I don't work with a company and I have been involved in different workshops. I created my first piece in 2010. It was a solo. My second piece is a duet created in 2011.
I had an idea, which I had not physically started working on in space. I was hoping to get a residency at the French cultural centre in Kinshasa. It is difficult for me to describe my idea. The theme which was a starting point for me is traces of desire. I wanted to interrogate what I feel inside. How could I exteriorize it? I did not know exactly what I wanted. Things began to emerge little by little as we worked during the laboratory. I've often taken time to think of what it is I want. Should I continue to dance or find office work? Because with parents it is quiet complicated to make them understand that your career is that of an artist and I think I have to decide on whether or not I want to make dance my career. It is from this that I began to feel the desire to leave traces of what I want.
I have sentiment that the audience are interested in the proposition. I would like to continue. If Jean Luc has to come to work with me, it demands a lot of resources but it is my dream, we will see how it will evolve. How can I put in place conditions that will enable me to work? I would like to find my own approach to doing the work. The way in which we work can bear a lot of fruit; notable how does one work with people around you?
Challenges…in the beginning I worked with a trio and it was quiet difficult to communicate my idea to them. It was difficult making them see what was seeing. Since words were not working, I decided to try out things in the space. Each time we discussed and tried out things, they discovered things they were not even conscience of but corresponded to my idea. I appreciate this way of working.
I have the theme that I will continue to work with but will leave it open so that I can make choices. I am sure when I go back to Kinshasa my work will be enriched.
I am a dancer and choreographer from Cote de Voire. I have been dancing since 1996 in Abidjan in Senegal.
I arrived with an idea but the time was short. I did not have time to develop my idea before coming here. I wanted to speak of Injustice of humanism of the black man. That is my future project that I will develop after Chrysalides.
I did not work on my project because I felt it was not ready.
The public performances that were organised like the one at the supermarket. I found that great. It was going out of the box and removing the frames. It was great because we had a variety of audiences doing their own things. It was an interesting play with the public.
Patrick - I found it engaging and interesting. He has a good way of sharing his idea. He was a good collaborator. I was able to contribute a lot of ideas to his project. The work with Adam was different to what we had with Patrick. Patricks work was more on how to deal with desire. The project with Adam was more to do with the text. The English was not easy. There was difficulty in terms of communication but little by little, things became easier.
Not just I but we arrived with the project called violated destiny. We had begun to work in Ouagadougou 2 weeks precedent to arriving in Nairobi.
It was a project on personal experience. We had begun to put together a company, Myself Adjarotou and another girl. I was pregnant at this time and we had to wait for three months. It was not easy. I lost my child at birth. Adjaratou's younger sister also passed away and the other dance also lost her child at birth so this was a tough moment. So I made a solo about my giving birth and later we decided to work on the idea together. We questioned ourselves on how the future can be go differently to ones expectations. That is how we came to the idea of uncertainty.
I see the project clearly in my head. It is here that I managed to convince Adjarotou to subdivide the piece. We did the project in three stages of life - the past, the present and the future. The past is pain, the present is reality and the future is uncertainty. We were discussing the future and at one point, we began to cry. Certain phrases began to emerge, like 'I have no wish to live…is this life that you can consecrate yourself to something and all of a sudden it can all change'. The project is very clear in my head now.
I have never created my own work but have collaborated with other artists. This is my first creation.
The theme is separation in the world of separation. The project consists of a poem, choreographic alphabet that has been created from the poem. It is from that, that I inspire myself.
It is the first time that I am working on a project and it was a challenge for me. It is one of the reasons that I proposed the challenge for the lab.
I was surprised at the beginning, at the beginning we were not obliged to come with the work but were encouraged to come with an Idea. When we began to work with Sophiatou Kossokotou, we were expected to have the idea complete. I found that to be important because immediately we had to think about our projects in order to explain them. I could see progress of my work day by day. We begin to think of the audience right at the beginning of the process and this helped me quite a lot. It is from this work that I thought of having the audience physically present on stage. I made the work to be in such a way that whether the audience join me or not, I would be ready for both.
My Idea was a bit like in everyday life when you call people there are those that accept and those that reject; there are those that exchange with you?
I am continuing to work on the four verbs that I have chosen to work with. I will also work on the choreographic alphabet then the other verbs. I would also like to use the poem as audio and work with a musician
I found this quite good, as we say always, man is not perfect. I felt quite well. I dint feel as a foreigner. The ambiance with the mentors and the other participants, I found it quite good. There was some difficult with communication which is normal and language was quite an issue as I have for a long time wanted to speak English but I don't have the courage to speak. That affected communication. Sometimes I could completely lose my English. It was a good experience and has enabled me to learn a lot of things. I would like to say thank you to the project organisers and mentors and everybody else who was Involved. Thank you.
