Tonight we got started on the nitty gritty of going through movements in the performance space. We practised getting houses on and off, filling the space during transitions and making sure NO-ONE steps on the talismans! The space is much larger than either of the rehearsal spaces, so we had to push ourselves to own a large area. We are now working in costume to let us experiment with how the different clothing affects movement.
There has been an importance on being comfortable and happy in your costume, which I find quite bizarre. I have been used to being giving costumes and being told that is that, you are wearing it. In Glory, we are encouraged to speak up if we feel our costumes aren’t ‘us’. This underlines the whole ethos of Glory, where the individual human-ness of each dancer is valued and shared with the audience. However, this doesn’t mean that the artistic quality of the final product is compromised. I feel that Glory is a perfect example that community art doesn’t mean bad art; it is testament to the skill of the project leaders that both community and artistic interest have been balanced so well.
Another strength of the project is the way in which people with all experiences of dance have been catered for and challenged. The group range from proffesional, experienced dancers to people who have never danced in their lives, but it feels as if everyone has gained from the process.
As for me, past worries began to sneak in. My journey with anorexia and low body confidence began in my early teens and although I am no longer anorexic every now again unhelpful thoughts rear their ugly heads. I find that dance is the perfect opportunity to re-write the social readings of the body and promote body positive attitudes but, as a performer, it can be a hot bed for body doubts. I began to notice the lumps, the bumps, the flat chest, the wide ankles and suddenly began to feel slightly ill. Although getting these feelings isn’t pleasant, it is encouraging to notice how alien they now seem.
After much deliberation I confessed my worries to our wonderful costume manager who said she’d be happy to re-think my costume to make me feel more comfortable. I was embarrassed but relieved that I could be open with other people in the project.
Tomorrow sees the beginning of the technical rehearsals, a notoriously slow process, especially with such a large cast and complex set. However, I have faith that we will get through!! (Even if it is dependant on the prospect of a free lunch.)