201 Dance: a group of performers, some kneeling, some reaching out, some hugging in diffuse stage lighting

Catching up with 201 Dance Company

| Wed 23 Jan 2019

201 Dance Company have been working away in our Creation Space for just over a week, researching a new show in their R&D residency from Mon 14 - Fri 25 Jan. We had a cuppa with choreographer and Artistic Director Andrea Walker, finding out more about 201's plans, work and love for dogs.

Can you tell us a bit about 201 Dance Company?

201's ethos centres around creating challenging dance-theatre that crosses urban and contemporary genres. Since starting in 2014 we've created two full-length productions: Smother - which focused on a relationship between two young gay men - and Skin -  the story of a transgender boy and his relationship with his mother. Both shows have toured nationally and internationally, and have brought to the forefront topics that we feel are still under-represented in the urban dance world. We are driven to tell stories our audiences can relate to, and create characters they can feel a deep emotional connection with.

How would you describe the work that you create?

Before being a choreographer my background was in film production, so film is an incredible source of inspiration to me. With my work I aim for the audience to forget they're watching a dance show, and rather fall in love with the story and characters we've created, even if there's not a single word spoken on stage. With Skin and Smother we've established a track-record of creating very emotional experiences for our audiences. You can definitely expect a few tears when watching a 201 show.

What are you working on during your residency at artsdepot?

The residency has enabled us to dive into the initial stages of a brand-new full-length production, one that will be aimed at families and that also won't exclude the audiences we've build with Smother and Skin. We can't reveal too much yet... I can say it is a big passion project I've been dreaming to bring to life for some time, and you can definitely expect another emotional rollercoaster!

What elements of the project are you developing while you’re here?

We're developing new movement and have initial conversations with projectionists, lighting and set designers. The project is very ambitious and the residency is an invaluable opportunity for us to try some of our "more out there" ideas without any pressure. We're having a fantastic time!

What’s the most useful thing to have with you in the rehearsal space?

Coffee. And sometimes a dog. Doesn't have to be my dog, any dog. I feel coffee and dogs make for the perfect rehearsal environment, both should be mandatory everywhere.

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