Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pair Dance explain Duality

How does Duality fit with the Olympiad commission?

Harriet Macauley’s Duality is a work full length 60 minute digital dance work which draws on the competitive, physical and physiological nature of performers and athletes. Competition is a large part of why we strive to better ourselves as performers and artists. The ego is described as an exaggerated sense of self-importance or conceit, which I believe as a choreographer and a performer is a part of what we become, it can either positive or negative. 

Duality is a dance work which is set in 5 scenes; INTERVIEW, MACHINE, BATTLE, SCIENTIFIC AND CONFESSION.

MACHINE is about the dancer’s ability to achieve precise and articulate movement through the use of extraordinary technique and ability.  In 2004 – 2007 I worked for two leading dance companies; Rambert and Richard Alston Dance Company. 
Whilst with both companies I learnt first hand the most significant aspect of the role of a dancer was to produce the steps / movements to perfection each time. Company dancers would feed off this need to develop and achieve the ultimate expression and quality within their movements. Whether you were sick, tired, injured, you were a dancer. Every day the company would utilised mirrors to ensure the correct shape and expression is achieved. Each class seemed as though it was a competition or performance, even in morning warm – up - ballet or contemporary class. 

I felt like a MACHINE... repetition, precision, articulation, these are the daily functions of every performer or athlete. Alongside the physical demands of a dancer there is also the mental and physiological aspects of performance which falls heavily in alignment with sport. Confidence, belief, control, pushing the limits of what has been achieved previously, whether that is turning on your head or executing 15 pirouettes!  Then there is the dancers role of working in duets or trio’s, or just working with others as a team and yet still being able to focus on your performance as a individual, I would describe it as a tricky balance.

BATTLE predominately deals with our need to compete and win. Superiority to others is a part of the ego. Ego’s are expected in performance particularly dance as well as in a sporting environment. I believe it creates a system of first, second or third, small, middle, high or student, amateur, professional. In Duality belief in one’s ability and self is fundamental, as the work is created and designed by the bodies, individual characters and team of dancers in the space. Self – esteem alongside pride in oneself within performance is not a negative function however it is something that is often over looked particularly in contemporary performance.

Do you feel that dance has any particular advantages over other performance forms - especially in the context of the fringe?

Duality is the culmination of a two year investigation with the introduction of five dancers from the UK and Europe who have been brought together to perform a work centred around themselves, their culture, habits, knowledge and make up as performers and artists.  Working as a choreographer is challenging, and by no means an easy route particularly in contemporary dance. 

We return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to allow audiences, theatre goers, programmers, and managers to view a work that really depicts the development of Pair Dance’s choreographic works to date. Duality is described as an “An extraordinary idea, an extraordinary performance!” by Stagebeauty and Yorkshire Times. Harriet continues to introduce a bespoke sound score by Richard Leonard with the integration of 2D and 3D digital interactive media by award winning artists Sammi Fang and Jui – Wei Hung of Twain. 

This work is a true collaboration which brings together extraordinary artists. I am driven by creation into performance, and continue to work within the dance field because of this reason. It is the realisation that you start from an unknown place which is usually a fragment of the idea, and within 3 months you have a final work with all the elements seamlessly merged together to create a tapestry of experiences, creativity and results. This is a wonderful and indescribable feeling.  

What inspired duality as a theme for choreography?

Duality is actually what the work is – Dance and Technology. It bring two states, two poles and pulls them together.  Both the physical and virtual dancer are presented almost in a documentary format – through INTERVIEW (section one) each dancer is introduced. Further elements including sound, digital live feed and movement gestures highlight their characters and abilities.

The piece is about technology yet uses "technological illusion"- can you explain a little by what that phrase means, and whether the way you made the work impacted on the ideas you are exploring?

Technological illusion in the context of Duality is taking a simple idea utilising technology which then opens up a wealth imagery, fast pace digital text, sound and a little confusion. Throughout the performance the viewer begins to find logic and understanding. The illusion is the relationship between virtual and real bodies in the space.

Finally - are you still as frenetic as in 2010?

Well... I guess I am still ambitious and keen to produce great work. So I think the answer is yes. This work is extraordinary both physically, digitally and visually striking...adding that to my choreographic movement style – with exceptional performers, I believe it is a blend which has produced something great.

Zoo venues
21-27 August 2012 @ 6.40pm

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