25 episodes

Greenwich Dance presents Talking Moves, the podcast where artists come together to share practice, experience and ideas.

Designed for dance professionals, we put artists centre stage, upfront, in the spotlight, at the microphone so they can talk about the ideas and issues that move them.

Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production.
Presented by Melanie Precious.
Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious.

Talking Moves Greenwich Dance

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Greenwich Dance presents Talking Moves, the podcast where artists come together to share practice, experience and ideas.

Designed for dance professionals, we put artists centre stage, upfront, in the spotlight, at the microphone so they can talk about the ideas and issues that move them.

Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production.
Presented by Melanie Precious.
Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious.

    The Role of Dramaturgy

    The Role of Dramaturgy

    In this episode, we talk to Karthika Naïr and Eva Martinez about the role of dramaturgy.
    An artist’s creation space is a rather special place to inhabit. It’s vibrant, exciting, tense sometimes nail-biting. And it always feels to me to be an honour to be there. But by the same token, it comes with much responsibility particularly if you are invited not as an onlooker but as a contributor. One role, increasingly in use within the creation process is the role of the dramaturg. But what exactly is this, how do you become one and what benefit can a dramaturg bring to an artistic process?
    We start off by discussing what a dramaturg actually is and Karthika shares a clarifying analogy we here at Greenwich Dance will reuse again and again about an elephant…
    Our guests have held over the expanse of their careers multiple roles within the creation process and Karthika and Eva clarify some distinctions between writers, producers, dramaturgs, dance scripters and librettists to help us understand the complexity of the work that goes on behind the scenes. We also discover a new word, fabulist, which again will be reused again and again.
    We talk a lot about the creation space and the dynamic within, about permissions, boundaries, feedback and respecting both the process and the work itself as well as the collaborators who make it. We weave a basket with our threads of conversation as we touch upon trust and the ways trust can be built (particularly this past year in remote settings), about whether prior relationships need to be established (or not) and whether all artists or only those using narrative would benefit from dramaturgical support. And we discuss, as we often do, the use of language and whether the words ‘authority’ or ‘power’ are ever at play in these settings. Eva makes the point that she has been an activist within an institution for many years and Karthika states that she would never work with anyone she could not disagree with.
    And finally, we talk about the importance of acknowledging the plurality of the creative team in crediting and the need to break away from the ‘primacy of the single narrative’, which is so often prevalent in the way that work is presented and marketed to audiences. As ever there seems so much more to discuss and dig into.
    Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production
    Presented by Melanie Precious
    Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious
    Recording date: Thursday 22 July 2021

    • 56 min
    Breaking Through

    Breaking Through

    In this episode, we talk to Katie Serridge and Nafisah Baba about Breaking Through.
    This episode was put together at Katie’s request, who took the initiative and emailed us offering to talk about the challenges she has been presented with as a young artist trying to break into an industry that effectively shut down only minutes after her graduation. Nafisah Baba, BBC Young Dancer 2017, joins us to share her observations of the world of work thus far.
    We start off by discussing how Katie and Nafisah came to dance, the courses and training they embarked upon to prepare them for the industry and the opportunities they had to start making or performing in work pre-Covid. We reflect back on lockdown 1.0 and how it felt for them both returning to childhood bedrooms as adults.
    Most performers find a need to supplement their earnings with what Nafisah described as a ‘Muggle job’ and Katie talks about how for her these dried up as cafes and theatres closed. We discuss how they now think about ‘training’ which might once have meant daily class but is now weighted towards the maintenance of strong and positive mental health. We talk about resilience, networking, the pleasures and pitfalls of social media and how best to manage it.
    But these are two remarkable young women and, presented with the challenge of a global pandemic, they both set about finding creative ways to manage. Both are already making their mark on the world through their art, are politically and globally aware and have voices that are starting to be heard. Katie, along with a collective she formed at Laban, has already begun making films and sharing these in festivals and Nafisah talked about how she has enjoyed experiences of working with artists such as Akram Khan who have inspired her to break away from years of codified training.
    This is no ‘woe-is-me’ episode. This is an episode filled with hope, love, care and possibility. Yes, we talk about what the industry is demanding of young dancers right now but most excitingly we talk about how these young dancers are starting to push back against that expectation and make changes in a world that, let’s be honest, is ready for the shake-up.
    Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production
    Presented by Melanie Precious
    Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious
    Recording date: Thursday 5 August 2021

    • 49 min
    Co-creating with Communities

    Co-creating with Communities

    In this episode, we talk to Nancy Hirst and Dan Canham about Co-creating with Communities.
    Building cultural communities is at the heart of Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy and for many organisations, this kind of work is at the very heart of what we try to do. But it’s not easy… it takes time, patience, diplomacy and care to do well. And sometimes, the funding and expectations of stakeholders around us, plus perhaps our own over-eager enthusiasm causes us to make mistakes. So we ask our guests to tell us more about how we might do this work better.
    We start off with vocabulary… what and who do we mean by the all-encompassing word ‘community’ and indeed what do we mean by co-creation? None of us feel very comfortable with either terms but find ourselves using them anyway and so we explore the reasons why we do and the complexities that arise for us when we do.
    We talk a lot about telling stories and the ethics of doing that, the juxtaposition of local stories linked to national conversations, of being authentic, of being of a place or an outsider to it and of finding a common purpose. We delve into Dan’s epic gig-like work Session which he undertook in partnership with Empire Sounds and Steppaz Performing Arts in Tottenham, and we look at the ways in which Nancy and her company Icon build theatre around local tales such as The Chatham Witch and The Silk of 1000 Spiders with her Medway communities.
    Both Nancy and Dan share some of the tools they use, show us where some of the traps and pitfalls can lie, and muse on the complexity of this work which we all agree felt different to simply ‘seeking out stimuli’ and mining material. The issue of ethics comes up for us, as does legacy and how we can continue to support a process even after the final curtain on the show has come down.
    And finally, we reflect on the joy – the moments where the stars align and the work comes together and the magic truly happens…
    Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production
    Presented by Melanie Precious
    Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious
    Recording date: Wednesday 29 September 2021

