Rosie Gunn began her first session by sharing her ideas about her project 'In Our Minds' with the dancers via her blog. The dance she is looking to create will feed into a larger project she is working on with UCA Farnham and the National Archive, which explores Mental Health. Rosie visited the National Archive and pulled out some documents which resonated with her. She discussed these in length with Sally Marie and the two of them prepared tasks for the dancers to explore.
Producer Rachel Palmer observed the rehearsal and wrote:
Rosie was interested in the extremes of personalities. Dancer Jemima was tasked at exploring moving in a direction through reaching and having to continue on that line no matter what. This resulted in pushing her past the point of control, taking her physically over the edge into the unknown. This resonated with me as a viewer in terms of how a sufferer of mental illness, when having an episode perhaps has no option other than to follow their driving impulse no matter what that leads them into.
Following the solo improvisations the dancers partnered up. One was tasked at controlling or stopping the other from achieving their driving impulse. Duets emerged which bubbled with tension. At times it was hard to see who was controlling who as the dancer tasked with achieving their impulse manipulated and outmaneuvered their controller. This captured quite poignantly an exhausting and baffling relationship, fueled by frustration, empathy and love.
Having physically explored the extremes of personalities in her first rehearsal Rosie chose to play with physicalising emotional states in her second session. Firstly she divided the studio into four sections and gave each section a selection of words, dancers were asked to improvise with those words in each area but were also allowed to travel between the areas, playing with the idea of transitioning from one emotional state into another.
The first improvisation brought about a lot of material, Rosie found the process of watching so much action quite over-loading for her senses and decided to capture the improvisations on video in order that she might watch them back and begin structuring her dance from these. As her second task, Rosie repeated the 1/4 room improvisations but changed the words concentrating on different aspects of joy.
The dancers played with the idea of being: Funny, Silly and Happy and also had the opportunity to meet in the remaining quarter. Rosie was interested in trying to explore mental health with some element of humour so she didn't end up making a dark and heavy piece. The improvisations which ensued really did hit the nail on the head. They were witty and intelligent because they came from a place of physical honesty.
Producer Rachel Palmer talked about Rosie's Every Day process:
This rehearsal felt like a physical investigation into what each of the dancers thought about each of Rosie's words. In each improvisation the dancers generously poured their hearts on to their sleeves as they searched deeply into their bodies to connect with Rosie's words. What is so wonderful about these dancers is just how immenselyphysical they can get; they have the ability to externalise that which most of us keep hidden inside. They don't just sit on the surface of a word but get underneath it, inside it and above it, as if turning it inside out and looking at it from all angles. As a result the viewer is able to witness a journey which is honest and resonate of human behaviour.
What hit me today was just how brave the Every Day choreographers are being. They are holding open their lives and allowing the dancers to explore ideas which are poignantly close to their hearts; it's just so generous and it's humbling to be a part of.