Skills Exchange Day 2

Aesthetic, translation and the detail of intention

Kimberley Harvey


Kimberley Harvey is a dance performer, teacher and choreographer working in contemporary inclusive practice. She is a regular dance artist for CandoCo Dance Company nationally and internationally and co-leads the weekly youth dance sessions for Cando2 at Trinity Laban. She recently toured with all female, inclusive performance company Moxie Brawl, as a dancer and teacher. Kimberley also has her own inclusive contemporary dance company, called Subtle Kraft Co. Their work is fuelled by curiosity. Last year, Subtle Kraft Co developed and toured 'Moments: Revisited' to unconventional performance spaces in the UK http://subtlekraftco.tumblr.com/aboutus


In her own words, Kimberley explains the work she shared this week and the intentions within her practice

Initially, I was a little apprehensive about my decision to use rep from my company’s, Subtle Kraft Co, piece ‘Moments: Revisited' as the basis for my creative session. But then I reminded myself that, actually, learning other dance company's repertory material has always been such a treat for me as a dancer - giving you the chance to ‘live it’ and experience the movement of the dancers in the piece.

Also, when teaching set material, I am very clear that I am not asking the dancers to replicate my movement; rather, I am asking them to translate the essence of each movement for their own body. This means that the embodied versions of movements identical in intention, may vary in terms of aesthetic. Therefore, the learning of this material is also can exercise in translation. 

In ‘Moments: Revisited', this trio material saw us all in different seated positions, but for the AEP workshop, the artists could be sitting/standing in any position they chose (as long as they were stable; with their upper body as free as possible; and all facing front).

Having learnt the material, I then asked the artists to get into trios:

  • Initially, to practice the phrase and help each other with learning and remembering the material.
  • Then to be able to perform the phrase in unison as a trio with as much precision as possible.
  • This involved each trio beginning to examine their own movement and make conscious collective choices on the nuances and specificities within the sequence in order to consolidate their unison. For me, this is when the question of ‘what is unison?’ appears... particularly in the inclusive setting, with multiple translations of the same movement intention, it is interesting to consider where we set our 'unison boundaries'.
  • Then I asked each trio to find their group’s maximum speed for performing the unison phrase.
  • At this point, I asked the dancers to ‘disrupt the other two people in your group (from doing the phrase) by being naughty’.

Allowing time for initial exploration of what it meant to be naughty and cheeky with each other felt really important. Thus, providing the opportunity for play and genuinely being able to surprise each other; finding moments of honest initiation and reaction in movement and body.

Then came the devising with the eventual aim of setting the material. The trio had to include several elements:

  1. They had to start in a horizontal line - close together - all facing the same direction.
  2. The group had to perform their fast version of the unison phrase once before beginning their ‘naughty, disruptive material'.
  3. Someone must always be doing part of the unison phrase. You can cut and paste material but you must be constantly moving.

Three of the most important elements of this ‘Moments: Revisited’ trio that I kept reinforcing to my fellow AEP Artists whilst they were making and setting were:

  • Listening to each other, staying open. You can smile at each other if you want to! (i.e. not counting yourselves in; eye contact; seamlessly moving between the unison phrase and their ‘choreographed chaos’)
  • Clarity of intention (cause and effect)
  • Be genuinely naughty/cheeky and allow yourself to enjoy it!

It was a pleasure to hear such laughter whilst the groups were choreographing their naughtiness!

In the spirit of ‘Moments: Revisited', when sharing their material with each other the performing group would silently and instinctively choose whereabouts in the studio they wanted to be; and in response, the audience would choose where they wanted to experience it from and how close they wanted to be.

Thank you for playing everyone!