GRACE: The Process w/ Monica Forster

Dancing to the Music of Time | 20 October 2020

Five people dressed in white dancing in front of blue and white flags with audience watching in the foreground

GRACE is a choreographed moment of reflection that was created entirely under lockdown conditions by an intergenerational cast from our over 55s group Dancing To The Music of Time led by Maria Ghoumrassi, and Lotus Youth Dance Company led by Colleen Joseph. This thoughtful creation starts with a one-minute silence and is offered as a gesture of gratitude to those on the frontline and the carers in our lives. It is presented as a way to mourn our loved ones and build community resilience in these difficult times. Featuring music by Maria’s son Andalous Ghoumrassi, the soothing soundscape also features the dancers’ own spoken stories.

Monica Forster is one of the members of the Grace cast and shares her part of the creative process as well as her creative journey through lockdown.

As we started out on our GRACE journey we were asked to think about and write down our thoughts, feelings affirmations that we had experienced during lockdown and afterwards…

A selection of words about how Monica is feeling

The opening section of GRACE shows the whole cast holding a gesture as a sign of gratitude to key workers during a one minutes silence to remember those lives that were lost. Here I am showing gratitude in my garden which has now become my sanctuary during this time.

In Dancing to the Music of Time (Creative) we had talked about forces of life, the elements and their relationship with Nature, specifically trees, solid ,outreaching, long-lasting, withstanding the elements for sometimes centuries. I used this image from a recent exhibition about trees to ‘meditate’ and imagine I was there in reality.

A page of words covered over with crayon scribbles

It has been a joy to be able to create and be presented with opportunities to perform during this time. Here’s a peak at one of the weekly zoom rehearsals for GRACE, ‘Panic Section’.

As time went on and we were slowly emerging from lockdown, there were many discussions about life-changing decisions to make our world better and renew our values to create a better future because of what Covid had made us think about. I found this poem by Rachael Rosen which inspired me to draw a figure leaping out of a ‘lockdown state’, ready for the new unknown.

A page of words with crayon drawings of silhouetted people