Writing workshops at Dancebase led by writer Morven Crumlish. Participants responded to new dance and memories of dance with descriptive and evocative writing.
Following Postcard Reviews, Let Loose continued to support the groups’ evident writing talent. Working with Dancebase, participants created personal accounts and reflections on dance. Postcard Reviews raised questions from participants around responsibility for access and the level of involvement of artists. Let Loose started to explore this by focusing on one venue and experiencing new work as it was being developed.
One Foot and Then the Other
What I remember is the energy – the anticipation before a session, the buzz of the workshops, the freedom from constraints caused by our hearing loss (thanks Deloris!), the rigour of working to a deadline, the engrossing challenge of the evolving story, the wrench of ditching whole chunks of prose, the feeling of rightness when that fitting phrase emerges and the jigsaw is finally satisfyingly complete.
From the creative nest of Dancebase, Susan and Morven made us stretch our fledgling writer’s wings.
And now we’re going to get to work with artists developing inclusive solutions for text based contemporary dance. That has to be be massive WOW. More power to us all!
Example of writing from Let Loose
In my kitchen, the stage of charcoal surface and backdrop is bare now; memories of tulips remain.
Painted butterflies scattered over the clear glass of a tall, wide mouthed vase; a fountain of tulips held aloft – some blooms still upright, tight- lipped – others with slender necks bowing, bell of petals open, tongue of black stamens revealed.
A vast, glorious burst of jewel bright, velvety colours – so graceful; at their most beautiful, just before the end.
These flowers were gifts – three generous bunches – an armful of sympathy and loving kindness.
Throat tightens and tears well. I time travel – no great distance – to another room, hushed, twilight dim, the familiar old bookcase holding a different vase of tulips – red, purple, white – a dull gleam of leaves. They stand vigil: ‘guaranteed to last five days’.
Let Loose - artist's account
Writer Morven Crumlish discusses the development of Postcard Reviews to Let Loose:
The Postcards Review project uncovered and developed some real talent – the writers on the project acquired and honed skills of discussion, description and editing. By the end of the project, all the participants were turning in reviews which were stamped with their personalities, and which brought to life the experience of being a hard of hearing person in Edinburgh during the Festival.
We wanted to nurture the talent that we had found, and to move people on from review writing, but we wanted to keep the group focused and unified. We felt that Dancebase was an inspiring venue, and that the various aspects of dance – storytelling, choreography, costume, production – would give plenty of scope for different sorts of writing.
The group were torn away from their comfort zone of review writing, and into fiction, description, and memoir. The habit of writing and of thinking about writing became ingrained – stories grew, blossomed, and took over free time. As they should. The group truly became writers, their unique voices and talents triumphed over the tyranny of the blank page.
In the end, when their words made it to print, and we held the copy of our book in our hands, I think we all felt moved by our achievement: a collective effort which showed off our best work.
The amount of spoken word in contemporary dance was a surprise. As the work was in development, captions were not available and we often relied on scripts. This project has suggested a focus for development.
Working with a small group of individuals with a hearing impairment, Let Loose will explore the use of text in artworks, integrating it throughout the development process, not adding it at the end. Captions are usually put on the side of the stage, thought about at the end, the idea is to turn this around and use text throughout a collaborative process.
A series of Creative Labs will explore the work of selected artists and involve participants in developing ideas for a longer project. We are currently researching artists. The first workshop, led by artist Anthony Schrag, introduced collaborative art and encouraged us to be playful with text through surrealist games and 3D poetry.