March 2011 residency with Daliah Toure

Rachel Dean and Daliah Toure
Research residency at Yorkshire Dance March 2011

One concise statement about the purpose of your residency

To explore methods of making work. To choreograph a duet inspired by movement material created through improvisation in previous performances. To see where all our dance experiences so far, apart and together can take us.

How did you work in the residency and what were your approaches?

We had a very open approach, starting with no particular artistic aestethic, but simply the desire to experiment with new ideas. Using DVD footage from a past ‘Mathilde’ performance and the desire to use text/voice, we set ourselves tasks that would slowly increase our pool of ideas. Eventually we narrowed these down to just a few select starting points as our intentions clarified and worked towards finding ways to develop them with more focus.

Our activities included making and performing quick solos for each other, using a microphone, automatic continuous writing whilst watching each other dance, reading and being inspired by Jonathan Burrows’ “A Choreographer’s Handbook”, singing songs, hiding under a blanket and dancing to Michael Jackson.

What was the most important things you learnt from the residency?

It was very liberating to surprise ourselves by going into a residency with not much of an idea of what the outcome should be. The approach that we had was to be guided by curiosity and intuition and to inject a lightness into the way in which we worked. It was extremely satisfying to rely on our experience as artists and let ideas develop without the pressure of having to produce results. Our results were to plant seeds and let ideas, not normally given the chance to breath, come to the surface and hopefully develop further in the future.

How did this residency impact on the overall development of your career and practice?

Having a ‘safe’ space to experiment is very valuable to us. We had the chance to try out new ideas which we expect will feed into future collabrations and choreographies. We spent time discussing our own individual stances on choreographic aesthetics, the relationships between choreography and improvisation and articulated our thoughts on  issues relating to our work.