The birds and Laurel and Hardy

Work Experience: Naomi's Final Blog

Today’s schedule was a little different to the past four days. As it was Lea Anderson’s last day working with the dancers at the Dance House, NDCWales had a sharing where the dancers presented a collection of pieces they had previously worked on during the course of the week. Lea also took part in this sharing by introducing each piece and explaining the concepts behind them.

Firstly, the dancers showed the piece of work which they developed on the first day of Laboratori. The inspiration behind this piece was from The Birds which is a film by Alfred Hitchcock from 1963. Lea cut the film and gave each dancer a short clip to copy. She made the brief very specific by telling the dancers they could only be humans or birds and they had to copy exactly what they saw with incredibly accurate detail, whether this be the placement of a thumb or the zooming in of the frame. This posed the dancers with some challenges because in one clip, there were no humans or birds, just a hole in the attic roof. Therefore, the dancers had to use their imagination to suggest the presence of a hole in the roof to the audience without acting it out. It was brilliant to be able to watch how the dancers attended to this task with such enthusiasm, making sure their work corresponded exactly to the brief. The end result was extremely effective because as an audience member, I could see the incredible attention to detail implemented in the piece. 

Some of the dancers then went on to perform their dances which they created on Wednesday. The piece was inspired by a dance performed by the comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy from the film Way Out West in 1937. Lea asked the dancers again to copy the movements exactly with much attention to detail. Once they had perfected the comical dance, Lea gave the dancers some images of Hannah Hoch’s artwork from the same time period as Laurel and Hardy which they had to use and integrate into their Laurel and Hardy duets. I thought it would be challenging to merge the bold concepts encompassed in Hannah’s artwork with the comical dance but the end result was extremely compelling because I could see how each image had been layered on top of Laurel and Hardy’s dance, producing fabulous effect.

The final piece shown in the sharing was inspired by the artwork of a person who cut out pictures of children from packaging and stuck them to a landscape background. Lea gave the dancers the task of adopting the positions of a child each and asking them to stand in the same formation seen in the image. Once the dancers were in their positions, some were given the opportunity to replace another ‘child’s’ position. Adding moving elements to the piece, I felt really brought the image to life. Once some of the dancers had replaced other ‘children’, Lea then gave them the chance to add movement to their previously static positions. It felt like the personality of each child really shone through, inviting the audience to connect to each character. Overall, this was highly effective to see the image come life and I believed the dancers took on the roles of the children in the image superbly.

The sharing was a great way to end my week at NDCWales as it gave me the opportunity to reflect upon what I had observed throughout the course of my time here. I’ve had an amazing time at the Dance House watching the dance classes, observing the way in which Lea inspires the dancers and learning how pieces develop. I can’t wait to join NDCWales again at the start of September as a member of their Associate programme to continue my training which will help me to hopefully become a contemporary dancer just like those at NDCWales. I can’t thank them enough for providing me with such an amazing opportunity, spending a week with a fantastic company.


Read Naomi's previous blogs here