Spiltmilk Dance

Spiltmilk Dance discuss their Creation Space residency

| Mon 20 Apr 2015

From Monday 23 February to Friday 6 March, Spiltmilk Dance joined us for a Creation Space residency. The company were undertaking research and development for a new performance piece, Blast From The Past, which will take audiences on a journey through the last 60+ years of British popular culture.

In the midst of their natiowide tour of Spiltmilk say Dance, we caught up with them to ask how Blast From The Past developed during their residency.

Which particular elements of Blast From The Past did you focus on during your residency?
We spent much of our residency choreographing like crazy! Previously we'd had to do a lot of sitting and planning, mapping the work out, talking about structures etc so we were delighted to have the chance to just get dancing.

We'd had a 2 month break from time in the studio so the residency came at the perfect time for us. We were itching to get working on ideas that had been bubbling away for a while, so when we finally got to artsdepot we were soon developing dances ranging from tap dancing with tooth brushes to choreographed Twister!

Were there any surprises? Did you make any new discoveries about the project?
A lovely surprise for us was how interested and supportive the artsdepot staff were. We were given some fantastic inspiration when listening to their reminiscing about the pop culture fads they have loved over the last few decades. Our favourite revelation came from a member of staff reminding us about Jane Fonda's aerobics revolution in the 80s. Immediately we were kicking ourselves for not thinking of her sooner and began researching in earnest. We took the challenge to use her famous home workout video as our daily warm up and - ouch! The woman is a machine! The result of our foray into all things Fonda is a dance for 1982 featuring her famous moves mashed up to the brilliant Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners - we love it!

Did you bring in any collaborators?
We were lucky enough to have two fabulous practitioners in the studio with us at different stages of our residency. Firstly, the brilliant Dance Artist, Jenna Hubbard, who has worked with us many times previously, came in the studio to help us explore some of our new choreographic ideas. She was a great presence in the studio, helping us interrogate ideas and offering challenges to help us look at the work from a new perspective, as she hadn't previously been involved in this new project. In particular, she helped us to think in a completely new way about how the participatory game show element of the show can be structured.

We also had a great day with our Dramaturg Natalie Ibu. Natalie has been working with us to help craft our ambitious ideas for the show into one digestible whole. Bringing together the pop culture fads, best selling songs and a game show extravaganza is big ask! We worked on our performance personas, teasing out aspects of our own characters that we could draw upon to build our game show host personalities. It's given us great food for thought for our next stage of development.

Did this residency enable you to do anything that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do?
One of the best things about the residency for us was the chance to work intensively over 2 weeks and feel almost like we were on a retreat! As we stayed in London throughout it meant we remained in a little Blast From The Past creative bubble with very few other distractions. It was a hugely productive time for us and has set us up extremely well for continuing making the work over the Summer.

What are your next steps for this project?
We have recently had the fantastic news that we were successful in securing Grants For The Arts funding to complete the development of Blast From The Past and then take it on tour, starting this Autumn. It's so exciting for us to know that all the ideas we began working on in the residency can now be fully realised. We will soon begin collaborating with our creative design team to begin bringing our plans to life and making our dreams of a glitzy game show set a reality. We're also working towards sharing some of the work at First Bite festival at mac in Birmingham on Sat 2 May and we're looking forward to the experience of putting it in front of an audience.

What else are Spiltmilk Dance working on at the moment?
Team Spiltmilk are busying away with fingers in quite a few pies at present! A key project for us that is soon to reach its climax is a Creative People and Places commission from Right Up Our Street in Doncaster. Over the past few months we have been working with the community of Bentley in Doncaster on a VE Day event celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day this year. It will have the vibe of a street party and involves a wide variety of community groups sharing performances, holding stalls, singing, dancing and all sorts. From the Army Cadets to The WI everyone is getting stuck in! We have also been commissioned to create a new work which will be premiered at the event in May. We are also still on tour nationally with our current work, Spiltmilk say Dance.

Twitter: @SpiltmilkDance


This residency was supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Read more about our Artist Residencies programme

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