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 has worked in the creative industry for the past 30 years as a choreographer, director, dancer and facilitator, delivering and managing projects within both professional and community contexts.

He is Artistic Director of Grounded Movement, debuted at Sadler’s Wells Breakin’ Convention 2013. The company produce work inspired by African derived social and street dance culture, drawing on a rich blend of forms from Lindy Hop and Tap to Funk, Soul and Hip Hop.

As part of their access and opportunity programme, Grounded Movement also run two associate groups, Grounded UK which invests in young people’s training in Breakin’, and Lindy Kicks adult Lindy Hop performance group founded in 2013.

A high point in Temujin’s career of producing high quality accessible work, came with the amazing honour he received when asked to join Danny Boyle’s award-winning Creative Team, to choreograph the NHS section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Other movement direction and choreography for theatre include: Young Vic’s production of Kafka’s Monkey, directed by Walter Meierjohann, Titus Andronicus for Bold Tendancies, Directed by Pia Furtado, and Evan Placey’s Consensual, Directed by Pia Furtado for the National Youth Theatre Rep Company West End Season 2015/18.

He has recently directed two community dance films, Essentials and The Big Ball, and is currently developing his new production, Ragtime to Grime which was performed at the Crystal Palace Festival 2020 Live streamed show and Rag Time to Grime Bring it Home Tour produced by Greenwich Dance.
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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