Working with Guildford Youth Company

Tomos writes a blog about his experience choreographing on Stopgap’s Youth Company…

 

Since September, I have had the opportunity to choreograph a new piece on the Guildford Youth Company, called the Magnetic March.
The group, at the end of term, had the chance to perform the piece at the Farnham Maltings as part of Stopgap’s Northern Lights dance platform. The group executed the dance to a very high level with a strong rendition of the hard work they had fully committed to since the beginning of term. In wake of this hard work, the group had the chance to perform Magnetic March again on Friday 7th of March as part of Surrey University’s Actual Size show.
This second performance allowed me to develop and challenge the group further; of course this does not come without its own difficulties. The want to hold onto previous movement and stick to what is known, having to redirect as some new participants joined the company, as well as some of the participants not being able to perform on the evening.
I always accept a challenge and this allowed me to let people shine more with their movement, demand bigger movement, play with elements of fluidity and also expand on the levels and dynamics of the movement that had been created. I was also able to enjoy the second process more as I had got to know the group. I understood the intricacy of certain patterns that emerged, as this was my first time choreographing on a mixed group with various abilities. Initially, my thoughts were to use a simple route and not push the movement to hard but with many weeks in sight and also an extended amount of time until a second performance, my boundaries had expanded and I was able to let loose on a very skilled and talented group of young dancers.

It has been a pleasure to partake in this groups exploration of movement and the hunger for more is palpable. I am really looking forward to another opportunity to do more with the group and keep learning from what they have to offer. A very enjoyable exchange!

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