Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Plan B for Dramaturgy: Joan Clevillé @ Edfringe 2015

Joan Clevillé Dance
Plan B for Utopia

21-30 August, 12pm (55mins) (not 24th)
Dance Base (venue 22)

Joan Clevillé Announces His New Company and its inaugural piece Plan B for Utopia.

You have a plan, and then you don’t. You have a dream, and then you wake up. You fall in love, and your heart gets broken. The question is: do you pick up the pieces and try again?’

Acclaimed performer and choreographer Joan Clevillé announces the first show under the banner of his own company, Joan Clevillé Dance. Plan B for Utopia premieres at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August. Familiar to UK audiences through his performances with Scottish Dance Theatre and Lost Dog and his own works Dreamt for Light Years, Love Games and Achilles II, Joan has secured funding from Creative Scotland to start his first independent company, based in the city of Dundee. The company aims to push the boundaries of dance and spoken theatre creating work that is accessible to both dance and non-dance audiences, and is rooted in Joan’s fascination with human nature and the world we live in.

The Fringe  

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
The inspiration for Plan B for Utopia came from the need to reconcile my artistic practice with my personal interest in socio-political issues. I was intrigued by questions like: Can we use dance and theatre to explore socio-political issues without over-simplifying them or sounding like a preacher? 

Why is it easier to imagine the end of the world, than it is to imagine the world changing for the better? What role can creativity and imagination play as a catalyst for change in our personal and collective lives?  

Why bring your work to the Edinburgh Fringe?

Because it is the biggest platform for performing arts in Scotland and a great opportunity to showcase the work of the company, expand our network of contacts, and reach new audiences. I also believe that both the dancers and I can learn a lot about the piece from performing it nine times in a row. It is a rare luxury given the current situation of mid-scale touring in the UK, and I look forward to see the piece grow and discover new nuances and possibilities in it.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?  

Hopefully they can expect to be engaged, entertained and challenged in equal measure. Even after seeing the show many times in the studio, I find it difficult not to laugh or be moved in certain passages… Solène and John are not only incredibly talented dancers, but two of the most engaging and generous performers I have ever come across.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Dramaturgy plays a very important role within my work. It helps me to define the parameters of each piece: what is possible or impossible inside the reality of each work. There is also a sense of dramatic journey in everything I create, and dramaturgy offers me inside clues about the overall structure of the work. In the case of Plan B for Utopia, it was also crucial for me to find a sense of

coherence in the characters, to understand their intentions and the sub-text lying beneath words and steps.

What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
I suppose I operate within the lose framework of dance theatre, and I would certainly put Pina Bausch in the number one of my list of dance heroes. I am also influenced by cinema and post-dramatic theatre. 

However, there is also an interest for movement research and improvisation inside my choreographic practice. The balance between theatrical and formal elements can be different according to the needs of each piece. Even though this may be anything but new, I think this double interest is what gives a specific character to my work. 

Joan Clevillé on Plan B for Utopia from Joan Cleville on Vimeo.
Choreographer Joan Clevillé talks about his company's inaugral work 'Plan B for Utopia'.
Featuring dancers Solène Weinachter and John Kendall
Film and editing by Fiona Hay
Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
The process can vary considerably according to each work. For Plan B for Utopia, it started with a personal research stage of films and literature exploring the notion of utopia. The piece was then devised in the studio in collaboration with the dancers, and the morning practice before rehearsals informed the choreographic language of the work. After various failed attempts at producing a script, I had to let go of the idea of imposing an external narrative, and listen to what was actually happening in the studio. In the end, a structure emerged by itself, and all I had to do was to join the dots.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
In my choreographic work, I like to suggest rather than impose. I am interested in uncertainty, complexity, and contradiction, so I enjoy inviting the audience to take on responsibility in the construction of meaning. In Plan B for Utopia there is definitely a sense of shared endeavour between the performers and the audience to re-imagine the world.

“We are thrilled to present the company’s first, full-length work at Dance Base, Scotland’s National Centre for Dance. We aspire to make work that is honest, original and thought provoking, and that connects with people who have never seen dance before, especially young audiences. We are delighted to have the support of Creative Scotland and other partners to set up the company, and we aspire to consolidate Joan Clevillé Dance as a distinctive voice in the Scottish dance and cultural landscape.” Joan Clevillé

‘Creative Scotland are pleased to support Joan Cleville’s first independent project, ‘Plan B for Utopia’. This new phase in his work follows his successful career as a performer with Scottish Dance Theatre.’ Creative Scotland

The company’s inaugural piece is a playful dance theatre work featuring charismatic performers Solène Weinachter (Scottish Dance Theatre, Lost Dog, Gecko) and John Kendall (balletLORENT). 

With the recent debates on Scotland and the UK’s political future, Plan B for Utopia offers new perspectives on issues that affect us as both individuals and citizens. Through dance, humour and storytelling, the work explores the notion of utopia and the role that imagination and creativity can play as catalysts for change in our personal and collective lives. After the Fringe, Plan B for Utopia will tour across Scotland.

Joan Clevillé Biography

Joan is an independent choreographer based in Scotland. He has worked as a dancer and rehearsal director for twelve years in companies across Europe, including Scottish Dance Theatre, the Ballet of the Graz Opera (Austria) and the Choreographic Centre of Valencia (Spain). He started his journey as a choreographer in 2006, and since then his works have been presented in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain and Japan. He has created works for choreographic platforms at the Graz Opera and Scottish Dance Theatre, as well as receiving commissions from Thomas Noone Dance (Barcelona), Café Fuerte (Austria), and Institut del Teatre (Barcelona) amongst others. Joan has been an Associate Artist at Scottish School of Contemporary Dance since 2014.

Creative Team
Written and Directed by Joan Clevillé
Choreograhy by Joan Clevillé devised in collaboration with the dancers
Performed by Solène Weinachter and John Kendall
Costume Design: Matthias Strahm
Lighting Design: Emma Jones
Dramaturgy Advisor: Ella Hickson

Performance Information
21-30 August, 12pm (55mins) (not 24th)
Dance Base (venue 22)
Preview 21 Aug, 6pm £8/£6
0131 225 5525 /
0131 226 0000 /

Autumn Tour dates will be announced later in the year.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

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