I would have liked us to be guided more in certain directions. I was expecting that. The Idea of making us responsible and defend our projects, I found that to be very good as well.
I was Interested to come to Chrysalides because it is different from the other workshops where we only dance. I was interested top work with the things around dance such as sound and scenography. I was motivated by the project description because it would help me develop my career. I was Interested to come and exchange.
Yes, I did but because of personal reasons, I could not go on with it so I decided to work with other people on their projects.
I had a lot of the experiences especially as regards theory. Other people's projects gave me a lot of Ideas that I Injected back into the project. I hope it enriched their projects.
There are things I had not thought before in my dance journey. The pressure they were putting helps us. I sensed a bit of Intimidation but I think it was In order to lead us in the right direction. It was necessary for the projects. Sometimes It was the criticism which was a bit too strong but I think we as dancers need that In order to progress.
I have created three pieces. The 1st is Nzana - meaning street children. 2nd Metisse - is about half cast Africans and right now, I am working on Virus F - on corruption in Africa. It is the third piece.
My project was called contrast. It has been a bit complicated even the title seems a bit difficult to explain and express but I have tried to work with other dancers. It has not been very easy so I will continue to work on the idea to elaborate it more.
I have had a lot of feedback each time we present and I think this will help conceive my project.
I think it is very important. Normally I dance a lot but I found myself in a project which is mainly speech based. Working with words is challenging for me. It's a new experience and it brings something new to my head. It was calm, there is no dance but a bit of displacement in the space and that was a lot for me. The project was very good for me.
Not to have to dance has enabled me to be more spontaneous. It was difficult at the beginning but I got to understand that I have to be myself in order to dance. That the dance needs to come from within.
I have always wanted to come to Nairobi, I have always wanted to come to work with Opiyo because I have heard that there are workshops and training that happen in Nairobi. I was very happy to be invited to Nairobi for the project.
I wanted to work on 'et si' (what if) which resumes the notion anything can happen but in sharing with Belgium and Congolese students at the University, we ended up thinking about thirty years later what could happen. And we told ourselves that during that time, man would want to surround himself with machines and technology rather than being with human beings. And the question then that arose was whether man would maintain the same relationship with machines as with humans - love, hate, affection…etc - for his washing machine, PC, telephone or printer, or could have problems he could not share with his machines and end up missing back to human warmth. This was what I wanted to work on.
As for my expectation, I thought that we simply needed to come up with an idea and the rest would be collective and we would find things and work together to make choices of what is best. I found this lacking. I was waiting for more help with the choreographic process. I was expecting to acquire other ways of making work. As I came late, I only worked for two days on the second week and a few days of the last week and hence did not have a lot of time to work. I had difficulty because I came with an idea that had not been developed and I was expected to explain the idea and experiment with the other participants at the same time. And working with performers with whom I don't share the same language was a bit challenging. My case is particular because I arrived late.
I come from Chad. I lead a company called Korazy.
I arrived with an older project called the woman's bag. I had a problem of performers/dancers. I explained my idea but they could not understand it, that is why I had to change to a different idea. The story of a totem. In Africa, we have our roots. No matter how we change friends, lifestyle, there are things that always manifest themselves in our way of being so I asked myself what will be the place of these totems in our lives. I wanted to try and work on this idea on the place of totems in our lives.
I had difficulties because I needed three dancers but there were only two available so I decided to dance in it as well but that made it complicated. In the end, I did not get what I wanted.
I have learnt a lot. My project was not selected but I have learnt how to find strategy, approach, how to go from an idea to a project in the conception of work. What I also found impeccable is how to dance without exaggerating, how to find the neutral point of expressing what you want to say. How to find ways of saying that are artistically interesting. I will take time to digest all this. When I go back to Tchad I am going to organise workshops about what I have learnt and share.
CATHERINE: I have been dancing for twelve years. I started with the creative dance group then joined Ecoles de sable.
CATHERINE: I founded a female dance company and I have been performing with them and even teaching dancing back in Uganda.
CATHERINE: I do other things, I am a writer-advertising consultant I do copy writing.
CATHERINE: I did not have an idea but when I got here, I managed to come up with something. My idea was the seduction of innocence. I was interested in how something comes from a state of purity and cleanliness to how it gets corrupted and what happens after.
