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National Youth Dance Company

Archive for April, 2016

Company Blog: John

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

During the second residency the focus shifted from creating a bond as a company to working towards the exhilarating premiere at Sadler’s Wells in April; it’s unbelievably exciting!

The way we’re working with Michael is unlike any choreographer I’ve worked with before, the way we create work with him is honestly and truly influenced directly by every member of the company; it feels so personal! All of the phrases we work on, that Michael, Rachel and James teach us are inspired by our improvisation from the previous residency. It’s such a unique way of working as not only are we a close knit company in regards to the way we dance and work together in and out of the studio but we are all connected through the work!

It’s a wonderful feeling dancing with what have now become such good friends and thinking “This is Molly’s section, okay how do I embody Molly?” or “Lucia’s is coming up, I need to be calm and beautifully precise!” Or “I remember when Chad first did this in improvisation, it was amazing!” for example. That connection with every member of the company and as a result every step, every phrase, every moment within the piece is completely unique and a big change to anything I’ve ever done before; a welcome change at that, it’s beautiful.

There’s something so incredible about NYDC as you’re only together with the artists and other company members for 4 weeks in total before the premiere however it feels like a lifetime; in the best possible way! You feel like you’ve been working with and you have known the company for years, you become so connected with everyone, know exactly how everyone moves and it’s wonderful! You learn so much from the artists that you’d only think you could learn from working with them for months, however at the end of the second residency I’ve already learnt an unreal amount and been inspired over and over again!

With the next residency approaching fast the feeling of anticipation and excitement is indescribable! Bring on the premiere!

Company Blog: Bar

Monday, April 4th, 2016

The second residency was as amazing as the first, but it was a very different experience. It was more focused on creating the piece. Therefore, we had to knuckle down, work hard and create.

During the build up to the second residency, I really tried to envisage our piece and what it would become, however, I had no idea what Michael was imagining and what he had planned. I discovered why I felt that way, when Michael said ‘You all have no idea what the piece is going to look like, I’ll tell you a secret, neither do I’. I thought this was fabulous, as it meant we could all experiment together and create the piece as a company. It was really fascinating to watch Michael explore every moment within the space, bit by bit helping me to understand the piece’s intention.

Every day we would create new material, but it didn’t seem much, but by the end of the week we had created a full fifty-minute piece. As timing is a big factor in our piece, it was difficult to process the timing for each individual section. However, because there are so many of us, it is easy to feel each other’s rhythm and follow it together. This is why I think this process is so special. I feel one would not find this experience anywhere else especially at this age. Everyone is so dedicated and accepting of each other’s style and feeling that we all support each other. It is so different to any other creative process I have ever experienced, as Michael has used us and our individuality to make this piece, while bringing us all together.

Company Blog: Jasmine

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

In-Nocentes.
In-Nocentes.
In-Nocentes.

The babbling gossip of our title piece whirled around my head for the painful gap of fourteen weeks away from the company. I dreamt often of NYDC during my time away, reliving memories and reimagining the buzz of the company all being in the same room again and missing the energy transferring from one mind to the other.

Looking back in hindsight, the fourteen weeks between October and February passed very quickly, however, it seems like this residency passed even quicker.

One thing I loved about the week was the morning routine. Every morning, at 8am, we went down to the studio and did roughly an hour and a half of yoga. Michael spoke often of the importance of breathing and the “soft inner focus” he wanted all of us to adopt in our dancing. The warm silence in studio really geared us up the upcoming day.

Another thing I loved was watching the piece progress. I remember everyone on the third day saying “I can’t believe how much we have done in just three days” and the excitement of what the next day would bring.

I love the movement Michael, Rachel and James have created, mainly because it is completely out of my comfort zone. My performance experience before NYDC consisted of doing musicals: singing, dancing and acting where my focus has always mainly been out to the audience. Michael’s way of working however, takes the approach where the focus is very much softer and more internal. He helped us all really feel the music and to take our time so that the movement is natural and “human”.

One evening, one of our “dancer’s toolbox” sessions was taken by Robby, a professional drummer. That actually for me, stole the best toolbox of the week! We learnt all kinds of rhythms and skills to do with drumming. After the workshop, instead of going back to our rooms, we all grabbed an instrument and started dancing.

It is spontaneous moments like this in the residencies that I think are the most precious, where nothing is planned and you share and experience something beautiful.

Now begins the countdown towards the premiere…and I have never felt so excited in all my life.