but were merely to hope for a companionate and a wealthy husband on whom they could rely upon would appear. Though women don’t experience this same type of restriction in 2022, their place in society is not held without struggle. Events of the last year or so have demonstrated the demoralising and deep-rooted prevalence of misogyny in our society. Though I’m sure many may be feeling despondent, we must remember that what is happening is categorically wrong. Stay optimistic and keep breaking glass ceilings – change, though perhaps slow, will be inevitable.

8) Sustainability is currently very topical. What steps is the interior design industry taking to be part of this journey?

Enacting sustainable practices is something every industry must do, and interior design is no different. Companies should be taking the lifecycle of products into account, and refrain from making products that are quickly replaced. Sustainable materials must also be utilised further. To use myself as an example, I’ve worked to embody tireless trends in my products, to ensure they stand the test of time. Moreover, as sustainable practices have grown in prevalence, companies dedicated to enacting them have grown too. At our events, we’ve enlisted the help of Delta Global to ensure our packaging met sustainability standards – outsourcing is a great option when it comes to sustainability measures, and has helped us greatly in the past.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: 

Kate Conrad is the lead interior designer for homeware company Madison & Mayfair. She is an avid reader of literary classics, who combines her love of design with the works of her favourite literary figures, creating unique artistic products. Kate draws on her favourite authors in her design work, combining timeless trends with modern sensibilities. Her free time is spent travelling, absorbing the spirit of design of every place she visits, and she cherishes moments spent with her family and friends.

 

 

Multi award winning choreographer Mark Baldwin OBE speaks about his journey with ‘Inala’ on its West End Premiere at the Peacock

Abundant Art’s Protima Chatterjee spoke with Mark Baldwin before the show and here is what he had to share about his experience with Inala.

Inala, a Zulu Ballet is a product of a unique collaboration between the Grammy Award winning South African Soweto Gospel Choir and leading dancers from London. The dancers are drawn from the Royal Ballet, Rambert, Richard Alston Dance Company and Company Wayne McGregor.

Presented by Sisters Grimm and choreographed by multi-award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin OBE, it is an engaging, enjoyable and a trailblazing stage production. The Grammy nominated musical score is not only sung but danced by the Gospel choir singers. They touch the audience deeply with their overwhelming stage presence. The dancers are strong and chiselled – their powerful emotive performance leaves the audience gasping. Mark Baldwin’s artistic vision is perfectly translated through this mesmerising storytelling of the ‘abundance of goodwill’ or Inala in Zulu. It is a coming together of diverse cultures, artistic disciplines and backgrounds in one power packed presentation – a must watch!

Inala will run from April 30th to May 18th at the Peacock Theatre, Sadlers Wells

Nafisah Baba, winner of BBC Young Dancer 2017-exclusive interview with Abundant Art in the run up to Sadler’s Wells Sampled-2 & 3 February 2018.

Nafisah Baba winner of the contemporary category and overall winner of BBC Young Dancer 2017 competition presents Inescapable at Sadler’s Wells Sampled, a work created by her for last year’s competition.

1.Winning BBC Young Dancer 2017 is a milestone in your career. Congratulations Nafisah! How did it feel when your name was announced?

Thank you! To be honest, I don’t even remember how I felt – it was all such a blur but I do know I was just completely shocked!! I think it only properly sunk in when I was holding the trophy after walking on stage and just taking in the audience in front of me. I’ll never forget that moment.

2. What are your key learnings from your successful participation?

There are a few key things I learnt from participating in Young Dancer. 1. Always be true to yourself. 2. Don’t be so hard on yourself and always stay humble. 3. It’s amazing what you can do when you believe in yourself. 4. Supporting and giving others confidence does amazing things, don’t forget to do it! I learnt a great deal in and out of the studio alone, in rehearsals with my mentor and choreographer and each round of the competition. Reflecting to that whole period in 2017, it was 6 months of continual growth and learning, even if I was unaware of it at some points.

3. How do you think you grew as a performer from Chrysalis London to BBC Young Dancer and after?

I had many performance experiences with Chrysalis London, each one being so different, and as the shows went by, I began to feel more at ease with being on stage. Each performance gave me a little more confidence and experience. As an artist, people will be watching you and you must find a way to be comfortable with that, even if deep down you are incredibly nervous at the thought of performing to an audience or being on stage. The years I spent with Chrysalis London not only helped me achieve this but helped me enjoy the process as well despite the nerves.

If I’m honest, I am usually a complete nervous wreck before I go on stage! But once I start dancing, I get so lost in the movement and with what I’m doing that sometimes I forget people are watching me. There are times where I feel at ease and safe on stage, and BBC Young Dancer helped me find this. Everything that has helped me develop from Chrysalis and BBC Young Dancer will always stay with me, and I hope to continue this growth with Phoenix Dance Theatre and beyond.