CATHERINE: Sophiatou Kossoko - what I got from the process is not to be contented with the first thing that comes to mind. I learnt that there are details form an idea, to a thought and selling the idea to my colleagues then to myself to understand deeply. I had to tear down and start all over again and I have learnt to question that help build it up. It has not intimidated me. I wanted to learn and find a new way to create. I have found a new way to dance to move and to create. Jean-Christophe Lanquetin - I learnt that to create a new thing does not just come out of just thinking, if I want to create a new thing, I should see them differently and from an audience perspective. Yann Leguay - about sound I found it very fascinating. I realize that if I thing of sound not just as a decorator but as something that is creating a feeling, atmosphere, mood. Opiyo- I feel inspired and I have gained a lot.
I have felt so honoured, the hospitality, transport and all that feels like we have been treated with respect and honour which made me concentrate open my mind and pursue the dance. I hope to create the same experience back at home. It was so motivating.
ADAM: I have been dancing professionally since the year 2000. I was dancing at Safari park and Casino doing Cabaret and stuff and I worked there for four years from 2000 – 2004 and somewhere in between starting 20001 already I was coming to the Go down to Hillcrest and following the contemporary dance workshop. So by the time I was leaving the Hotel and Casino I was already had some experience and was dancing some few pieces out of my work.
ADAM: Yes, I have created performances and gigs and yes, I have created a duet called "Questions" with Joseph. I have created a trio with disabled guys for Uwezo mix dance company it's called "watu na Viatu" I have created a piece also with 8 dances mixed people with able bodies and disabled people for the African Mixed Ability Dance Network it's called "Uasi" its a piece on rebellion and then there is "unknown" and now I still don't know what the title will be bit the working title is "I am reading on a piece of paper with nothing written on it."
ADAM: Initially from high school, I was known for writing poems for people to recite and sometimes I recited them alone actually from primary school. And somehow, from early high school, I lost this thing of writing poems and somehow I came out of school without being active in poetry. Then just this year at some point I was asking myself why did I ditch this thing, occupation or talent that I used to. So I started writing again so I wrote stuff some of that I am not using now and then one of the things that I wrote as a beginning of a poem is this –I am reading from a piece of paper with nothing written on . I didn't know if it was a title or a beginning of a poem but it came to in the house and I wrote it. And when we came to the project s, people were thinking of what they were going to work on and I thought to myself it would be interesting if I could develop this one sentence into a dance or into a performance. Because in Nairobi I am not known as, a poet but I go to events of open mic poetry and so I just thought if I can write and I am a known dancer then I can use this combination for a performance and I thought of it as a solo. I have been rehearsing and dancing it in my head. So in the laboratory I continued writing. I read the writing from a piece of paper over and over and over until I found something that came to me that seemed to be a continuation of it and then it was just coming and was just writing and writing. Actually, the continuation of it I wrote in the laboratory during this time. There is a part that I did when it was still a solo. It was talking about having a bad memory for dreams and I can't remember what I dreamt about something like this. This is the only part that I wrote before and also I did not write it conclusively it was just tetetetet but I knew what I wanted to talk about so in the laboratory also I finished this part. So my idea when I was writing "reading form a piece of paper with nothing written on" I could say I have the urge to get people's attention and to if possible get them thinking and make them think that I want to say something important and try to achieve the same journey that audiences go thorough emotionally sometimes when somebody is talking about a certain topic like. For example if somebody is covering rape and then there is you know these emotions and people are feeling sad and happy or sometimes laughing so it was in my mind how could I achieve this without really having a topic like rape or this or that I am talking about and people find themselves still going through this thing and then at the end of it they realise that actually they don't know why they were having that. For me this is what I am trying to achieve with the piece. That people still go through things without saying that; okay he was talking about this - but he was just confusing us. And if there is a time a beginning and an ending for me, it's a success.
ADAM: I found it interesting when Goodie was giving feedback. To her it's confusing but when I am watching it so far, what it is till now I find it. What is totally a pleasant surprise and a gift that the piece is giving me is the humour because honesty when I was writing I didn't have humour in my mind. I just wrote what was coming from the heart. But the first day I presented it people found it funny. When I am doing it, solo people don't laugh as much but when the others are doing it, it's so funny and I see the funny part of it from outside and it's strange that people find it so funny this for me is a pleasant surprise. Though I intend to go the other way but I don't want to force it if it's going there its fine but I would like moments when it's really quiet and almost sad.
