News & Blogs

1 February 2021
Author: The Place

A celebration of Resolution! - Drew McOnie

In normal times, our theatre would be buzzing with artists right now, presenting fresh work and new ideas as we kick off the new year with our annual Resolution! festival. We miss the excitement of Resolution, and we miss giving early-career artists the opportunity to have our main stage, and use the festival as a springboard to launch their careers. To celebrate what Resolution means to us and to the dance community, we have asked former Resolution artists to take a trip down memory lane and tell us about their own Resolution experience.

 

Drew McOnie, Resolution 2009

What year did you participate in Resolution and how did you come to be in it?

I participated in Resolution! festival in 2009. It was the launch of my choreographic career, both as the Artistic Director of my own company and also as a freelancer. I am so grateful for that start and find myself recommending it to so many early career choreographers. I found out about it from fellow dancers with whom I was performing in Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company at the time.

Tell us a little bit about the piece you presented? What was it about? Where did the idea come from? Where were you in your professional development as an artist at that time?

I created a dance piece called ‘Be Mine’. It was performed on Valentine’s Day in 2009 and was a gentle and whimsical look at relationships in the big city set to a suite of some of Judy Garland’s best recordings. Its main objective was to entertain and to present a sugar rush of real life. Looking back at that time I realise its hopeful simplicity and warmth was quite at odds with the other more political or more shocking pieces of the season. Its job was to make normal people feel seen through dance, not a piece or choreographic desire to necessarily be remembered. However It was a creative process that I’ll never forget because it was so full of joy; a feeling that I have actively tried to recreate in every rehearsal room I have been in since.

Looking back, what do you remember about the experience? What did you take away?

The joy of being right at the start of it all. With nothing to lose. No one came to that auditorium with any expectation of what I, as a dance maker, ‘stood for’. I could disappoint no one but myself. It was very special and in many ways I miss that. I have in fact often wondered If I could get away with applying to Resolution again under a different name to try new things out. I remember not only feeling excited but also like I was part of a community. Choreographers rarely get to work with each other and being surrounded by so many likeminded individuals was thrilling.

What happened next? Where are you now in your career? Did any of the partnerships formed at Resolution last throughout your career?

The main relationships I took with me after creating Be Mine are with the dancers. Ebony Molina who appeared on the poster and in the piece is now the associate Artistic Director of my company, and Danny Collins who also appeared in the piece went on to be nominated for a National Dance Award for his portrayal of Jekyll in our company’s award-winning production of Jekyll Hyde. The company that was formed for Resolution is now a proud associate artist of The Old Vic Theatre in London and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. We have been making work for over 10 years on many different scales. Resolution also went on to launch my career in Musical Theatre by finding me my first agent that believed in me as a choreographer. I have since gone on to direct and choreograph musicals for the West End and on Broadway.

What would you wish all the young makers/dancers/writers/designers for the future?

Resolution was a hugely impactful experience for me and one I look back on with such gratitude and fondness. Coming from a theatre background I believed that The Place wouldn’t be interested in supporting me. How wrong I was. The Place welcomed me and supported me and my development in so many ways. Don’t assume they wont see your magic too if you operate outside what you think contemporary dance is. 

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