News & Blogs

9 October 2020
Author: Symoné

Making Solo Work is a Meditation - Choreodome 2020 artist Symoné tells us about her residency

When I spend time in the studio, I like to make it feel like a temporary home, a space where I'm so comfortable I will be vulnerable. Developing new work and training skills solo is difficult. However, with the unanticipated disruption of this year, I had plenty of time to plan for my Choreodome 2020 residency, making my time in the studio a meditative, intensive, and sweaty 80 hour experience.

As a multidisciplinary circus and performance artist, I have a lot of props and skills to upkeep. So, my residency time was focused on developing a few of those skills; high heel roller skating, hula hooping, and voguing. I use these skills in other people's shows, but my time at The Place was specifically spent on developing my show, UTOPIAN (t&c’s apply). A queer live art and circus show where I discuss the abuse of power roles, cults, and the underground party culture. These themes weren’t chosen out of fascination, they’re related to experiences in my life that immensely changed me enough to want to talk about them. For the thematic relevance, I recreated the studio space into a meditative sanctuary and club-like space. To create in an environment that reflected the content I was creating helped keep my creative juices flowing throughout my residency. Incense, a blacked out studio with fluorescent lights, and voguing music helped my imagination while choreographing and envisioning the world of UTOPIAN.

How I make work reflects how I entered into the performance industry; organically, with instinct, and mostly solo. I trained in an untraditional format, without a degree. I entered into the performance world via clubs and underground events. When I became more serious about it, I had various mentors and teachers to teach me skills, but ultimately I am self taught. I love to figure things out on my own and create new combinations of skills, like roller skating combined with hula hooping.

I would describe the way I make work as a balance of both meditative and hectic. In the studio this month, I had my vital props; high heel roller skates, normal skates, yoga mat, 10 hula hoops, a carefully selected playlist, a camera, and a lot of paper for note taking. I had occasional visits from my two collaborators, Louisa Robbin (Live Artist and Dramaturg) and Yami Löfvenberg (from Hot Brown Honeys) who - at a safe distance - supported dramaturgic and movement direction. When I was alone, I spent my time directing and devising myself, asking myself questions repeatedly until I found an answer I felt settled with for the time being. This is how I love to make work; asking questions, movement work, and writing, over and over again. It took me about four years of my solo career to feel as confident as I am now entering a studio alone for an extended period. I’ve realised training yourself and making art alone requires a certain amount of self-awareness and assurance that I believe I both have and am learning to have.

My days were mostly spent focused on UTOPIAN with this repetitive routine of asking and moving, but occasionally I spent time developing my skills. I also spent my time secretly training for two Guinness World Records which I'm attempting at The Place this autumn. I will be sharing more news on this attempt through ​my Instagram page here.

I never left the studio feeling like I’ve completed everything I intended, but I always left the room feeling satisfied. Leaving on a good note was imperative, even if it meant silly lip syncing or freestyle dancing just to let go of all the tension from the day. I have to remind myself one of the reasons I became an artist was my love for playfulness. My favourite book to bring in the studio is Jonathan Burrows’s The Choreographer's Handbook. While I spent moments in the studio physically and mentally stressed, I had Burrow’s quote in the back of my head like a mantra, "It's just a stupid dance". This grounded me.

Symoné is a multidisciplinary circus artist and performance artist

​Instagram ​- ​Twitter ​- ​Facebook

Tags

#lovetheatre(1), 2019(1), A Festival of Korean Dance(1), adult dance classes(2), Akademi(1), analytics(1), Anthony van Laast(1), Artistic Director(1), artists(1), Arts Council(1), Auditions(1), Awards(2), backstage(1), ballet(1), Ben Duke(1), benefits of yoga(1), Bloomberg(1), Bloomsbury(1), Border Tales(1), box office(1), Camden(1), CAT(4), CDD(1), Central Saint Martins(1), Channel Rose(1), Chief Executive(1), circus(1), Clare Connor(2), Classes and Courses(1), climate change(1), collaboration(1), Collaborations(1), Comma(1), Conservatoire for Dance and Drama(1), Contemporary Dance(6), Contemporary Dance; Rosemary Butcher(1), costume(3), Crying Out Loud(1), culture and arts(1), currency(1), CYD(2), dance(15), dance class(1), dance for adults(2), Dance Helathcare(1), dance writing(2), dancer(1), design(1), digital(1), Donald Hutera(1), double bill(1), Eddie Nixon(1), EDge(6), EDge2014(1), EDgeDC14(1), edinburgh(1), education(5), Eleesha Drennan(1), Elixir Festival(1), Emma Fryer(3), Europe(2), exhibition(1), Family(2), festival(3), film(2), Free(1), fringe(1), Guildhall School of Music and Drama(1), Health(2), Igor and Moreno(1), in and around(1), James Cousins(1), juliet fisher(1), Kenneth Tharp(1), Kim Hutt(1), Korean Dance(1), LC3(3), LCDS(12), LCDS alumni(1), LCDT(2), Lea Anderson(3), Lewis Cooke(1), Liam Riddick(1), London Contemporary Dance School(5), Lost dog(1), Luca Silvestrini(1), Lyn Gardner(1), MA Screendance(1), Nathan Goodman(1), National Dance Awards(2), new shoots(1), new year's honours(1), Nigel Charnock(1), Olivier Awards(1), One Dance UK(2), One Dance UK awards(2), One Dance Uk Awards 2018(1), Opportunity(1), performance(6), performance company(2), Planet Dance(2), Policy(1), postgraduate(2), production manager(1), Q&A(1), RADC(2), refresh(1), Res2014(1), Res2015(28), Res2016(3), Res2017(24), Res2018(27), Resolution(3), Resolution Review(35), Resolution Review!(51), resolution!(2), Resolution! 25th Anniversary(1), Resolution! Review(17), Richard Alston(5), Richard Alston Dance Company(1), Richard Alston Dance Company; BBC Young Dancer; An Italian in Madrid;Place Prize; Hofesh Shechter; CAT; Centres for Advanced Training; Kathak; contemporary(1), Richard Alston; Richard Alston Dance Company(1), Robert Cohan(1), Robin Howard(1), Robin Howard Dance Theatre(1), Rosie Neave(1), Sandy Powell(3), Scatter(1), Screendance(1), Seeta Patel(1), Shift(1), Shuffle(1), Simon Vincenzi(3), Siobhan Davies(1), Southbank(1), Spektrix Conference(1), Spring 15(1), Spring Loaded(2), stage manager(1), Startin' Point(1), Startin' Point Commission(1), technician(1), The Cholmondeleys(3), The Featherstonehaughs(3), the place(12), Theatre(5), tour(2), trailblazerthursday; blog(1), Training(1), users(1), veronica Lewis(1), Victoria and Albert Museum(3), website(1), what's on(1), Wimbledon College of Arts(1), Work Place(8), workshops(1), yoga for dancers(1), Young people(3), Youth dance(3)

In this section: