‘At the heart of why we do what we do, it is about trying to develop our art in relation to the society we live in.’
Tell us about yourselves
We are Thick & Tight, an award-winning dance duo based in the UK. We create a mix of dance, mime, theatre and drag; taking influence from a wide range of historical, political, literary & artistic subjects. We are Daniel Hay-Gordon (Thick) and Eleanor Perry (Tight) and have been creating work for the past 10 years after training together at Rambert School.
What is it about dance that makes you tick?
Our practice is based in the rigorous dance techniques of ballet and contemporary dance, however what makes us tick is how we depart from these forms in creating our own choreographic style: intricate, entertaining, distinctive and musical, incorporating elements of queer performance such as drag, lip-syncing and camp humour, with a close relationship between movement and design.
Our work is currently and continually investigating a range of LGBTQ+ issues and figures, current queer culture and its link to dance. At the heart of why we do what we do, it is about trying to develop our art in relation to the society we live in, to intersect with marginalised groups and put their voices at the forefront of our company.
Tell us about your project for Our City Dances?
We are working with members of South East Dance’s Steering Group and over four sessions, every fortnight, we meet for an hour and a half over Zoom. We’re sharing some of the research we are currently undertaking and some of the techniques we use to create material. We have been lucky enough to work often during the past year, creating new works via Zoom and wanted to share ways to stay creative despite the restrictions we have all been under. We have sent green table cloths to everyone to create green screens in their living rooms! We are hoping to make a series of short films which shall explore things like Romanticism, synaesthesia and Abba (a Steering Group choice).
What’s it like so far creating a participatory work without meeting in person with your participants?
It has been brilliant and in some ways it can work very well for participatory work as everyone can feel comfortable in their own environment and able to engage/disengage when they need. When leading a session, you have to be conscious of the clarity and creativity with which you speak and give directions so that everyone feels confident to contribute. Saying all of that, very much looking forward to meeting everyone in person one day soon.
What do you hope will come out of the project, both in terms of experience for the participants and in terms of any creative outcomes?
We hope everyone enjoys the experience, that is gives them confidence, knowledge of something they may not previously have known and films they can be proud of and share with their own communities. Creatively, as with other projects we work on where we aim to disband prejudice within the arts, we want to show the excellence and beauty of work produced by those who participate in the arts.
How will people be able to engage with the project outside of the Community Steering Group?
People will be able to watch the films on the South East Dance website as part of Our City Dances festival. We are hoping that the films may also be shown at the Dance Space when it opens too. We hope that they inspire others in the South East to get dancing and feel confident in creating their own film and dance work.
This is the last Our City Dances before we open The Dance Space, what will this new home for dance mean for you?
Thick & Tight is based in the South East, though London is also a main area of work for us. The Dance Space will give us far more opportunity to connect with Sussex and our South East region, to create and perform our work and get to know our local community better. We’re excited about the work we may encounter by other artists too. We hope we can be a positive influence within the community and help to bring great work to the region.