Friday, 29 April 2016

Vestigial Dramturgy: Wayne Parsons @ Wilton's Strike


Six promising choreographers and performers will be invited to showcase new work
Works have been developed on the theme of ‘memory’, with the help of professional mentors
The artists have all been carefully selected by a distinguished panel of dance experts including Viviana Durante, Jonathan Goddard and Lee Smikle

After successfully launching the pilot festival in 2014, Wilton’s Strike! is back for 2016, inviting six emerging artists to showcase their exciting new works at East End gem Wilton’s Music Hall. 

Using this year’s theme of memory, the six selected choreographers have been commissioned to develop their work to performance level, with help from professional mentors.

The festival will be running from Tuesday 3 May to Thursday 5 May 2016.

A Vestige
Choreographed by: Wayne Parsons
Performed by: Katie Lusby and Clemmie Sveaas

Do you see your choreography in any particular tradition?

A Vestige is a dance theatre work. It tells a story through movement and text.

What inspires you to use dance as a medium, rather than another art form?
I came to dance quite early in my life. I began dancing at the age of 14 and I’m still dancing now at the age of 35. I have always used movement as my predominant medium as it feels so natural for me to do that. That being said, I think there are limits to what movement alone can say, so I seek to work with practitioners from different disciplines to bring my ideas to life. 

For A Vestige I am working with Theatre Director Pooja Ghai who is acting as Dramaturg, writer Ankur Bahl and composer Angus Macrae who has worked as sound designer on the project. 

What was the foundation or inspiration for this piece?

A Vestige takes posthumous fame as its starting point. It examines how we reconstruct the lives of the dead by looking at what they left behind and how the memory of the dead lives on in the living.

The audience will meet a portrait artist, played by Katie Lusby, and the ghost of a woman, played by Clemmie Sveaas. We hear of how the portrait artist tries to capture the essence of the woman through her artwork; all the while, the woman’s ghost is compliant in fulfilling the artist’s incomplete and subjective constructions of the ghost’s living self.

I’m fascinated with the question of how the narratives of our lives will be manipulated once we’ve passed. A Vestige deals with the subjects of memory, subjectivity, our fascination with the famous and our universal desire to understand one another.

Was the making process typical of your usual approach?

No. My work is always narrative led but this is the first time I have worked with a script. I commissioned Ankur Bahl to write a 9-minute monologue for the work and it is heard in its entirety. This process for me has been all about focusing on the co-existence of movement and text. I’ve found contextualising movement within a script quite freeing actually. There are so many possibilities. I think it’s the start of a lengthy artistic search for me.   

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I’m playing with a sense of the real and the imagined, the present and the past, the fictional and the fact. And I hope the audience goes with this. Above all, it’s a theatrical work that tells a story and when you’re telling stories you hope that it’s a clear narrative. It’s a dense work that incorporates text, movement and set, so some concentration is need, but I hope there’s a pay off for that concentration. 

Are there any strategies you have developed to help this experience happen?

Dance is a largely abstract medium. It’s able to connect viscerally with its audience. In contradiction to that there is something very concrete about words. What I have tried to do with this work is use the movement to exaggerate the subtext within the script or to contradict what we are hearing in the script. I have crafted something that sees the movement and text in dialogue with one another in hopes of presenting a multidimensional way of storytelling.

Wayne Parsons was born in St Albans, England and graduated from London Contemporary Dance School with a first-class Bachelor’s Degree (Hons) in Contemporary Dance and a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance. Straight out of this training, Wayne earned an apprenticeship at Richard Alston Dance Company (RADC).

From this launchpad, Wayne has gone on to work for some of the biggest names in contemporary dance. He has performed major roles in choreography by Mark Baldwin, Hélèn Blackburn, Stijn Celis, Kevin Finnan, Itzik Galili, Jacopo Godani, Wendy Houstoun, Martin Lawrence, Stephen Petronio, and Stephen Shropshire.

Wayne’s long-term engagements as a performer include five years of domestic and international touring with National Dance Company of Wales (NDCWales), and a return to RADC for four tours, including Richard Alston’s 40th Anniversary Season, which was hosted at Sadler’s Wells. In 2011 Wayne moved to Australia on an invitation by Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela to join Sydney Dance Company.

Wayne has also worked with Motionhouse Dance Theatre, Yorke Dance Project, SmallPetitKlein, The Van L Dance Company, Joe Moran Dance, Kim Brandstrup, and Oguike Dance, and was part of DanceLines under the direction of Wayne McGregor. Waynehas also been the recipient of an Arts Council of Wales grant and the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship.

Throughout his performance career, Wayne has also developed his choreographic practice. In April 2013 he was selected by the National Centre for Choreography to attend the LAB at DanceEast, Ipswich. Here he spent two weeks looking at narrative in dance under the direction of Jonathan Lunn. His most recent works include the duet Meeting, which was premiered at The Place Theatre, London as a part of Resolution! 2013. Meeting was also chosen as the only representative from the UK to compete in the 6th Copenhagen International Choreography Competition in March 2013. In summer 2013 Wayne will make a short work for students at London Studio Centre for their end of year show, Dance Overture 2013. This work will be performed at The New Wimbledon Theatre in July. In 2012 Wayne made Assemble for Monmouthshire Youth Dance Company and this work premieres in June 2013 and tours throughout Wales. In 2008, Wayne created and danced the solo Visiting Then for NDCWales. Preceding this commission, he choreographed Publicly Private Me and Chrysalis, which were both toured by NDCWales in 2007 and 2006, respectively.

Wayne teaches classes and workshops to students of all ages and abilities. Recent teaching includes undergraduate technique classes and choreographic workshops at London Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban and London Studio Centre, and professional company classes for Motionhouse Dance Theatre, DV8 Physical Theatre, NDCWales and Ballet Cymru

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