The Tandem Ballet R&D explored the potential of creating a dance performance on tandems by blind and partially sighted participants over several weeks in June & July 2012, culminating in a public sharing on Tuesday 10th July.
The research process used contemporary dance and post modern dance techniques as a starting point, from which we evolved a unique form, of movement vocabulary and theatrical imagery, for participants and tandems. We explored ideas around particicpants’ experiences of tandems/bicycles and cycling, for example, freedom, independence, fear and trust.
Central to the R&D was an exploration of the potential for an innovative and intriguing soundscape. Music, interviews and sound systems on the bikes were woven together to move sound around the space.
We also experimented with live and recorded audio description to play with new ways to create lyrical, spoken word imagery for the entire audience.
In the simple sequences and imagery that emerged over the weeks, were the glimpses of a world of archetypes echoing mythological legends and fairy tales. Dark, scary forests and pursuit by the unknown; a three headed serpent locked in the eternal battle of which direction to take; and a blind hero with a tandem, a tall, dark figure mirrored by a waif-like blond form, analogous to the parallel worlds of imagination and reality, the internal and external. These monsters and unknown landscapes contrasted sharply with the fluid, expansive motion and the freedom and companionship of riding a tandem.
A new show, Everyday Hero has emerged from the R&D, as an exploration of Joseph Cambell’s Hero’s Journey, imagined through the first, solo adventure of a person who has lost their sight.
Everyday Hero will be created in spring 2013, further info HERE.
We also aim to incorporate elements of the R&D into a routine as part of the Bicycle Ballet Mass Show.
The Tandem Ballet R&D is a collaboration between creative producer, Karen Poley, choreographer by Virginia Farman, sound designer Oliver Aylmer, audio describer Kirstin Smith, and the participants: Ade, Alex, Alice, Bob, Cristian, Ian, Harriet, Hilary, Judith, Odette & Peter.
As part of the South London Big Dance programme, led by Siobhan Davies Dance.