4. What has been your biggest challenge in your dance journey?

There have been many challenges in my dance journey, but the biggest challenge would have to be realising and believing in myself and my true potential, something I would have never been able to truly do had it not been for Jodie Blemings, Chrysalis, and the support in that environment, as well as from my friends and family outside.

5. How do you prep yourself before a performance? Any rituals before you go on stage?

I do a few things to prep myself before a performance. I make sure I’ve eaten properly and while doing this I’ll chill out and listen to some music to keep me feeling calm. On the day or the evening of the performance, I don’t like to think about the performance in too much detail too early otherwise I tend to start panicking and building up unnecessary nerves. After a while I’ll start warming up, either in the studio or the dressing room and do a ballet barre and core exercises. I’m completely in my zone at this point! Once I’m warm, I’ll play the music I’ll be dancing to and go over my solo several times while visualising what I’ll be doing on stage. I find this really helps me with nerves and gets me focused.

6. What might you be doing if you were not in this career?

I do sometimes wonder, in a parallel universe what I would be doing if I wasn’t dancing. There are many things I can think of that I’d love to do, but I can’t say I know what I’d definitely do. Dance has been part of my life for the most of it and to dance professionally has always been an ambition of mine. I think I’d probably still be doing something physical, I’ve always loved sports (sometimes more than dance!), and I considered taking netball seriously during my high school years. On the other hand, I love writing, so maybe I would have studied and gone to university!

7. How do you define contemporary dance and its use in the current artistic environment?

How would I define Contemporary dance? That’s a hard question, there are so many definitions, but I would say it’s an incredibly expressive style of dance that connects the body with the mind with movement. It’s a style that combines elements and includes and values collaborations of other different dance styles too. Contemporary dance has no boundaries to movement, ideas, and you don’t have to ‘fit a certain mould’ to do or succeed in it.

8. What is it that inspires you as an artist?

There are many things that inspire me as an artist. 1. The people I surround myself with. 2. The companies and dancers that I aspire to be like and have inspired me to dance for years. 3. Hearing and seeing people’s reactions, (dancers and non-dancers especially), to seeing dance that moves them. 4. My own reactions and feelings to seeing something that moves me. 4. The feeling and the freedom dancing gives me. 5. The opportunities it can give and the places it can take people.

9. Is collaborative work across multiple art forms exciting for you?

 It really does excite me when new art forms can be created through collaborations! It keeps dance fresh and current and also presents and gives more credit and exposure to art forms and techniques that people may not be as familiar with. You can learn so much simply just from watching other art forms and their disciplines. I found this happened when I first joined Chrysalis. We were a hub of different styles and the things we learnt from each other were so valuable. Sharing and valuing each other’s styles changed my movement positively and made me realise the possibilities of movement and where it can take you. I believe you are a product of your environment and each environment contributes to you as an individual.  Admiring styles I had never worked with or even seen before allowed me to explore my body and make shapes I didn’t realise were possible, and when these things maybe didn’t work out, new pathways and movement was discovered for the first time. I think this can be such a beautiful moment.

10. Apart from dance any other activities you are interested in?

I love to draw, write and if I had the time I would pick up a few sports again!

11. What’s your next big aspiration?

I’m still trying to figure out my next aspiration. My aspiration two years ago was to join a professional touring company and I’ve just recently joined Phoenix Dance Theatre. I have many plans for my dance career and fresh ideas, but I want to wait and experience a little bit more before I figure out what my next aspiration will be. I would love to travel to different countries and experience dance and the culture there later on in life, and I dream about having my own mentoring scheme in the future (after my career)!

12. A message from you for all the aspiring young dancers who aim to walk in your footsteps with BBC Young Dancer and beyond?

To the next BBC Young Dancers, remember it’s not always about the winning and being the best. What you learn throughout is what is most valuable and how it can positively change you as an artist and an individual. I always say, winning was just the cherry on top of the cake for me. Also, don’t let the pressure of anything take away the joy, opportunity and experience you are being offered. Live in every moment and have no regrets!

Sadler’s Wells Sampled, features world-class dance and a series of workshops and foyer activities, on Friday 2 & Saturday 3 February 2018. The festival gives audiences a chance to experience the broad range of dance presented at Sadler’s Wells  Following its London run, Sampled will then tour to The Lowry, Salford Quays as part of The Movement, a producing partnership for dance between Sadler’s Wells, The Lowry and Birmingham Hippodrome. Sampled features a wide variety of dance, from classical ballet to hip hop, contemporary and flamenco.
For full line up and ticket information https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2018/sadlers-wells-sampled/