A brief interview with Rebecca Evans, a professional dancer and the creator and choreographer of a contemporary dance piece called ‘Decoy’ which will be on at The Place on January 17th and 8pm.
What is contemporary dance?
Well, how I usually explain contemporary dance is how I explain contemporary art, so there’s a huge spectrum to it; so you have something like Picasso or something like Monet, and you have something surreal like Dali. So you can have theatre dance which is more literal and then you can have very abstract which is pure dance like a Jackson Pollock and there’s nothing to get from it apart from it being an experience to be had.
Where are you on that spectrum?
I think I tend to be more on the abstract side of things, but I still want it to be as visually stimulating as say a Jackson Pollock, as something you can really get drawn into and also I’d like to try and provide deeper layers that are there if you want to investigate and find them. So if you want it to be just an experience of dance and I really want it to be entertaining and not alienating, which it (contemporary dance) often can be.
What’s Decoy about?
It’s about free-will in modern times, and looking at whether we do when we’re surrounded by marketing, social media and technology and just being influenced by it in a constant stream. Are we in fact making any decisions on our own? Yes, we are consciously but are we actually making those decisions? The piece will be examining the feeling of knowing when you’ve made the decision that is truly your own or when you’re just going with the flow.
That’s going to be interesting to see how you do that through dance.
Yeah, one of the elements we’re going to be using is that it’s going to have constant movement. There’s going to be a feeling of it (media) being almost inescapable, and seeing how we try to escape it or try to conform to it and then also how you as an individual occupy that space, and how you as an individual can make your own individual choices, whilst still being surrounded by all of this.
Do you answer the question?
No, I don’t think so. No, I think I want to just create this general feeling of what is being created in our society and how that is really effecting us and just creating an awareness of what we’re surrounded by all the time.
One of the books I was ready for research on this was a book called ‘The Art of Thinking Clearly’ and it’s a law about how marketing, charities, media, how it all has an impact on us, on our emotions. For example charities will give you post cards in the post because if they give you something you automatically feel like you have to give something back, because of out evolutionary need to survive, like if I have extra food and I give it to you, when I need it you will give it to me; so there’s things like that that they’re playing on with deep levels or our humanity and who we are.
How do you create the piece?
It’s a real collaboration. Sometimes I will give them (the dancers) movement and maybe use that exact phrase on stage, or I will give them a movement and ask them to expand on that; or it can be a thought or an idea or a specific phrase to work from and then they will create a movement and I’ll go in and stick my fingers in it and move it around and kind of push it towards where I’m feeling. I’m really lucky with the dancers, I’ve got some really experienced professionals I’m working with.
And the music you use, will it be recognisable?!
As in like popular music?! Um? Probably not, but it’s not going to be so abstract that you can’t follow it. I’ve worked a lot with Gabriel Prokofiev who is Sergei Prokofiev’s grandson son but he does a lot of classical music but with a lot of beats and stuff, but really beautiful classical music. Last year I did a lot of electronic stuff, so this year I am using more contemporary classical like Johann Johannson and Peter Gregson. It’s hard to use popular music because people will bring all their associations to it, which puts a layer onto the piece that you don’t want and not come to it without any associations.
It sounds really interesting, I can’t wait to see it. So it’s a twenty minute piece, where is it?
It’s at The Place in Kings Cross, on January 17th at 8pm!
To book tickets contact The Place: theplace.org.uk
Interviewed by Harry