ADAM: I like the way she brings back people to business. I think she is very good at showing you that you are distracted and the place that you should be is here. What I took from her a lot is to really know what you want to say and the importance of knowing what you want to say before you start working or even if you are searching but at least you know what you want so when what you want is not happening you can say this is not what I want I want this and the importance of if you say I am working on this project and you know this is it. She really put the importance in our heads of being not just being single minded but knowing your goal and then they came the stories of strategy and tactics but I think this was very important. Like if you know where you are going then when have an obstacle you know it as an obstacle and you don't just see it as something else, you know that it is an obstacle and then when you find a clear way you see it's a clear way because it informs what you want to do. And sheer professionalism I think in Africa you need Sophiatou I mean in terms of time, warm ups, this is time for this, this is time for this, you should achieve this in this time and you should have a reason why doing this or doing that I think sometimes in Africa we freestyle too much.
ADAM: I think from Jean Christophe what I retain is .As I said from Sophiatou you know your goal. But from Jean Christophe I think you should be able to explain to people what your goal is so that they can see it with you I think this is what I learnt from Jean Christophe he want you to be able to explain to people what you are doing, and why you are doing it and justify how you are doing it. For example he gave us an example if you want to pitch for a programmer your piece and you're like Duh . . .my piece is about . . .And also this audience thing – relating to the audience and spaces. The why you are doing something? How you are doing it? And justifying your way of doing it I think is important because many times we cannot explain why we are doing something we might know but we cannot explain and I think the ability to be able to explain what you are doing to somebody is important and I think he stressed this a lot in his encounters with us. When I see him, I know I should be able to explain what I am doing.
ADAM: In a way, I think we built sets in our minds. His presentations were very interesting and he for example gave us an example of audiences and different kinds of audiences and different kinds of performances and spaces, audiences in different spaces. For me this was a good impulse then you as a performer have this idea of your orientation and the audience and where are they and what is my position speaking to them. So in terms of placement it was very helpful and also when he spoke of "Shift Centre" and how he works. I think if you are a creator you already think of what about my work, how am I placing the people, where is the audience, how is the audience seeing the performance. I think he helped us provoke these questions in ourselves when we're making I own work and so even though he didn't physically work with us at least to me he made me think of the scenographic part of what I am doing. So even if I am working with another Scenographer I want to know what he is doing and why and how and I might want to ask him questions about what he is doing.
ADAM: For me it's very interesting the sounds. Like for example when I am writing, it's original, I am writing from my heart and when I want an accompaniment like music, I'll check on my I-pod and find a nice James Brown song without him going Awww! And then I use the track because I know at least it's only instruments but someone will still recognise it as a swing, jazz thing. With Yaan, this invitation to original sound creation is interesting and for me it's a pity that we are not working with him in Ouagadougou because I was already thinking of ideas. I think the idea of being able to produce sound that you can choose/conceive. Okay I have thought of maybe this thing let us record it and see how it feels because like in Alacoque piece it changed everything. I felt like we were like this and when Yaan came something opened up even though we were still using the shillings the music. I felt like something was opening up because like with Alacoque and the coins we were in one spot like this all the time, I didn't feel like my eyes going out but with the coins away for a while, I felt like there was an invitation for information coming from all directions.
RAPASA: As I am always -known with sound and instruments. I have been thinking about sound and sometimes when I walk around or in the streets, how people react to sounds. So I just decide to check on this thing about sound and how the body reacts when a certain sound goes up and that is how I came up with the idea of sound.
RAPASA: I have worked with a number of artistes I found it challenging but not in negative way. Sometimes you need something different to change how you think how the approach of what you do. Everything was very tight. And I was always even after class I was always thinking about what we talked or any question or anything that was thrown on the table and start thinking about it so that tomorrow if we meet with the teacher or in the class I can raise the question again or try to find out why they say this why they explain it this way. I think these are some of the memories that will always stick in my head.
RAPASA: Jean-Christophe Lanquetin – he was more of what you do. And Yaan's work with sound is different from how I work but I got ta way for bringing them together. I got to learn that I can use natural sound and my jewelry and it is also part of the music.
SARAH: Well in the proposals that we had, somebody had to have either an object or anything that they would want to work on. So mine the concept I got from a veil, a black ceil I wanted to use a black veil. Then as the process continued the idea grew the idea is basically is questioning the position of women in the Mungiki community and meanwhile I would love to address this issues because the Mungiki women they do not have voices and most of the time we never hear about them.
SARAH: It was attached.
SARAH: The idea was much broader because when I first explained it Sophiatou she felt it was much broader and maybe I should focus on one thing and looking back at it I also felt the same so I narrowed it down to Mungiki women.
