Practising to be vivid: dramaturgy in action
Sketch, this year’s artist development project, got into full swing on Friday 10 October when the 6 selected artists, their dancers and some observers spent a full day in the studio with Peggy Olislaegers. Peggy is a highly experienced internationally renowned dance dramaturge as well as a programmer and producer.
As soon as Peggy arrived from Utrecht she led the group in a warm-up that focused on observation and being present. We were being asked to practice focussing ‘in’ whilst focussing ‘out’. Each artist then presented a few minutes of a new piece of work they are creating and the whole group had a chance to observe, respond and discuss.
Throughout the day artists considered how they would go about designing their ‘desired process’ as opposed to focussing on their desired product. We explored dramaturgy that is less about the realisation of an (original) concept but more about a study of that which is evoked within the creative process. As such, the focus can be less about providing a psychological subtext, the way you might in theatre, but more about creating (layers of) meaning from a series of images: with the audience experience being less “I understood” but more “I felt something”. We discussed not considering the audience as the ‘stupid other’ but considered rather how we can help them to feel included and stay connected? But of course, between the pieces we had to switch dramaturgical contexts as they were all so different.
“I feel I gained a greater understanding of how to be more subjective when receiving or giving feedback. We were asked to view things in a simple and straightforward manner and not to underestimate the beauty and importance of simple and effective feedback. Say what you see, literally. Not to be afraid to ask those big and simple questions, not to take anything for granted and not to assume an audience will understand your idea.”
Very inspirational and memorable about this first day was the immense experience, expertise and alertness that Peggy brings to this work: drawing on her huge frame of reference in music, film, theatre, dance and literature she brings a razor-sharp observation and clarity in the way she communicates which is unique and refreshing!
“I thought that I received extremely sound advice that I respect and trust.”
The Sketch artists are currently continuing the development of their new work and will come together late November with Richard Sobey to reflect and support each other. They were encouraged to actively seek to work with others to create perspective, reflection and motivation during the creative process. We welcome Peggy back early February for a 3 day workshop and two open Master Classes, so watch this space!
“Doing this as heightened my confidence and really given me some long and overdue personal and professional development. As a dance artist committed to the arts this has really helped cement my passion and determination to start making work. It’s helping me to realise my future potential as a choreographer or dance maker.”