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.
David (Hand in Hand performer)
I feel really glad to have attended the week. I think with all that has been COVID it felt especially good to be able to spend a week not only in a real theatre and working dance venue, but mainly to also be with other people. So nice to be in a welcoming place surrounded by passionate people curious about learning and so generous with their time and talent and that was true for staff and participants I thought. So thank you all for making that happen. I loved meeting Chris and having the opportunity to learn more about his work and style and passion. Ashling too worked well together. I don’t know what it is like for the others, but it’s so rare I get to meet artists and work with them so closely so I loved that. Also more simply to meet other people who might not be dance artists but are artists or professionals in other areas or just people who might not describe themselves as any of those things but who I am really glad I got to meet. I think the project is important on so many different levels and I think it’s really rare for projects like this to exist- ones that are so inclusive and not only welcome everyone but actively support everyone in being there, contributing and taking something meaningful away with them. I wish more projects were so proactive in terms of making the industry and the wonderful diversity of experiences or offers more genuinely accessible.
From Jem, 16 of July 2021, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" Dance City, Newcastle.
I applied to be part of the project as a way of shaking myself out of the physical and mental slump I had fallen into thanks to the pandemic and various lockdowns. I had little in the way of dance or performance experience and really wasn’t too sure what to expect or if I had perhaps bitten off more than I could chew. However, overriding all that; the thing I felt most was joy at being part of group, a wonderfully supportive team who always provided encouragement and boosted me in so many ways each day. Both Chris and Ashling are amazing teachers and wonderful human beings, so kind and caring towards us all. Watching Chris work and create this piece was a real privilege. Since the project ended, I feel as though I have regained a sense of confidence and connection with the outside world. I feel great pride in what I achieved as an individual and what we created as a team. Thank you all for allowing me to be part of something so special.
From Gill, 16 of July 2021, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" Dance City, Newcastle.