SARAH: The first week I would say was the conceptualization of the idea. More improvising and finding materials and doing more research on the idea and then the second week I would say was having something a piece or a dance constructed for about five minutes and then showing it to the public and then getting feedback and then with the feedback I would react to them and then probably change one or two things.
SARAH: I would say that the process is experimental so this platform gives me an opening to experiment on things that probably would work and see if the idea is good or not. So when Sophiatou and Jean Christophe suggested I work with a male at first I wasn't convinced that was what I wanted but when I looked back again it felt like it was in the context of what I was working on because these women don't have voices and the working title is "behind the scenes" so it's probably a good idea that I work with a man. .
SARAH: To begin with the good evolution. I would say that when I did the solo when I was performing it myself I was much into it and at some point I was trying to put myself into the position of these women and at some pint I could not work because I got emotional because I had an interview with one of the women and her story was really touching and so as I was thinking about it and also working it got to a point when I could not work and then when Jack came in I became much easier - just seeing another person doing it and me looking at it from the outside.
SARAH: First, the piece will change because I won't have Jack in Ouagadougou. So I had planned to also perform it so I will work with Razolo and also be in the piece and if I could still retain the idea of the veil because that was the idea I had initially.
SARAH: I must say I'm looking forward to working.
SARAH: The first two weeks with her, I would say was very productive and I must say I was privileged working with her. I loved the way she approached her work and the way she would mentor the works and the discussions we had. So it was great.
SARAH: In a brighter side, I would say that it is a good thing because at some point, you might have an idea but you don't know where you want your idea to go but if your interrogated it actually helps you to get the idea where you are and where you want to go.
SARAH: Honestly not much, because we didn't spend much time with him. But with the few workshops we had, the theatre and the connection with the audience and how you can address the public, I think that was also very productive with what we are working on – the space of the spectator in this whole Chrysalides thing.
SARAH: I think sound for me is the most important part also of if you're creating work. I remember I had a talk with Yann that I was once at a festival and I had just chosen sound then just before I performed there was someone who was on stage performing and accidentally it was the same song that I had so that crash was like a bang for me so when we talked I felt it's good to construct your own music and his ideas on sound was helpful.
SARAH: Different approaches to work. How people see things. How they approach work and how they create networks with the other participants. And all the things we've learnt from the facilitators.
SARAH: I have co-choreographed "High Table" it was a collaborative work with different artistes. I have a solo that was initially a concept of someone but then I owned it – I changed it a bit and then I have done choreography for this group based in Kibera - I help them with choreography a lot but generally it's the solo and the "High Table.
NEEMA: My name is Neema Bagamuhunda. I'm a performing artiste. I have also done a little of theatre and community theatre.
NEEMA: My idea was on masks. Not masks that people wear but masks that people portray. I think that most people wear masks a kind of mask. What they are inside is not what they portray. Sometimes you are with people and they show you one face and after sometime you realise there is another face to them either personally, or business or work people always wear this face to face or deal with certain things.
NEEMA: When I started working in it was these ideas that just came suddenly. My first idea was to actually have people wear masks and then paint their faces underneath. But afterwards it evolved to something you could show with the hands, with the feet. Because with the hands it is easier to show and not to show rather than the face because if you don't show your face your also not seeing so we decided to use he hands and the feet to show – to paint different people different colours so we can show them to the audience but not to each other. So the audience can see that this is what this is really is but people who are working on stage cannot see. Sometimes we had struggle – everyone is trying to show their hands and others like a competition for space to show the hands and feet.
NEEMA: Actually a lot has come out of it. One of the other participants Razolo told shared me short film on African masks, which is something totally different, it's another face of the mask because when you wear the African mask you have changed your identity your representing a spiritual thing that is supposed to be feared or worshiped, or to be reacted to in a certain way. And I am interested in going in that direction of the mask or the masks that clowns wear, that people wear to go for football games or such things. I think it's also an aspect of the mask that I would like to go into.
NEEMA: It has been interesting because every time you do a little work you have to show and he people react to it and then the mentors guide you on where you should go. It has been different from the way we work normally- because when we work we put our ideas together and then you put something. But when you have people, critiquing from the beginning it changes the way you see your work and also you see this can be seen this way rather than what I meant to say. And that has changed the way the work has developed. For instance, with Sophiatu, she came and she is the one who actually suggested for us not to wear the physical mask because that also implies something different. Maybe we could just paint the face and mke expressions. When you have people inputting into your idea, things really change a lot.
