The Farnham Bloomin' Dance

Farnham Blooming came about because of a personal desire to make a dance project in my town for the people who live in the town.  Having instructed one of my colleagues Hollie McGill to research the community activities that go on in the town she drew up a list of Farnham events and presented them to me.  Farnham In Bloom immediately stood out as an event that would lend itself to my dance work.

             Pretty_pink  dafodil  two_spring_blubs

I knew about Farnham In Bloom in as much as I live in the town and I’ve seen signs appear and disappear each year referring to the event but that is as far as my relationship went with it.  In July 2014 I began looking into the project more deeply and discovered that this was a regional competition that the town has been competing and doing rather well in for the last 25 years!  Farnham in Bloom is not just about growing flowers and making the town look pretty it is about bringing the community together, celebrating horticultural achievements and raising awareness about how each of us can be more environmentally responsible.  What’s more there are a team of judges who come to the town each year who go on a walk around the town to see all of the hard work the people of Farnham have been working on, which includes flower displays, litter picking areas, hanging baskets and community gardens.

As an artist I am much inspired by the natural beauty in the world and it features largely in the work that I create.  I have spent the last 10 or so years creating dance works in a variety of unconventional performance spaces; the ideology of my work has predominantly been underpinned by the relationship between people and the environment they exist in.  When I began thinking about Farnham in Bloom and how I could create a dance that would enhance the existing event I got hooked on the idea of developing a series of dances along the trail that the judges would walk.  As a resident of Farnham I didn’t know about this judges trail so I wanted to create a dance that would sit amongst it, which in turn would invite an audience to walk along it, discovering a number of dancers moving amongst and drawing attention to the beautiful greens spaces that reside (sometimes secretly) in Farnham.

The project planning is now firmly under way, at the last count we had 16 schools involved from in and around Farnham, that equates to roughly 150 young dancers.  Each school will work with dancers from my Company, The Dance Movement to create bespoke dances inspired by the spaces in which they will exist.  My much loved colleague Nicky Norton who has been at my side ever since I began creating dance works is stepping into the role of joint Artistic Director on the project.  Together we’ve wondered the trail that the dance will inhabit, visualised and designed the themes of the choreography, met with the dance artists who will be working on the project as well as Farnham Town Council to share our ideas.  We are currently both growing plants and flowers in our gardens ready to be transformed into costumes and head pieces for the performance and we are also on the look out for other peoples gardens in order that we might transfer the many seedlings we are growing, as we are running out of space!

The pictures in this blog are all from my little garden in Park Road, as I snapped them this afternoon I pondered over how they will grow and develop just like the wonderful dance of Farnham Blooming over the next few months.

                        Daisy_in_grass   purple_bell  sweetpea_cornflower2

Originally posted April 17, 2015.