Dancers on a voyage of discovery

A national tour of work which has been created by a joint collaboration is coming to Berwick this weekend.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 11:32 am

Surface Area Dance Theatre continues its national tour of new work, The Mud Formed a Finger, Pointed and Raft, at the Gymnasium Gallery on Saturday.

The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed, explores creation myth and Messy Play, while Raft is about external discovery – looking to the stars as a way of self navigation, but in an unnatural environment (ie a gallery space).

The work has been made in collaboration between Nicole Vivien Watson, Matthew De Kersaint Giraudeau and Ben Jeans Houghton.

The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed offers a study of the human body as an uncanny object that oscillates between figuration and abstraction, body and material, depicting an object becoming human, a human becoming an object, and the states between.

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The work embodies a contemporary creation myth that melds object and subject, abject and sacred, non-human and human.

By invoking the narrative imagery of creation myths, where humans are formed from the earth, within the aesthetic of Messy Play, and through the language of Butoh, the performance links our understandings of the contemporary body and our imagining of a primordial past.

In this piece Nicole Vivien Watson, for the first time, gets the chance to invest her experience with Butoh dance, which she has been studying for many years, in a piece that gives her an opportunity to perform the methods introduced to her by Yoshito Ohno, whose father was Kazuo Ohno, a Japanese dancer who became a guru and inspirational figure in the dance form.

Raft explores inner and outer landscapes and is a metaphor for thinking about transition from one physical place to another.

It’s about self exploration, the quest to know oneself via a navigation of our emotional and historical experience of being.

Nicole said: “I am immensely pleased to reconnect with the community in Berwick and to introduce Raft to our audience at the Gymnasium.

“The origins of Raft began with a site visit to the Ice House in Bank Hill. James Lowther brought my attention to the site and I was instantly motivated to begin asking further questions and researching the location and purpose.

“I then communicated early stage research to artist Ben Jeans Houghton and now, 18 months later, we are preparing for our performance at the Gymnasium, the first of 2018.”