Courtesy of the British Council and the British Embassy Tokyo, Company Director, Nicole Vivien Watson will be returning to Japan in the Autumn, to hold a residency at Ise City, the home of Ise Jingu (Ise Grand Shrine). The starting-point of her research will be investigations into the architecture and artistry of the shrine’s Torii (鳥居)(Gateway to the shrine). Every Japanese shrine has a Torii, passing through the gateway is a symbolic action, a sign that one has passed from the every-day into a spiritual world.
“I’m very thankful to be one of the six artists invited to take part in the programme and to have the opportunity to hold meetings with Japanese Shinto priests, craft makers, local residents and artists, making new friendships and discovering even more about a country, culture and people I hold so dear”. Nicole Vivien Watson
– Sunrise at Ujibashi Bridge, Ise Shrine (around the winter solstice), photo by Jingushicho (Jingu Administration Office)
By clearing evidencing progressive strategies, Surface Area Dance Theatre is celebrating a further two years of Disability Confident Employer status, awarded by the Department of Work and Pensions and has committed to four priorities;
1, challenging attitudes towards disability
2, increasing understanding of disability
3, removing barriers to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.
4, ensuring that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.
Surface Area Dance Theatre is committed to making the most of the talents disabled people can bring to the organisation and will continue to challenge negative stereotypes by supporting and encouraging ability.
An excerpt from a recently published review of ‘Hand in Hand’ covered by Disability Arts Online (DAO). Sincere thanks to DAO for capturing the spirit of this extraordinary event so perfectly!
“The strength of this piece was in collaboration and accessibility which was integral right from inception and this played beautifully on stage – there was no BSL interpreter as an add-on. In moments of text, there were always two performers playing back and forth with each other, one using stunning flowing BSL and the other spoken English, with points of joint signing which would flow back into or out of the dance…”.
Congratulations to all involved in the ‘Hand in Hand’ project and many thanks to friends, colleagues and supporters for your continued encouragement.
Photographed by Paul Miller, Dance City, March 2019.
Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones, exists as an enquiry and process of choreographic research, centred upon Nicole Vivien Watson’s understanding and knowledge of British Sign Language, Deaf culture and Butoh.
Language, communication and physical expression through movement, are three of the principal interests Nicole has chosen to include in the present-phase of artistic developments, culminating in live performances, that will take place in the UK and beyond throughout 2020. In December 2018, the first of four periods of studio research took place in Leeds, during which, three dance artists, Charlie Dearnley, Chris Fonseca and Alex Rowland, joined Nicole and musician Tom White and visual artist Graham Patterson to begin the first chapter of their shared journey.
The opening or gateway, to the collective’s coming together, was supported by the introduction of Ma (間) as the group began to physically interpret the possibilities of Ma, responding with an assertive series of gestures, postures and settlements of physical contact, instigated by the proposition of using the entire body as a listening instrument, capable of feeling, touching and seeing the colours and textures of sound, sound in space and sound in silence.
As a collective of hearing and Deaf artists, the group’s shared time and offerings of artistic and intellectual resources are providing and instigating new avenues of enquiry, which will be thought over, structured and reorientated within the choreography’s identity, encountered by future audiences and participants.
A post that contains exciting news!
In partnership with colleagues Paul Miller and Moving Art Management, we are now organising the arrival of Choreographer Chisato Minamimura, who will be in residence at Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK from the 18 – 22 of March and is looking to collaborate with 20 members of the community, to create an exciting live performance, presented in Dance City’s theatre space on the 22 of March.
To find out more, view Hannah and Paul offering English and British Sign Language information regarding the project and how you can get involved
With sincere thanks to Arts Council England, Dance City and the Japan Foundation.
The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed
“The sounds are barely more than droning and breath, but that is all that is needed to paint the weird and wonderful world Watson draws the audience into. There is a slimy pinkish mass in a bucket of goo invoking creation myths of how human beings were formed but also toying with the aesthetic and appeal within the fetish of “Messy Play,”. It was totally transfixing to watch as a shapeless object rises from the muck and stands tall in her goddess-like glory like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus”. (Cindy Sibilsky, www.broadwayworld.com, 2018)
Photography by Michael BlasÃ©
Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones, 2018 – 2020
Surface Area Dance Theatre is turning the page into a new epoch of choreographic studies, researched and developed in action with; Charlie Dearnley, Christopher Fonseca, Graham Patterson, Alex Rowland and Tom White.
With thanks to support from Arts Council England, Dance City, Spin Arts and Dance Studio Leeds.
Photography by Graham Patterson, Northumberland UK, 2018
Company Director, Nicole Vivien Watson, receives an invitation from the New York Butoh Institute Festival 2018. Curated by Vangeline for Vangeline Theater/ New York Butoh Institute and will be performing The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed, made in collaboration with Matthew De Kersaint Giraudeau (Sound) and Ben Jeans Houghton (Sculpture).
The performance invokes the narrative imagery of creation myths where humans are formed from the earth, within the aesthetic of the fetish Messy Play and through the language of Butoh, the performance links our understandings of the contemporary body and our imaginings of a primordial past.
With thanks to Arts Council England and The British Council.
Disability Confident is a scheme that is designed to help recruit and retain disabled people, and people with health conditions for their skills and talents and supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to the workplace. The scheme aims to aid successful recruitment and retain disabled people and those with health conditions. Developed by employers and disabled people’s representatives to make it rigorous but easily accessible – particularly for smaller businesses.
“It is an important forward – step by the government to officially recognise the skills and abilities of disabled people and people with health conditions within the workplace. Surface Area Dance Theatre is proud to gain the certification of a Disability Confident Employer and will reflect upon guidance offered by the government, to maintain and improve upon best practice”. Nicole Vivien Watson, Director of Surface Area Dance Theatre.
Company Director, Nicole Vivien Watson, returns to the UK from a remarkable journey to the West coast of Japan. The venture was motivated by her on-going research into the life and works of Lafcadio Hearn (小泉八雲). The photographs below were taken at Hearn’s former residence in Metsue. With many thanks and kind wishes to Bon Koizumi, Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum Director; Great-grandson of Lafcadio Hearn.
Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904) was a British national of Greek and Irish descent, who was educated at Ushaw College in County Durham, England. After travelling over halfway around the globe, he arrived in Japan. In 1896, he married Koizumi Setsu, the daughter of a Matsue samurai, and became a Japanese citizen. During his fifty-four years of life, he produced thirty works, including Kwaidan, which he wrote in his later years.
Photographs of Lafcadio Hearn’s home and garden Matsue, Japan. 7 of June, 2018. By Nicole Vivien Watson.