What’s in your box? Interview with Joss Arnott Dance
Greenwich Dance is launching a revolutionary new concept called ArtsUnboxed. Designed to tour ideas rather than people, we have commissioned a handful of artists to create a new piece of performance or participatory dance up to presentation stage. It is then packed into a virtual box and uploaded to the ArtsUnboxed website for purchase and repurpose by anyone looking for new ideas – be they venues, festivals, schools or organisations.
One of these commissions is Joss Arnott, alongside his producer Phil Hargreaves. We took 10 minutes out to ask Phil, what’s in your box?
First of all, tell us about Joss Arnott Dance:
Joss Arnott Dance (JAD) strives to be one of the leading dance companies in the UK: distinctly different from its peers in creative style and methodology, passionately committed to collaboration, mutual respect and support. In everything we do – Not I, but We.
We produce work that is grown from classical techniques, shaped by contemporary aesthetic and inspired by music. We strive to make work that moves our audiences with its musicality and skilled performance. We understand the power of the arts to influence social mobility and we will always be generous in our leadership: developing talent, encouraging high quality creativity and supporting the sector.
The company’s productions consist of an athletic, technically brilliant cast of extraordinary dancers, aiming to excite and inspire audiences regardless of their dance experience and knowledge through Arnott’s stunning and dynamic classical contemporary choreographic style.
Tell us about your creation for ArtsUnboxed
Created by Artistic Director Joss Arnott in partnership with an incredible team of consultants, dancers and creative experts, Dance:Connects is a new choreographic framework created by Joss Arnott Dance using dance as a tool to celebrate and connect people and communities. We have created a range of resources including a video library for a range of people new to dance and those with dance experience. The resources are developed to support the wonderful range of bodies, styles and cultures that make up our brilliant communities.
Joss has taken inspiration from the way in which people came together throughout 2020-21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the most challenging of times, we reconnected with neighbours, supported the most vulnerable, celebrated those in roles we may have taken for granted and we connected with our friends, family and loved ones in ways we never had before. Joss took this inspiration and started the artistic journey of connection that we can share widely across our communities and Internationally to spread joy, happiness, fun and most importantly connection.
The resources available come in a range of formats, teaching warm up exercises, dance technique, choreography and creative tasks. Then it’s over to you!
You put your own stamp on the piece to create your very own Dance:Connects performance piece – as a live performance, as a dance film, as a flash-mob or as pop up performances in your local community in gardens or parks. We have worked alongside a range of experts to embed curriculum specifications into the design of the resources, exploring ways of introducing new communities to dance and supporting those in the dance world to learn, enhance and explore new skills.
Dance:Connects involves 4 important and easy steps:
- EXPLORE – Check out the range of resources available and pick the package that best fits your group, community or expertise.
- LEARN – Watch and learn your pre-recorded dance tutorial led by one of our dancers.
- CREATE – Using the tasks shared in the video or those within this resource pack, you can now create your own performance pieces using the choreography you’ve learnt as a starting point for ideas to produce something magical, exciting and totally unique! You also have access to the Dance:Connects original music by our composer James Keane.
- SHARE – Each participant is invited to share their creativity with the world via social media, local performances, videos, TikToks etc using the hashtags #JADDanceConnects, #ArtsUnboxed and #HereForCulture to celebrate and connect with others through dance across the globe.
You will have 12 months of access to this resource to use how you feel appropriate.
What made you want to make a digital work?
As an organisation we use digital tools for connecting with people – social media mainly. We are in no way experts in digital creations, and this is really the start of our journey in that field. HOWEVER, our work is about connection, people and physicality so we wanted to create something that used digital tools not just artistically but, in a way, to connect. It doesn’t test in any way how dance and digital technologies can push the choreographic boundaries, but what it does is create a platform and space for us to share our work with new people, help those people create new connections and share that joy with the world. It’s about fun, getting active, moving, connecting and sharing. What better way to do that than with a programme that lights an artistic flame in you to go off and create your own piece of movement art!
Who do you think will buy your box?
We have created a box that is for a range of people and potential buyers. It’s targeted specifically at dance teachers, community groups, schools, colleges, universities and dance institutes – but it’s absolutely open to everyone!
The box contains videos, demonstrations, work packs and resources kits to help anyone who purchases their pack to use dance as a tool for connecting. A connection is important at this time and will continue to be important to use following the rough 2020!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Watch the trailer, explore the contents of the boxes and then get involved. It’s fun, high energy, open and collaborative. Every single person named in our programme has help creatively and logistically to make this work. We hope you have a great time taking part in Dance:Connects and share with the world your physical fun!