NEEMA: Its been good I have learnt a lot. I found it very difficult with Jean Christophe to actually understand what his idea of strategy and tactic is. But eventually somehow I think I am still getting there slowly. But it has been good, we learnt a lot from Yaan, we learnt a lot for Opiyo. The way they react to our pieces. The suggestions they make. With Jean Christophe, he was very specific about how do you want your message to come across and how do you want the audience to see your work. Sometimes that is difficult to deal with because what you say is not always what is received.
I want to go as far as possible I want to dance when I am 70. Because I have seen people dance when they are 70 and they look really good. Contemporary dance in Kenya still has a long way to go in terms of audience development in terms of audiences actually appreciating it. But people who are actually doing the contemporary dance are getting more and more involved and we're getting more and more people. So like this particular corner of the industry is growing and we're getting more people teaching and different kinds of vocabulary, people are actually sharing more between the different kinds of dances so it is growing. My vision in the long run is to see it grow more and have shows that can actually show and bring back returns to the performers.
NEEMA: At the prestige plaza, a lot of people decide to go with improvisation just making up stuff as we go along. F0r our group we decided to go with something we had already rehearsed. My impression was that the audience knew something was happening but it was difficult for them to understand what was happening and how they should react to it. Should we stop and watch, should we just walk around them, should we take in what we can for a little while and the go away? But generally, there was a reaction from the audience. I noticed that some staff member who followed us all the way, literally through all the performances and hat was nice for me. Also, it was hard not to go into narrative dancing because this is Kenya, this is Africa people want to see something that makes them feel something so if you go abstract completely people will just look ad sat "these people are doing wazungu things". But if you try to tell a story however abstract it is for example Alacoque piece with the shillings on the box, people feel something, everybody knows what money is and when they hear money falling all over the place they have to react. So for me it is easier to work with and African audience 0r in Africa with some form of narrative even if its abstract. From the show at the Godown, most, some of the audience where people who were already exposed to contemporary dance so it is easier for them to sit and appreciate it and take in what is coming. There was also the audience from Nairobits, the young adults, the ones who were studying I felt that maybe they were not quite understanding and were seeking to try to understand but eventually with time as they stay at the Godown they will stop trying to understand and will react to it how they feel about it. I feel it was a great show considering the reaction from the audience- people actually hang around to discuss the pieces with us. It actually started almost on time and that was a good thing.
BRYTON: Actually, the idea I had is something that I was experimenting on with someone else so I tried it for the first week and it was tough – it didn't work out.
BRYTON: I was working with Razolo and the idea of memory – Sophiatou said that whatever I was feeding Razolo with was not working for his body and so it came like a challenge to me and so I just had to bring it down and maybe do it as a solo.
BRYTON: I gained a lot from the lab first and foremost being part of someone's idea at first I thought it was going to be somewhat hectic but in the end process things worked out and the positive part of it is that was we were able to achieve together with the idea holder what he or she wanted to come out.
BRYTON: Razolo's and Sarah's.
BRYTON: The theme was almost similar to worship kind of a totem something that you r put your faith to. From my Christian background at first it was like "Hey, I am going against my faith" and I had to do it. It means nothing.
BRYTON: Actually I don't know the statement because whatever they were speaking I couldn't hear them and for the chants we were making at the beginning I didn't understand anything so I was like – let me just do it.
BRYTON: Actually trying to express ourselves to this totem it's like we are fighting to ownership for this type of faith. So we were actually to express ourselves about the way we feel about what influences us more when we see the totem.
BRYTON: Sarah's project was the trickiest one of all – she was talking about behind the scenes of what the Mungiki women go through so actually I had to put myself in their shoes and actually portray the Mungiki woman.
BRYTON: First was trying to put my shape into a woman trying to form my body to become like a woman and really feel the pain because Sarah's body and my body are very different whenever she does a thing it is totally different from the way I would do it – maybe because I am masculine she's too soft and I am more open and for her she wanted it to be more of inside, personal.
BRYTON: She wanted us to express the agony that these people go through there is the issue of FGM, they are beaten up, they are never at peace. So we want to bring out the different issues they tackle on a daily to day life.
BRYTON: Actually, I didn't ask her about the strategy I was following rules.
BRYTON: The movement was coming out of oppression and pain. For example when someone is in pain holding the body – so the movement came from holding the body and then she tries and fuses it make it more of personal for the audience to see the pain and the oppression that she is going through.
BRYTON: Yes, it has, it has – and I am really eager to see the outcome.
BRYTON: I think from Sophiatou we have different interpretations of dance. For example, when we started working with Sophiatou she wanted us to think of nothing just release your body and put yourself in the mood for dance. Don't think too much as in, sometimes before we get to a rehearsal space we tend to think of what we are going to do - but in Sophiatu's case it was very different she was telling us just do anything and see the outcome so actually that posed a very big challenge because we are used to thinking too much and she didn't want us to think a lot.
