Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones

Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones currently exists as an enquiry and process of choreographic research, that is centred upon an experiential understanding and knowledge of British Sign Language, Mindfulness and Connectivity. The opening or gateway of creative influence has been supported by the introduction of Ma (間), which can be translated from Japanese to mean a gap/pause/interval. 

The artists involved have approached Ma (間) by responding with a 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 silence. 

‘Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones’, will be performed at, The Wellcome Trust, Dance City, Berwick Visual Arts, The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens, Archaeological Museum of Patras, the Hepworth Wakefield, Durham Cathedral and the Whitworth Gallery. 

With thanks to Arts Council England, Dance City, the Latsis Foundation, the Greggs Foundation, Spin Arts and all participating partners. 

Photography by Paul Miller, featuring dance artist, Alex Rowland at Dance City 2020. 

2020 begins with an expression of thanks to The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation agreeing to support Surface Area Dance Theatre’s 2020 programme of engagement in Athens. At a time when borders and gates are becoming ever-more restricted, it is an honour to receive funding from Greece. We are committed to reaching out and making friends across the borderlines. Thank you to the Foundation for acknowledging the intentions of our work and commitment forward.

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2005 with the purpose of continuing the late John S. Latsis’ philanthropic legacy by incorporating and advancing the activity of public benefit foundations that he established in the late ‘60s and in the early ‘90s in Greece, with the aim of better addressing contemporary social issues and challenges.
‘Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones’ photography by Paul Miller, Dance City, 2019.

Senior Collaborator, Chisato Minamimura embarks on a UK tour of “Scored in Silence” taking place in London at Oval House and Edinburgh at The British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2019.

“Scored in Silence”, is Chisato’s solo digital artwork that unpacks the untold events of Deaf Hibakusha – survivors of the A-Bombs that fell in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Here is a short video by Chisato, offering further and detailed information on how “Scored in Silence”, was created. The short video also includes primary, conversational interviews with Deaf Hibakusha. The video alone offers unparalleled access into one of the most critical events in modern, world history, expressed by survivors who continue to recover from the disaster.

Photography by Mark Pickthall.

“With thanks to Arts Council England – Artists International Development Fund, I can accept an invitation from the New York Butoh Institute, to perform and participate in the Institute’s annual festival of conferences, live-performances and presentations, taking place in Manhattan over a period of 21 days, throughout October 2018. I look forward to celebrating the art-form, in the company of the international Butoh community”. (Company Director Nicole Vivien Watson)

“Very pleased to mention that I am now a member of Action Learning. Facilitated by Independent Dance and Dancers’ Career Development, with support from the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund. Look forward to meet my fellow set members, at the Siobhan Davies Studios later in the month”. Nicole Vivien Watson

This evening’s talk at the Daiwa Foundation was truly inspiring. I’m thankful to have heard Professor Kojiro Hirose’s touching account of meeting Haru Kobayashi (1900-2005), who was known as the “last Goze”.

Goze is a term referring to visually-impaired female musicians who travelled Japan playing shamisen. After World War II, with the expansion of the welfare service for disabled people and the enhancement of education for visually impaired people, Goze came to be recognised as relics of the pre-modern times.
Hands of Goze: the Tactile Culture of Visually Impaired People in Modern Japan. Professor Kojiro Hirose discussed “the hands of Goze” and approached the relevance and the possibility of Goze culture from three different angles: “touching the sound”, “touching the colour”, and “touching the heart”. Referencing Goze folk songs, which Goze created and spread as their own oral traditions. –

Kojiro Hirose is an associate professor at the School of Cultural and Social Studies at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, having received a Ph.D in Japanese Religious History from Kyoto University in 2000. He was also appointed associate professor at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan. Since then he has worked on practical study and the prevalence of “tactile exhibits”, aiming at not only a barrier-free museum for disabled people, but a “universal museum,” which everyone can enjoy.

Published by Nicole Vivien Watson



8th of December 17, at CCA: GLASGOW


20th of December 17, at  WORKPLACE GATESHEAD 


Two live 20-30 minute performances with a 30 minute intermission.

The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed explores creation myth and Messy Play, while Raft is a navigation of self via astrology. Made in collaboration between Matthew De Kersaint Graudeau, Ben Jeans Houghton and Nicole Vivien Watson.

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 protean states between.

Nicole Vivien Watson emerges from an industrial bucket, her body covered in dripping, viscous liquid. 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 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.

Raft explores inner and outer landscapes, through Nicole’s choreographed mapping and navigation of the solar system and the self performed on a sculptural Zodiac stage. Presenting a dialogue between the microcosm and the macrocosm, mapping the relationships between distant stars, the present individual and the planets, in an exploration and interogation of the esoteric and exoteric aspects of self.

Raft draws inspiration from: ‘The Archaic Revival’ – the invigoration of principles and practices whose efficacy was mislaid during the divorce of science and spirituality. ‘Alchemical Practice’ – the ritual arrangement of persons and symbols in the physical world to create a narrative dialogue that changes the conceptual and emotional world within us. ‘Self exploration’ – the quest to know oneself via a navigation of our emotional and historical experience of being.


The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed & Raft is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England


Surface Area Dance Theatre’s 10th Anniversary Celebration is fast approaching and as part of the evening, Vangeline founder of the New York Butoh Institute will perform the reimagining of Project Godie – Firstly performed at All Saint’s Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, on the 12 and 13 of August 2016.

“I am thrilled and honored to have the tremendous opportunity to collaborate with Surface Area Dance Theatre and return to Newcastle upon Tyne this year, in the spirit of cultural exchange and friendship between people. I am also grateful for this new opportunity to share the art form butoh with the community and support the creation of new works.” Vangeline.

Photo credit: Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts, NYC (January 2016) by Darial Sneed.