Life in Lockdown: Cherilyn Albert Prt 1
Life in Lockdown is a blog series initiated by Greenwich Dance which features community and professional arists close to the organisation sharing how they are staying creative during these isolating times.
Cherilyn Albert is a London based dance artist that has trained in several dance forms from the age of three. She graduated from Middlesex University with a 1st class honors in Dance Studies (Choreography) in 2014. It is from there she went on to set up her own dance company Instigate Unknown (IU). Instigate Unknown is a dance company which draws on both hip-hop and contemporary dance forms with a great interest into creating work with props. Cherilyn is currently undergoing in-depth RnD with IU. They have been working on their methodology, 'Problematic Props', which looks at exploring objects and using them in an unconventional way to inspire and create movement.
Aside from her work as a choreographer, Cherilyn is also devoted to teaching dance to young people across London and is part of the NRgDance creative team at Greenwich Dance!
Today has heavily revolved around documenting. Even as I write these words now, I am about to document my day.
I can. I will. End of.
The words on my diary which I use to make notes for my dance company, Instigate Unknown. Today I was planning our documentary to be made in July and released in August. Being a choreographer in lockdown felt daunting at first but then I thought of all the things that I could still do and things that I couldn’t do before but now can do. I plan my days and weeks with ideas that excite me and tell myself I will do this to the best of my ability. The days and weeks roll by and sometimes I complete my tasks and sometimes I don’t. End of. I have been teaching myself, in this time, to not dwell on setbacks. To accept them and think if what I wanted to do is still relevant and important to me. If it is, then I write it down again and think to myself I can. I will. End of.
I have been watching the NBA Chicago Bulls Documentary 'The Last Dance'. The series reveals how disciplined and determined Michael Jordan is in everything he does. I am not a massive follower of basketball but I have been drawn in by the backstories. It has been very interesting to learn about all the managers and coaches roles and how basketball players are drafted, overall seeing how the NBA operates as a business. It led me to think about Instigate Unknown and how we operate and how we have been navigating training at home. I would like to think that we have been doing well considering we have new company dancers who have only danced together at the audition in March. I would like to give others an insight into how an emerging dance company might navigate, not only trying to learn the movement language of the company and get their work seen, but also to do this whilst spread out across England only communicating via zoom and WhatsApp.
Dance artists documenting their work feels very important to me. With our live work we just have fleeting moments on stage, in the studio, in the classroom. I believe we exchange and receive so much power, energy and knowledge that can only ever be felt in the very moment that it’s happened. So by documenting with pictures, videos, writing or voice notes, we’re giving ourselves a better chance to realise and celebrate our growth. With this documentation we can be understood and appreciated by a wider audience and we can all at least attempt to relieve, reimagine and recreate all the great things that we as dancers have created in the past.
Today has been a day of planning:
Remote working has sprung up the opportunity for many artists, such as myself, to give attention to and strengthen other aspects of our practice. This has been great for me in developing my teaching skills and getting on top of my responsibilities as an Artistic Director to @instigateunknown.
Here is a snippet of a draft video for my company’s documentary which will be focusing on how we have used this time in isolation positively. I am going to present this to my dancers at the weekend for a feedback and planning session. I am also sharing with you a more basic and animated version of what my personal diary looks like. As a person who has spent most of my time in lockdown indoors and alone, planning my days and keeping a track of my mental health has been extremely important. And yes, B99 stands for Brooklyn Nine-nine! Scheduling in rest and entertainment is just as important! : )