In this episode we talk to Liv Lorent and Arthur Pita about creating dance for families.
Once upon a time, dance for children and families was perhaps seen as lightweight, if indeed it was seen at all. But pioneering leaders in the sector, such as Emma Gladstone and her children’s dance festival Offspring at The Place, set about to change that – spotlighting high quality work and the wonderful artists making it – and in doing so raising the status of this magical genre.
Liv and Arthur, both of whom meet on the Venn diagram when it comes to their imaginative use of traditional fairytales, discuss the careful choice of story and the way they relate that to lived experience as well as to reflect the complex society we live in. We talk about the artful balance of dark and light and how neither of them is scared to shy away from the sad or scary parts of a story but rather the faith they have in children to interpret this and see sad and happy as parts of life.
We talk about the creation process and the involvement, for Liv, of community casts within the research and development as well as the presentation of the show. Arthur and Liv both talk animatedly about the collaborative way in which they make the work alongside creatives such as dramaturgs, writers, designers and musicians and the importance of narrative and pace perhaps over and above choreography which oftentimes comes second and is layered upon this robust structure.
And we talked about audiences – discussing who this work is really for – adult or child? And whether it’s The Little Match Girl, or Ballo Arthur Pita, they have really come to see. This led us to muse upon whether digital tools and technology might offer the potential to widen access and strengthen the bonds between company and a (growing) audience.