Letters - Damn Fine Dance

The creation of Letters was born from the first Lockdown of 2020.  As the director and choreographer of Damn Fine Dance I wanted to keep the connection going with my dancers. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, who was to know when the next time would come that we would work together again in person? The word Zoom was popping up in conversations. I was reluctant to find out what it was as the thought of going online was daunting. How can I keep the creativity alive? How could we do this differently?

It was important to me to connect on a personal level with each dancer so I decided I would write a handwritten letter to each of them. The letter contained several questions and a stamped envelope with the address of another member of the group. Their task was to write their answers and send them onto the next person. The idea behind this was firstly to connect and secondly to think creatively about their responses. From here we began creating movement responses filming ourselves and sending them on to one another through phones or email.

We began creating hand dances; close intimate shots that participants would film in a variety of different settings woodland, kitchens, bathrooms etc. This went further than the Damn Fine Dancers extended family members. Friends’ grandchildren and colleges began sending me their hand dances. This got me thinking about connections, dance being the connection between us all. We met on zoom in the end, brainstorming ideas, sharing letters from loved ones – past and present. Then finally we met in a studio in person and began devising.

Damn Fine Dance has been running for nearly 10 years and since setting it up I have found that most of the work I do centres around working with older adults. I aim to actively change the preconceptions of the older dancer. Dance careers can continue past the age of 30 and it can be enriching and empowering. The work I make and the workshops I teach for this age group do not patronise. Instead, I aim to present older dancers as equally vibrant, courageous and dance exuberant as any other company regardless of age or ability.  I work collaboratively with my dancers by giving them the tools to not only perform set choreography but to have the confidence to be creatively engaged throughout their own process.

Molly Wright

Book your place at HOST https://www.danceeast.co.uk/workshops/host-2022-lets-create/

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