In this episode, we talk to Alesandra Seutin and Temujin Gill about making work with young people.
With this series we have been particularly interested in delving into choreographic approaches to different types of work – we have looked at work outdoors, for families, for digital technologies. But what happens when your cast are all under 25? How do choreographers harness that young potential, amplify the stories they want to tell and create work that is relevant to young people of today? And once made… who comes to see it?
Alesandra and Temujin kicked us off by reflecting upon their own dance journeys and why, as young people themselves, dance spoke to them. Alesandra, as Guest Artistic Director of the National Youth Dance Company 2020-21, (a baton she took from previous AD Russell Maliphant during the pandemic) talked us through her approach to creating work using a series of Zoom residencies with a cohort of dancers from all over the country. Temujin spoke about his own recent process of creating a choreographic framework for young people with his company Grounded Movement, which is now available on the ArtsUnboxed platform for others to use and talked through his exploration of a concept he describes as ‘cultural amnesia’.
Both share very practical tools and techniques for drawing out the stories and personalities of the dancers they work with and how they celebrate differing technical abilities, dance styles and experiences. They each shared ideas for warm-ups and ice breakers, task activities and their music choices and reflected on how, indeed if, their choreographic process differs any from how they work with professionals.
We talk about the hole Covid has blown into the lives of this generation of young people and how the action of showing that we genuinely believe in them: in their abilities, their stories and their values, is going some way to repairing some of the tissue damage Covid has brought about.
Finally, we consider the audience for the work and whether we imagine it being enjoyed by a wider community than simply families and friends.