East African project - with Christian

Following on from Lucy's blog about creating via Whatsapp, here's Christian's view on the 5 day project working with the 2 dancers from Kenya...

Stopgap had a great opportunity to spend 5 days with Joseph and Sylvester of Pamoja Dance from Kenya. Though we only had a short time together, we had so much opportunity to share our practices and learn new skills. I felt like we already knew each other even though we hadn't met until our time working together because we had been chatting, exchanging pictures, videos, sounds and ideas through Whatsapp for several weeks beforehand.

This was a brilliant way to start the project; getting an insight into how each other moves, what we like to do, taking inspiration from one another to develop ideas for when we would finally meet. It was interesting to take movement from each other, form it on our own bodies to then re teach it to each other when we were actually in the same studio.

One thing I found particularly valuable from the process is learning the power of opening the chest. Joseph, Sylvester and Nadenh are very broad and they allow this to come through in their dancing; I must work on making myself even bigger and finding a greater sense of openness and freedom in the chest.

A fond memory I have of this week was when we spent time after lunch sharing stories from our past travelling experiences. It was incredible to just sit and listen to all these amazing stories; it could have lasted for hours but as ever, time came around to get moving again very quickly.

A challenge of the process was working with such a tight time frame to create a piece of work ready to be shared and juggling material around my head is always a tough one but a challenge I love to accept. The adaptation to each other's working styles needed to be swift, as Sylvester says 'In Kenya we move slow, here you move fast'. Though we needed to be incredibly switched on from the get go, I feel that as ever, patience, willingness and trust in the process is all you need for it to be a success.

It was a privilege to spend this week with my colleagues (old and new) and I very much look forward to having more creative time together.

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