    • 47 min
    Celebrating Diversity with Dance

    Celebrating Diversity with Dance

    In this episode, we talk to Vicki Igbokwe and Shane Shambu about Celebrating Diversity with Dance.
    The two artists we invited to take part in this episode each make extraordinary, distinct work using an original voice. We ask them about where their work takes its influence, how they have been able to make it, find audiences for it and how free they are to experiment with it.
    We start off by exploring Vicki and Shane’s beginnings – discovering how they found dance and where and how they learned their craft. Then we touch upon the first of many similarities between these two inspirational artists – their three ‘e’s – empower, entertain and educate… and how these same values infiltrate into every decision they make about the work they craft and the people they aim to serve through the making of it.
    I share my perspective as a white woman, watching Vicki’s The Head Wrap Diaries and Shane’s Confessions of Cockney Temple Dancer, and how I found myself gaining another perspective on the world. I ask our guests “is this intentional – are you trying to share an aspect of your cultural heritage? Or is there something else driving the telling of these stories?” The answer is complex and simple at the same time. Our guests tell stories about life as they see it and experience it. The want and need for the sector, myself included, to stereotype artists and ‘stamp’ their work with a label we think we understand is something that has to change if we are ever going to let artists be truly free to make the work inside them.
    We talk about authenticity and freedom to explore… how free did Vicki and Shane feel to explore movement language and stories and how necessary or helpful is the concept of ‘authenticity’?
    Finally, we talk about curiosity and conversation and the ways in which both artists float between cultural boundaries and expectations, how they draw the audience into their work and just how much they dislike the post-show talk!
    Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production
    Presented by Melanie Precious
    Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious
    Recording date: Wednesday 22 September 2021

    • 59 min
    Feedback & Criticism

    Feedback & Criticism

    In this episode, we talk to Isaac Ouro-Gnao and Donald Hutera about the role of Feedback & Criticism.
    Every artist making work and putting it out there into the world is inviting an opinion of some kind: be that from their immediate collaborators, their performers, the raised eyebrow of a parent or mentor, their audience, or critics. Feedback is so useful to the artistic process, but it’s hard to take at times. And perhaps also, hard to give. In this episode we talk to two artists to find out a bit more about the art of critique, its relevance today and how we can, perhaps as an industry, do it better.
    Our guests have a foot in both camps – working as artists but also as published journalists. So as people of words we start off by defining some… analysing the words ‘review’, ‘feedback’ and ‘criticism’ and establishing whether they were interchangeable or if there were notable differences. We decide that perhaps feedback is for artists and reviews serve as documentation or for audience information. It was the word criticism everyone feels a little more uncomfortable with…
    Donald and Isaac both share instances where they had felt criticised in print, and how they dealt with conflicting opinions. We talk about ethics: permission, recognising objectivity is impossible, that there is no right or wrong (only opinion) and that sometimes feedback (and reviews) are not actually wanted. We conclude that the hunger to know more about artists and their work and dialogue are both key to useful criticism.
    The subject of diversity of voices threads its way through our conversation and we discuss ways we might better achieve a multiplicity of voices within the industry of dance journalism that is in itself diminishing.
    But perhaps most importantly we talk about responsibility – and what those who have a voice can do to shine the spotlight and give over some space to voices that are lesser heard.
    You may like to dip into the following articles before or after you listen…
    The Stage feature: Race and Theatre Criticism We Need Critical Change
    The Stage feature: Race and Theatre Criticism On Writing about Race Equity’s Recommendations for Theatre Critics
    Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production
    Presented by Melanie Precious
    Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious
    Recording date: Wednesday 21 July 2021

    • 55 min
    Creating an Identity

    Creating an Identity

    In this episode, we talk to Annie Hanauer and Erion Kruja about Creating an Identity.
    For many dancers it’s a dream to secure a long term contract within a prestigious dance company, but there comes a time when it just feels right to move on. So what happens when you fly that nest – leaving the safety of a regular wage, daily class, regular performance opportunities and the companionship of like-minded company members? How do you build that support infrastructure for yourself – at the same time as having to find the funding, secure commissions, and rebrand as an independent?
    We start off by finding out more about life with Candoco (from Annie) and with Hofesh Shechter Company (from Erion) and how they came to make the decision to leave. We discuss the support infrastructure and development opportunities they had whilst still a member of the company and what that looks like now that they are making work independently.
    We talk a bit about the type of work a body wants to make when it has been a tool for other choreographers for so long and both of our guests offer suggestions for what’s needed to better develop and support independent dance makers of today. As we very often do, we talk about language definitions and discuss the feeling of living across both an ‘emerging’ and ‘established’ description. We talk about the implied hierarchy of dancers and choreographers (the inaccurate expectation that everyone wants to ‘graduate’ to becoming a maker) and this leads us onto broader discussions about labelling where Annie shares the frustrations she experiences of being boxed up into the ‘disabled dancer’ category, and what it’s taking for her to mentally and physically break out of that box. Annie sent us some further thoughts on the subject – don’t miss her PS at the end of the episode.
    And finally, we talk about the differences between the offer here in the UK and internationally and what we can be doing as dance organisations to better support the lifeblood of our art form.
    Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production
    Presented by Melanie Precious
    Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious
    Recording date: Friday 23 July 2021

    • 49 min

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