Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Dancing to the Lyrical Rhythm of Sign Language

Miranda Betts: Dancer

I had a great meeting over with Miranda Betts in New Quay at her place last week.

You may remember an earlier blog when I went over to Miranda's for International Women's Day and ended up writing Women Build Fires?


It's certainly no surprise to me that New Quay would be calling me in this way. It is one of my most favourite places on the planet! I have been visiting there long before I moved to West Wales over 10 years ago. It is such a beautiful place that even the dolphins come to see it! Yes! DOLPHINS! Can you believe that! In a sleepy Quay in West Wales lies the watery home of a visiting sea life that reaches out to communicate with us.

My sister and I have quite often sat on the rocks waiting for them to come in, and they do, quite close too. When you go out on the little fishing boats, families of dolphins sometimes swim around and underneath, as inquisitive about us as we are about them! I wonder if they have Dolphin Days Out to go and see if they can find the Humans!


Anyway, our Miranda is going to be the tutor taking over LegaC Contemporary Dance Troop for Arts Care Gofal Celf in The Summer.

Left: Angharrad Dance Tutor. Centre Laura: Dance Co-ordinator. Left: David Hardy Marketing & Communications Manager at The National Botanic Garden of Wales.
Celtic Women CD & Book Launch Dance Rehearsals 2011

Laura Hackett is the Dance Co-ordinator of Arts Care Gofal Celf. She is an AMAZING person. Full of energy and enthusiam, vision and is not afraid to push boundaries to explore her art form through collaboration and creative experimentation. I LOVE working with her. She is a bundle of joy! Always smiling. Beautiful, good fun, hard working, passionate and a wondeful dancer. We have worked together collaborating on community projects and it is she that has committed the dance troop to join me for Fusion Inspire as part of their existing program. I am sooooooooooooooo excited about it that I can barely type the words quick enough!

Crymrch Youth Dance Troop @ Celtic Women Rehearsals

First off, the dance troop will be meeting me for a session at St.David's in June to film a street piece with an actor. They are actually elsewhere that morning rehearsing for the Cultural Olympiad so when they get to me they will be wearing Gargoyle costumes! how utterly mind-blowingly cool is that!

The second dance piece will be in July, when Miranda is running LegaC facilitating Contact Improvisation. So we met up in New Quay to discuss how this would work in terms of Fusion Inspire at Arthur's Stone.

As an aside: The third dance piece will be with a Community Dance Group in October who will come to Morfa Isaf with me to Mandy's Private Beach to film the Mermaid Tales piece, composed from the rhythm of sign language and the dancers will base their choreography on the hand movements of signing the lyrics. So that the music and the dance follows the sign language as a lead. (See earlier blog for full details)

SO ... the 2nd piece with Miranda ...

We are going to go to Arthur's Stone in the Gower. This is where Arthur reportedly withdrew his famous sword, but there are other legends about the stone that have trickled through time til today. It is said that if you crawl around the rock 3 times, your lover will marry you ... or another folk story is that if women take cake to the rock, their lover will stay with them forever.

Taking these stories into consideration, I quite like the idea of turning this on it's head, and having women coming back for their cake! I expect you feel the clichés oozing out of that piece! You can't have your cake and eat it?? WHY NOT! :)

With such high divorce rates and so many people not staying in long term relationships, I can imagine all these women through the ages coming back to the stone to get their money/cake back!

Here is a link to find out more about
Arthur's Stone Maen Ceti

Arthur's Stone / Maen Ceti

I would like this dance piece as well as Mermaid Tales to be based on sign language and so Maggie Hampton and I will be filming her hands signing the lyrics that make up the base line to the Women Build Fires song. This feels so right because off course, the lyrics were written at Miranda's place so they travel with her to the next piece via sign language and then into dance. Also, the lyrics are like a shoping list of elements including rock and stone, so this fits well with the setting of Arthur's stone and The Gower generally.

I will then write a new song based on the rhythm of this piece about the idea of returning the cake.

I have a few ideas about the film up at Arthur's Stone and have contacted a Drum Workshop Facilitator that I met during my Ukulele and Song Writing Course.

Delivered in partnership between myself and Community Music Wales, Funded by WCVA and accredited via Agored Cymru, kindly supported by The National Botanic Garden of Wales, I have set up 2 Ukulele and Song Wirting Courses this year at The Great Glasshouse for those who are unemployed and/or low income.

Here is a link to a little film showing the Performance/Sharing Day of the Course

One of the women that came to the course in March, runs a percussion workshop with people who have learning disabilities in Swansea. I would love to take the signed piece to them for their interpretation. I think it takes the inclusion element to another level. The group would be my consultant, empowered to give thier own interpretation of the rhythm of sign language, and then I will compose the music and song around their consultation.

I have emailed the facilitator but haven't heard back from her just yet,  so fingers crossed she and her group will be interested and want to take part.

I have arranged with Miranda to go and scope Arthur's Stone later in April and I'm hoping the percussion group in Swansea will be up for meeting us there to have a chat about it. If not .. it wasn't meant to be, but I have put it out there :)

Just as I finished writing this, I went to facebook and the drum workshop facilitator who I can now name as Patricia Mc Kenna had responded and she would love to ask her groups if they are interested. I'm so excited! Will let you know how the meeting goes later on in April :) Beautiful things happening ... synergie!

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