This week I have had the pleasure of rehearsing with my old housemate and dearest friend George Dean. George and I both trained at Leicester Polytechnic although we were different years. I thought she was immensely scary but had nowhere to live, so when George offered me a room in a house for £16 a week I had to face my fears and agree to move in with her. a beautiful friendship was born and 20 (odd) years later, despite living in separate countries we are still good mates, have children of the same ages and still sharing artistic and musical tastes. Our lives in different countries have taken strangely parallel paths.
It was a grand coincidence that George, currently living in Poland, is visiting Oxford for two weeks in the middle of the rehearsal period. We have shared rehearsal videos and notes and skyped galore up until now but there was/is something SPECIAL about having her in the room.
George is incredibly astute, she notices my insecurities in my ability as a dancer by looking at the angle of my back, she gets my intentions, my characters motivations and the points of humour by the dynamics of my moves – or by one sideways glance in her direction. George has been adding beautiful moments of thumb twiddling, stillness and breathy sharpness to the mixture.
I love creating my own work, but, once you get over the fear of having a one to one session with another performer / director (it’s more frightening than performing to 200 strangers) the relief of having somebody else sharing the responsibility is immense. The challenges that push one outside of ones comfort zone along with the gentle reassurance (“I’m sure that the audience will get that”) are some of what makes being a performer worthwhile. It’s not all about the buzz on the night.
We have two rehearsals left in which to shape the remainder of the ‘taster’ of Dead Man Dancing. Tomorrow we are hanging the “guy” from a coat hanger and seeing how we look side by side. For now it will be a brief encounter, yes this is only the beginning. After the amazing (I hope) performance in March I am left with the task of trying to unravel the funding systems and begging for space, free collaborators, the finding of further material and inspiration to turn this into a full length dance theatre piece. Or at least 30 minutes. I wonder how I can get George back from Poland or Amsterdam to help with that….