Anne Colvin received a Pebble Trust Flourish Bursary to support her development of a new piece of work. Here Anne reflects on how her mentoring sessions with choreographer and director Rosemary Lee has had an impact on her ideas and approach to the creative process.
The Pebble Trust Flourish Bursary opportunity popped up at a perfectly ripe time for me, though autumn, when everything is retreating back down to earth. But it was time for me....
For over four years now, I have been brewing ideas for developing a piece of work inspired by people and the richness of their connections with their landscapes. I want the work to share people’s connection with nature, their stories, their sense of place, not a representation of it or a nod towards it, but the real experience of it - through dance, with dancers and choreographed.
I was taking the leap from working with a rich people-centred creative focus, enabling and facilitating creative connections with the world through dance, into a ‘me-centred’ place, shifting my focus back to making my own choreography, and this was overwhelming.
I needed guidance from someone who understood the importance of people in making work, someone who could recognise the desire to take a creative journey, and artistically and sensitively share the essence of connection through choreography. Rosemary Lee was my obvious choice, and has been a fabulous mentor. She is a choreographer whose work resonates with my ideas and who I felt I could connect with; I could bumble through my ideas and share my vision in a way where I felt challenged, understood and encouraged, with authenticity and honesty.
We met and we talked. Through conversation we were able to tease out the most important aspects of what I wanted my work to look like, to feel like, to share. It was more than an exchange of me telling Rosie what I wanted to achieve and her telling me how to do it. We chewed over ‘what’ of people’s stories interested me, why nature draws us in and how I could explore with the dancers to find the depth I’m looking for. We considered the nature of participatory dance and how it differs from dance with a community focus, how that sits with me and how my processes and approaches have validity in both spheres.
I also needed to make the pictures in my head real; I could begin to unpick these and create a structure for my research with guidance from Rosie. Her generosity in sharing her experiences, highlighting practicalities and realities and the joy of collaborating with people and with nature has been affirming and inspiring.
There were lots of tiny revelations that came, both in conversation and in my reflective time in between our meetings. Each conversation guided me to the next stage - of wondering, questioning, finding clarity and making decisions.
I’m ready. I am clearer with what I want to play with and in my approaches. I have more confidence in experimenting with my own ideas and enjoying what evolves. I have been able to ask for the right advice and support from peers and potential partners and I’m looking forwards to inviting others to come on that journey with me as collaborators.
My G4A bid for the R&D phase of IMPRINT is nearly ready.
A huge ‘thank you’ to South East Dance and the Pebble Trust - and to the amazing Rosie Lee, who will continue to be an invaluable support to me as the project develops.