This summer, Greenwich Dance will be celebrating love in all its forms with From Greenwich with Love a new work by award-winning choreographer and Rendez-Vous dance artistic director Mathieu Geffré.
From Greenwich with Love will include a series of love duets based on real Greenwich based love stories told by the community and performed by six amazing professional dancers.
Meet Marla, one of the cast members, where she shares all things love and life with us here at Greenwich Dance.
From Marla with Love
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive – Dalai Lama
Love arrives, and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure, ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls. – Maya Angelou
What does love mean to you?
This made me realise I’ve never really thought about what it means to me, only really how it feels, how I’ve experienced it, or seen others’ expressions of it. I think its meaning can fluctuate in different contexts depending on the type of love, which sadly in the English language, I don’t feel like we have the words to encompass these variations of what it means to love. To me, love is something pure and beautiful, connection seeking, and through the intense relationships it often inspires, it can either transcend joy and compassion, or be responsible for a great deal of pain and loss. Love to me means both the peaceful and the euphoric, belonging and loneliness, power and fragility. Something I both fear and long for. It means being vulnerable, often impulsive, confused, and many other unnerving things. I don’t think I can truly comprehend love, and I think as flawed humans, which we all are, perhaps a desire to hold on to it, to understand it, feel it, express it, can sometimes be what can lead to the pain and loss. I think I feel more comfortable in the love I hold for values and ideologies, because I don’t fear I will lose them in the way we can lose people.
Whats your favourite love song?
It definitely changes, but at the moment I would say either Better Together by Jack Johnson, or Iris by the Goo Goo dolls.
What/Who was your first love?
Outside of family and probably also being outdoors I think I always had a love for having meaningful connections, and creative expression. I think my family would argue that my first love was to question things quite a lot…
What movie title best describes your life/love life?
Dog or Cat person?
I think I’d have to say both… but if I had a pet, I’d imagine having a dog, although I still love cats
When did you encounter dance as a practice? Was it love at first sight?
I loved movement and learning new things and trying new experiences, but it was definitely not love at first sight with dance as a practice. I started ballet and tap classes at my local dance school when I was little. I loved tap because I was drawn to rhythms, but I can’t say I enjoyed ballet so much. My love in first sight moment was the first time I saw a contemporary dance performance – it completely transformed my relationship to movement and the possibilities for what that could be, and I think that moment had a lasting impact.
Sun/Moon/Rising? (Zodiac placements…if you know?)
My sun is in cancer, moon is in Gemini, rising is in Sagittarius
How different was your life one year ago?
In many ways it feels drastically different, although certain things like relationships with friends and family feel fairly the same. The differences lie in the work and volunteer work I’m doing, the time I have dedicated to things, and I also think greater self-awareness and clarity in ways I want to action upon the things I believe are most important. I think my mental health is in a better place than this time last year, I think my perspectives have shifted as a result of things I have learned, introspective practices and also new experiences that have allowed space for this. However, I do also feel like my perspective on this fluctuates day by day. I have new people in my life, new knowledge, and the possibility to engage in community action projects in my local area, which has felt very special. Also, the ability to reconnect with people in person has been beautiful, and also probably catalysed a realisation of what has changed in my life over this year.
Whats the first thing you did when the restrictions lifted that you couldn’t do before?
Going to an independent coffee shop just to sit and read for hours, taking in the quiet buzz atmosphere, and a little bit of people watching before meeting friends I had not seen for a long while. I also felt very lucky to be able to be back in a studio with other people for a dance project which felt so special.
What does your name mean?
I actually had little idea, but according to thinkbabynames.com is means ‘star of the sea’, and according to Wikipedia is has been used as a form of unit measurement, but in terms of name meaning I’m actually not sure.
Did you find love (from a distance) during the pandemic?
Perhaps not for a specific person, I definitely found love within communities who share common values and are advocating for the positive changes we need to create collectively in the world. It reaffirmed my love for human connections make in person that cannot be experienced digitally, and strengthened my confidence in and love for workshop facilitating and engaging in really meaningful conversations. I didn’t necessarily find but definitely reaffirmed my love for non-digital spaces, for being outside, and for more acting more instinctually. Also, if it is possible, I also fell more in love with food and cooking/baking.
Do you think once you love someone you will ALWAYS love them, or do you think love can fade?
I don’t think you will always love someone in the same way you always have, I think it kind of morphs into a different form of love. I think sometimes your love for the memories with a person can make it feel as though you still love them with the same intensity as before. However, when love fades to the point you feel no love, I may question if I ever really loved that person at all or just loved the idea of what it could have been, I think it can be hard to tell, and maybe future experiences will also make me consider this differently.
Describe your perfect date night (romantic or platonic)
This is such a difficult one, because I think sometimes it’s the ones that aren’t so expected that can be so lovely. I feel polarised in this, because it’s either something very cosy and just enjoying the comfortability and appreciation, maybe an at home dinner, or going for a late-night walk in a forest or by a lake. I do really love deep and meaningful conversation – emotional connection and shared values is really important to me, and I also love listening and understanding more about someone, how they think and feel. But then also, I used to love this bar I discovered, I think when in Leeds, where you could go there to go bowling, do crazy golf or play table tennis, it always used to be so much fun and would make me laugh a lot, and also probably get a bit too competitive, but I think a situation which is a bit more buzzy would also be super nice. I’m so indecisive with things like this.
Whats the last show you binged?
Feel Good (Highly recommend)
What’s your Love Language? (Quality Time, Giving/Receiving gifts, Physical touch, Acts of Service, Words of affirmation)
Give – Quality time, physical touch and acts of ‘service’
Receive – quality time, words of affirmation’
What memory do you replay the most?
Sadly, I seem to be more drawn to replaying memories of things I wish had turned out differently, rather than lovely experiences. But other than these, I do have a memory I tend to replay which was seeing one of my best friends getting married in Whitby. I didn’t expect it to evoke so many emotions in me as it did. It was such a special, emotional day, despite the fact to me personally, I’ve never been hugely fixated on marriage and the societal values of it, but seeing two people I care for so much going through this ceremony which meant so much to them just felt like a real honour to witness.
Share the last photo you took without the context…