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Ex-stuntman Jan Patzke and ex-gymnast Olivia Quayle form Joli Vyann. This dynamic duo use exciting hand-to-hand acrobatics and dance to explore contemporary issues. See Jan throw Olivia into the air with ease and Olivia perform balances which seem gravity defying.
Joli Vyann have created Imbalance with internationally acclaimed choreographer Jonathan Lunn.
These days it’s rare not to be ‘logged in’ at every opportunity; the breakfast table, nights out with friends, even in bed. ‘Imbalance’ is a high-energy dance, circus and acrobatic fusion exploring our chaotic, digitally obsessed lives. It questions whether our lives are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of balance; whether our reliance on technology helps or hinders us achieve this balance, and explores the dramatic affects this can have on our personal relationships.
What was the inspiration for this performance?
All around us technology is getting more and more ubiquitous in society and our daily lives. We watched a film called Koyaanisqatsi which looks at the relationship between nature and man and shows how fast our world has developed and how technology is a huge part of that. With the inspiration of this film we then decided we wanted to explore technology's influence on our daily lives and relationships. can we live without our gadgets? How dependent are we? has this affected how we socialise and the relationships we form?
How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Our production company, Turtle key Arts helped us a lot with building our team. They play a huge part as creative producers and were supporting us every step of the way. Last year we performed at a Turtle Key charity event and Jonathan Lunn was in the audience. This was the first connection between us and then Turtle Key arranged for Jan and I to meet Johnny properly.
This was the beginning of our wonderful relationship! Our lighting designer, Aideen Malone also did the lighting for our last show, Stateless and our costume designer, Tina Bicat worked with Ockham’s Razor, whom Turtle Key also produce. We met our composer, Doug Evans a couple of years ago through a friend. He then came to see Stateless and spoke to us afterwards to say he enjoyed our work and would be interested in working with us. We contacted him when we were planning Imbalance and he was available.
How did you become interested in making performance?
Jan worked in circus professionally for 10 years, dabbling in dance, and Olivia worked in dance professionally for 10 years, but with a background of gymnastics. When we created Joli Vyann we wanted to combine these two genres into something which blurred the boundaries between the two. We wanted to make work that people could relate to and could provoke thought, whilst merging dance and circus in a fluid way. We wanted people to ask 'Is this dance or circus?' The answer is we are both!
Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
The process of making Imbalance was quite different to the way we usually make work because we were working with Jonathan Lunn who led the creative process. It was amazing to have his expertise and for him to set creative tasks for us. We worked very much with text which he presented, then layered movement in relation to this text. It was a really interesting process and the collaboration worked fantastically well. We had a huge amount of fun in the studio.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We want to audience to be able to relate to the topic of technology and how our general obsession with it influences our daily lives and relationships. We want them to feel something emotional and to experience a whole host of emotions, from humor to frustration to sadness to irony.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
We chose a very current subject which relates to people of all ages. Young people are hugely dependent upon technology whilst many elderly people are fearful of it. We wanted to offer many scenarios in the show that relate to people of all ages. We researched this topic before creating the show and then did some research n social media throughout the creation and tour. We also focused heavily upon two characters and their relationship. The performance leads the audience on an emotional journey with these two characters, allowing them to experience what the characters feel, expressing these feelings through the world of dance and circus.
Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
Not really, we feel like our mix of dance and circus is quite new, especially in the UK. We use many influences in our work, contemporary dance, martial arts, contact, hand to hand, partner acrobatics and theatre.
Jonathan Lunn has toured globally and worked on large-scale operas, films, theatre and dance shows. He was Chichester Festival Theatre’s Associate Choreographer, and earned an Olivier Award Nomination for Best Choreographer in Theatre for the National Theatre’s Pericles. He was also a recipient of a NESTA Fellowship.
“We wanted to explore, interpret and bring to audiences in Edinburgh an exploration of our lives in this chaotic era. There is an expectation that we are all logged on / connected, all the time, to different online platforms. We wanted to explore how and when we separate ourselves from this virtual chaos surrounding us, and how we can create a ‘work, rest and play’ balance” -Olivia Quayle and Jan Patzke, Artistic Directors and Performers.
“While acknowledging that the internet can bring us unquantifiable advantages and time saving short cuts, it also poses new challenges and problems. It’s not simply the distraction of a text message or an email slyly peeked at during a conversation that takes us out of direct human interaction. There is also the dark side where personal contact is usurped by social media activity, where information overload leaves us feeling helpless and inadequate, and where the already unacceptable issue of victimising those who do not conform to the norm, has morphed into sinister trolling and cyberbullying” -Jonathan Lunn, Choreographer