Life in Lockdown: Theo Clinkard
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.
The artists have been asked to log their day-to-day activity during lockdown. Heres a look at Artist Theo Clinkard's week!
I'm a choreographer, designer, teacher and performer based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. My connection to Greenwich Dance is essentially as long as my career to date. Over the course of 24 years, this has included rehearsing and taking classes at Borough Hall as a young graduate, cutting my teeth teaching my very first professional morning classes, being invited to perform in various Greenwich Dance events over the years and, most significantly, being encouraged and supported in my early years as a dance maker about 10 years ago. I launched my company in 2012 and have since created Ordinary Courage, Chalk, Of Land & Tongue and This Bright Field for the group, touring works to Chile, Ireland, Switzerland, and Germany. My current works include The Elsewhen Series; a set of duet scores for gallery and museum spaces that I co-created and perform with my regular collaborator, Leah Marojević and a new group work, Century Project, a dance that will span 100 years.
Commissions include works for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba and Candoco Dance Company among others. I regularly lead intensives, workshops, residencies and classes internationally for professional companies, dance organisations and training institutions, including engagements in Chile, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Wales, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, United States, France, Spain, Cuba, Italy, Finland, Sweden and Norway. I'm an Associate Artist at Brighton Dome & Festival, Dance4, Hall for Cornwall and an Honorary Fellow at Plymouth University.
Welcome to my lockdown in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire.
Like many people I know, I must admit that I just couldn’t do anything productive or creative for the last few weeks. I’ve instead spent the best part of this lockdown, walking in the hills, scrolling memes, consuming too much food and news whilst not feeling very artistic. The day to day survival has been all consuming. That said, I’ve tried to see this as an enforced reflective time to consider how much of our identities are wrapped around our work and what kind of art do we need now? Feeling lucky to be living near nature, to have enough for now and to not be unwell.
I’ve just started work creating a 5mx5m carpet for my next dance work ‘Century Project’. I plan to launch this new project on 3rd October at Wainsgate Chapel, here in Hebden Bridge. I’ve been asking friends to donate their old t-shirts which I am weaving on my home made loom over the next few months. It feels good to have a creative focus after some weeks wondering around the house in a daze. “Century Project is a hopeful dance work that spans a century, launching in 2020 and completing beyond our lifetimes, in 2120. A hand made carpet becomes a site for a series of durational events, held every 5 years, that celebrate the knowledge and nature of the dancer.
An act of faith, whereby its continuation is entrusted to future generations of artists, this intimate yet epic work uses dance to raise multiple questions about time, the moving body, the environment and how to think long term in order to be better ancestors.
I finally got moving today and headed to this cliff top near our house. I’m a bit bored of my habitual ‘natural momentum’ dancing so tried to challenge that timing to find something almost artificial. To produce something in the time it doesn’t take. Setting something unnatural and forced against this backdrop felt kinda fun.
Getting out into nature each day has helped me find some balance and I’m very fortunate to have great local walks that lead directly from our house. I live up hill that is so unbearably steep that I want to heave but it’s helped me stay relatively fit! This lovely horse is nearby and we’re becoming quite friendly.
I’ve spent the best part of 42 years avoiding any kind of aerobic exercise (beyond leaping around to Beyoncé in my classes). However, I recently started the Joe Wicks ‘7 days of sweat challenge’. I managed to get through 6 days spread across 10 days and haven’t managed day 7, so here’s a pic of me looking at a yoga mat, feeling a touch guilty but mostly ok with it. Stay safe, stay home and only do the Joe Wicks workout when you really want to I say!
See you at the other end folks!