Spiltmilk Dance performers on stage

Spiltmilk Dance begin their Creation Space residency

| Mon 23 Feb 2015

As they begin their Creation Space R&D residency, we caught up with Spiltmilk Dance to hear about what they'll be working on during the next two weeks.

Could you tell us about Spiltmilk Dance?
Hello! We are Spiltmilk Dance, and right now we are itching to get cracking on our two week residency at artsdepot! Bags are (almost) packed, trains are booked, our playlist is at the ready and brains are overflowing with ideas; we’re raring to go! 

By 'us' we mean Co-Directors Sarah and Adele. We've been working together since 2006 sticking a big fat ray of sunshine into the world of contemporary dance! As a company, we get very excited about popular culture and the things that unite people from different walks of life; the trends we follow, the food we eat, the songs we listen to and the dances we do on a night out.

With the goal of making contemporary dance that is relevant for all sorts of audiences, we have have made it our mission to make dance that is suitable for a wide range of spaces in the heart of communities such as nurseries, village halls and even car parks!

How would you describe the work you create?
An audience member described our work best, as "Dance, but not dance. Sort of like hiding vegetables in kids food."  This sums up perfectly how we repackage contemporary dance performance in a way that speaks to audiences that wouldn’t usually think it is for them. At the heart of all we do is the belief that dance can be engaging, relevant and ultimately entertaining for anyone, whether they be a life-long dance fanatic or a dancefloor phobic.

Our choreography is complex in form, but very accessible in content. The themes we use to drive our creative work are familiar and recognisable to anyone, but we put a new spin on them with our intricate and charming choreographic style.

A good example is the work we're currently touring. Spiltmilk say Dance is a celebration of social dance crazes that have swept dancefloors all over the world. In the first half of the show we reinvent these familiar dance favourites; think The YMCA but to Mozart, Disco dancing to Sinatra and The Twist on chairs. In the second half we lead a participatory social dance, accompanied by live music. All this, along with the ever popular addition of a fancy dress table piled high with glittery hats, giant glasses, multicoloured wigs and feather boas, makes for a great night out for audiences of all ages. Although we are a dance company, we're also not afraid to explore other art forms on stage. We choose to narrate our shows, and merge a script writing and choreographic process in our rehearsal room.

We are continuously striving to explore new avenues that can introduce more first-timers to dance and for them to leave a Spiltmilk Dance experience smiling, toe tapping and wanting more!

What will you be working on during your residency at artsdepot?
During our residency we'll be getting stuck into the development of our new show Blast From The Past

Blast From The Past invites audiences to join the company in a glitzy pop culture quiz show full of familiar rounds, brain teasers and challenges from iconic British TV game shows. The show will take audiences on a journey through the music, TV, fads and fashions that have shaped British popular culture over the last 60+ years. The performance will take the form of a short dance or ‘episode’ for each year since the recorded music charts began in 1952. Each episode is inspired by a key event or trend that impacted life in British living rooms that year and is accompanied by the top selling song from the year. Just like all our past work we plan for the new show to be fun, accessible and sometimes a bit silly. Think tea dancing with tea cups, Tupperware parties to Elvis and a choreographic love letter to Woolworths pick and mix sweets, with a hint of Bruce Forsyth, Family Fortunes and Blind Date for good measure!

Which elements of the project will you be developing during your residency?
We carried out some initial research and development for this project in Autumn 2014 which allowed us to thrash out the rough structure for this pretty ambitious piece of work. This process left us with lots of questions but one key thing we are grappling with is the most effective ways to bring the performance and participatory elements together. We want to make sure that the show as a whole feels digestible and not overwhelming for the audience, and at the same time the game show elements should draw audiences further into the experience and not feel tokenistic. During our time at artsdepot we'll be experimenting with structures, trying new ideas for both choreography and interactive game show shenanigans and fingers crossed sharing some of these experiments with some willing participants!

What the most useful thing to have with you in the rehearsal room?
Blast From The Past is driven by its musical accompaniment, with the top selling singles from each year, 1952 - 2015 working as the soundtrack that holds all the craziness and complexity of this work together! Our ipod dock and playlist with all the tracks on are going to be the two essentials for our explorations during our residency.

Twitter: @SpiltmilkDance

This residency is supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Read about our Artist Residencies programme here

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