BRYTON: Yes, she was giving us. It was up to you to come up with anything you think you can do.
BRYTON: I think she wanted to see how we are trained because we come from different backgrounds of dances. Some people started with contemporary others modern dance, others African traditional dance so I thinks she wanted to see the body language that we as the dancers had.
BRYTON: Number one thing is the strategy. For you to start working you must have a strategy and you must have a clear process of working, I think these are two very basic things that when as I dancer I focus on and put myself into I can really come out with something concrete and be able to explain what I have done and what I have gone through in the making of my work.
BRYTON: I have been with you before.
BRYTON: This time I think we didn't work much with you – you were very busy if I may say so trying to organise things here and there. But from the last time we worked I have also come to realise the different way people work and your way of working is very different from other peoples way because I have worked with other people before and I find it more of a challenge.
BRYTON: A challenge because of the training I went through when I started contemporary dance was so strict, you are doing this you have to stick to it you cannot pen your mind to other ideas and bring them together. So in this your way of working is more open you can fuse things from one place to another bring them together and see the outcome.
BRYTON: Working with Yann has been so nice. The different experiments and sound actually posed a challenge too. Because I remember, there was a time I was touching a wire making a sound. Good sound coming out of a wire. And you can also use the memory stick the one that comes out of a success card you can actually use it to make you can actually place it at a place and try and make a sound out of it. So to me sound class was the best of all Yaan really did a great job.
BRYTON: and also, we learnt there is a difference between music, there is a difference between sound and there is a difference between noise.
BRYTON: Yes, this is the first time. I have never done a workshop on sound. This is the first time
BRYTON: I think it worked out. It wasn't chaotic. For me I found and easy time.
BRYTON: The difficulty was the time. We started very early. Difficultly was time because the traffic jam hustling up and won but we made it.
BRYTON: I think it's a mind-set you have to adapt to and discipline.
BRYTON: Yesterday's performance was good, it went according to plan and from the reaction from some of the audience I got feedback from some actually didn't understand what we were doing and we understand and to some they got something not all people get an idea of what you are working on. So actually, it went out well. For me I enjoyed the performance being part of the performance was nice.
BRYTON: Last week's performance at Prestige Plaza was one of the most dramatic performances. Because having a moving audience in front of you, besides you or behind actually was something nice for me and the audience actually they were like prepared because from the moment we entered the space I can remember some people saying – fracas is just about to begin here so I was like which fracas? I don't know how the noticed we were performing but maybe because of the way we were dressing it was very simple. And the space also the different space of performance was actually very good.
BRYTON: What was challenging is that sometimes where I was going to perform I was afraid that I was not going to get an audience because it was at the cinema and by the time they were moving from space to space no one was there so I actually had to tell my colleagues can we have another location and from the location that we had I think it worked out well we had an audience and it was okay.
BRYTON: I am not sure of that. Actually I don't know maybe because I had dropped my ideas I thought that was knocking me out but I don't know I don't know. So wasn't disappointing because something I have git from the workshop I can still use and produce something good. So for my colleagues who are proceeding ahead I think they will learn more and by the time, they get back we will share on what they have learnt.
ALACOQUE: My idea was working with coins and basically, I was looking, in terms of coins, at the journey of money and where it started. Being a laboratory, I was free to experiment using some coins, trying to use stones because at certain particular areas or many years ago there were some places they used stones as a valuable substance or probably objects. So I wanted to explore that and see where it would take me and in terms of once there was an exchange for the stones basically to me it may be of value and to another person not of value so the initial thing I wanted to work with was one form of valuable substance the cleansing of it to another one. So I was thinking of a shower and how to take that. And through the journey in the laboratory I have worked with different artists different dancers and its different on how they react to that, subject and I got open to take what they think, which helped me to develop to the place where I was yesterday.
ALACOQUE: Surprising? Okay I feel like I need to work more and more. Having Yann in the project – him coming and saying why don't you record the sound because it has . . . I felt why not let's try it. And then with that sound and somebody standing it creates a strong image. So I was thinking in terms of advancing that – getting different kinds of coins – for sure they sound not the same – there's different sounds that they make. So that I get to work on different sounds of various coins. I was thinking in terms of putting different booths that is maybe to advance it to have like 4-5 booths with a person inside with sound, without a person with sound, with a lady, with two people inside, just to see that reaction. I'd love to explore just to explore - with a person moving, working with real coins, working without real coins but working with the sound of real coins on the other side, the other one working with the sound of the falling coin. Just to play with that. The other one tossing. Just to play with the different ways that we use the coins just to see where it will take me.
