Talking Moves Series 3 Episode 6: Making Work With Young People

Talking Moves | 09 July 2021

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.

Who's Who

Temujin Gill speaking into a mic

Temujin Gill

Temujin is Artistic Director and co-founder of Grounded Movement, debuted at Sadler’s Wells Breakin’ Convention 2013, a dance company that produce work inspired by African derived, social and street dance culture. He has over 30 years’ experience in dance and theatre from movement direction and choreography to project management, University lecturing and writing for theatre.

Current projects in the mix include: Ragtime to Grime, a provocative dance and rap-based theatre piece originally developed in collaboration with the acclaimed, Mercury-nominated UK rapper TY (who sadly passed away from Covid-19 in 2020); a new play in development with musician composer Laurence Corns and New York writer Willie Johnson, about Bayard Rustin an unsung champion of the civil rights movement; Hopes and Dreams co-creation project for young people commissioned for Greenwich Dance’s Artsunboxed; and Spirit of the Estate, an outreach and empowerment young people’s mentoring and performance programme, first launched by Crystal Palace Festival in 2021.

Past collaborations and productions include Kafkas’ Monkey at the Young Vic, Dance Umbrellas community dance film Feltham Moves, Evan Placey’s Consensual for National Youth Theatre, and Club Universal commission for the Southbank Centre. Testament to Temujin’s commitment to producing high quality work came with the honor he received when asked to join Danny Boyle’s award-winning Creative Team, as lead choreographer for the NHS section of London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Photo: George Dyer
Alesandra Seutin headshot

Alesandra Seutin

International performer, choreographer and teacher Alesandra Seutin grew up in Brussels and lives in London. She studied dance internationally and continued her training at the École des Sables (Senegal) where she became a student of Germaine Acogny, training directly under Acogny. Seutin is an Artistic Director for École des Sables. Working in a variety of fields, Seutin is also a movement director, dramaturge, teacher and performer, performing for several noted artists including Jonathan Burrows, Tanusree Shankar, Germaine Acogny and Rafael Bonachela. Seutin founded Vocab Dance in 2007 and has progressively built an international reputation for creating thought provoking and visually striking performances. Her creativity is inspired by social and political circumstances, and with movement, voice and music, she shares stories to encourage further conversation.

Seutin presented Boy Breaking Glass as part of Sadler’s Wells’ 20th anniversary commission, Reckonings, in October 2018 alongside works from Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Julie Cunningham and Botis Seva. Seutin has also created work for Sadler’s Wells’ resident over-60s performance company, Company of Elders. Seutin’s latest work Dear Winnie for JR.CE.SA.R supported by KVS & NNT will resume its tour in Belgium and will tour internationally in 2022.

Photo of Alesandra: Guillaume Kayacan

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