Hand in Hand
Hand In Hand choreographed international D/deaf choreographer Chisato Minamimura and produced by Surface Area Dance Theatre. Presented at Dance City, in collaboration with visual artist Graham Patterson and musician Tom White. The finale of a week-long project, led by Chisato in partnership with twenty extraordinary D/deaf and hearing dancers, who were inspired to respond to Chisato’s unique creative practice.
Hand In Hand is supported by Arts Council England, Dance City, Surface Area Dance Theatre, Rory Studio, Moving Art Management and The Japan Foundation.
"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…". Disability Arts Online, 22 March 2019,
Rob, I really enjoyed working with deaf and hearing impaired volunteers. Because of my impairment, I would not usually be paired with a hearing impaired person for any task. The two impairments, mine and theirs, would usually magnify each other. So I really enjoyed the opportunity to work together.
I also enjoyed, and found fascinating, the technical stagecraft challenge of working together with someone who would be signing a story that I was speaking. Just finding ways for us to start, end and take the same time with the story required a lot of coordination, cooperation and experimentation as neither of us had attempted a similar task before. I can’t think of anywhere else where I could attempt this technical task.
I enjoyed working with both the hearing impaired volunteers and those other volunteers, like me, who have other impairments or conditions. It’s nice to be reminded that people with a variety of conditions or impairments can find a way to work together.
David, The diverse mix of participants varied from recent graduates to retired persons, those who are deaf and with other disabilities. This provided a rich source of creativity, energy and inspiration. I worked closely with several different small groups and drew from the experience of the others in the group. I found small groups made communication easier, and changes to movements were quicker and easier to implement. Chisato Minamimura brought humour and learning to the week. She guided me into a journey exploring all my senses. I experienced those individual senses being used by myself and others in the context of each section of work. Personally, I found the whole week's experience challenging in a good way. This was more mental than physical, whilst learning new skills.
Colleen, Chisato's skill at bringing together two communities (deaf and hearing) was beautiful. The first introductions to deaf awareness, introduction to each other and giving ourselves 'visual names' was cleverly and sensitively done. The hearing participants were not made to feel like they were being given rules to follow (which sometimes happens when deaf and hearing work together), but instead we ALL felt like we were being introduced as a TEAM and it set the tone for the whole week. What I learned from the week is that I count. I matter and I have a part to play in a group of people - I think I brought a creative spark, but I also allowed my co-volunteers to show their creativity too... and that Chisato invited me to perform in BSL was simply wonderful!
Kind Words... “It has been wonderful to connect with the work that Nicole Vivien Watson and Paul Miller are leading. Since the BA Performance programme was launched in 2015 as the first dedicated conservatoire training in the UK for deaf performers we have appreciated this
relationship and the opportunity it gives us to share knowledge and practice. We were delighted to be invited to the performance of ‘Where our Roots are Planted’ and to take part in a workshop with International artist Antoine Hunter. It is so important for our students to connect with deaf artists and to find out about their pathways into the industry and how they approach the work they are developing. We are incredibly grateful to Nicole and Paul and look forward to an ongoing relationship”.
Claire Lamont, Head of BA Performance in BSL & English
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Company Directors, Nicole Vivien Watson and Paul Miller receive support from Community Development Foundation to develop an action plan that will highlight the deficiency of Deaf access within the arts. Together, Nicole and Paul will consult with the Deaf community of the North East, to decide upon practical actions and make positive changes.Read More
Company Director, Nicole Vivien Watson has successfully completed a Level 4, British Sign Language course. ” Sincere thanks to my teacher Nathalie at CityLit – Covent Garden, for being so generous and open to talk about her experiences and Deaf Culture. Thanks also to Dancers Career Development and The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund for support…Read More
Over the past seven years, Nicole has activated collaborations with No Neck Blues Band, :zoviet*france: and others to impressive effect. She remembers a performance at Judson Memorial Church – NYC, Molly performing a solo Nicole choreographed, Mico and Dave Nuss accompanying live. Their choice of instruments were, a singing bowl and a rope encrusted with…Read More
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