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Writing Dance


Yorkshire Dance champions the value of dance and its development in Yorkshire. They create opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to see, make and take part in high quality dance. Hannah Robertshaw is their Programmes Director and a member of the Writing Squad board.

During lockdown Hannah brought together five Writing Squad writers and five dancer/choreographers to work together in two Zoom workshops led by Dance Artist Ella Mesma and poet Kayo Chingonyi. In July we spent four days playing together in the studios at Yorkshire Dance, joined by members of their Kickstarters programme, partly facilitated by Ella and Kayo, partly by Squad Director Steve Dearden.

We talked about how writers prepare to write and dancers prepare to dance. We discussed what being in a studio space offered and how creative processes start. We talked about writers block and the loneliness of creating solo work. We discussed improvisation and free writing and how we value and practice technique. We discussed our self-consciousness and hesitancy to step into each other’s art form and we experienced the successes when we did. We talked about beauty and gaze and how this translates in writing. 

Writers and dancers found common ground, shared inspiration and some are already making plans to work together in future. 

“For me, Writing Dance was a great opportunity to get creative in a different way. It allowed me to look at other elements of my life as potentially part of my creative practice…I enjoyed experimenting with the mini exercises and seeing what came out. It was great to have time and space to play without the pressure of a performance.” Charlotte, Writer.

“This three days were a real treat and I’m so glad I got to be part of this group and this experience. Remember when we discussed how to strive for beauty and if it was possible? Well, these days were very close to beauty if not entirely beautiful.” Anna, Dancer.

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