ALACOQUE: It's the same piece different people at the same time.
ALACOQUE: But I would love to see where it goes because I am thinking there is a booth I saw somewhere and I thought what if it goes inside there the piece because even for yesterday it's just that the piece is placed outside somewhere just a small section so in terms of now a boot with maybe holes or the doors open to give it the feel of that a real shower.
ALACOQUE: The first image came . . . I get to see our politicians. At one particular time - there's one who actually was with a chopper and dropped money to the people. There was different reactions down. Some people were stamped on and died but yet nobody could sense there was a dead man here you still keep going for the falling money . . . you run for it. It is later that after you finish running for it that's when you are like okay . . .but you have it already. So it is in terms of power but at times, it is with that image which now it's developing, it's actually taking to a different direction. The dancer just being there . . . and the sound of money, the action of another dancer coming and putting money and then dusting the coins away or smashing them– it creates something which now I don't know exactly where but my journey of the money where it came from and where even what I see today in terms of for instance the story of the politician with the money and dropping to the people I think it means something. So I was exploring all through the laboratory every time I had an opportunity I would do different things.
ALACOQUE: Yah – for now I am just interrogating the image, the sounds actually trying to go deeper into the materials I have. It's more into I am questioning why, how and let me go for it. If it works I, pick if it doesn't work I drop. I am just going deeper and deeper.
ALACOQUE: No, I don't risk myself.
ALACOQUE: Day one when I thought about this I invited, I talked to a few artists shared the idea then they say – it's a strong one but how do you go about it? I do it and I call someone them to come and see and this is my journey. So with that they see the image and they are like it's not working this one is working. Basically the process I am using is I introduce, I share , get feedback or get as much information as possible then I go inside and work then I call someone they come, we see together. With that, it has really helped me. Like day 1 with Sophiatou she came and said "that won't take me somewhere" and I was like okay then I think I will eliminate the coin. Not work with it and work with just a gesture of the same. I took it to my fellow students and they didn't like it then I brought the coins they are like "now we get it". So I decided to keep the coins. So I got a different dancer who had a very different way of reacting to money actually it was lady, Godie. Once it falls for her it's a shock and working with Dadi and myself the first piece it was just light it was like we have a lot of it and we are just carelessly putting it off and going through. But for her that sound meant a lot. Because the first thing I told her – when you hear this, what is your reaction? She couldn't figure it out until I gave her a lot of coins and when they went down, she had a shock. I was like wow that's interesting can we try that. And then I worked with that and then Adam came in I gave him the money same process and asked him what is your first instance if this is what you have. For him the first thing was to count it to know how much he has. Also, that was a nice process. It was just counting. We presented that and I felt like it was more focused - it was internal and it wasn't outside. So I tried like - know you have the money you know how much you have – lets work on top of a table. So we wanted to bring in a table basically and work on it. So I got a small platform and there I got the image. I was like that is interesting. So what if money comes from above? So the first thought that I had the first day of coins and shower – the journey took me back to the first idea. Which is interesting any way. So much interesting. You think of one thing you will go round but they bring you back. Even when I came to the point, I did not know. It was after sometime I looked to the e-mail I sent you I was like I am back exactly to the point but I didn't know how to deliver it. I had a series of process. Even at times, we couldn't do so much - the best thing we could do is to just talk, do something with it, and try to search for it. There is a notion that was in my head like if there is rain; a storm that is coming you can feel that there is something heavy that is coming. So I felt that if there is a rain of coins coming then there is a sound that comes from above. I took Yaan to the studio and I told him like now I want you to record the sound of falling coin. It's a joke he told like when ants fall they do make a sound. But the is as some sound that comes out of that action because there is friction between an object and air maybe at times we can't hear it. So we went to the studio Ketebul and got a room and we tried to search for that sound. It was basically more to research and actually, we got the sound we could hear the sound we also had to select specific coins and actually record the sound.
ALACOQUE: I think it is the echo that it creates once it goes.
ALACOQUE: I was searching for sound across. There is a day when we were doing with Adam in the studio you followed the coin and listening at the recording I could hear the zzzzzz it was so powerful. So I felt like this is something and I want it.
ALACOQUE: Yeah just moving. Just that sound.
ALACOQUE: In terms of the shower, if I got inside a shower and I open - there is a sound that comes - that force, the first force before it hits the ground.
ALACOQUE: So that it could give a feel of that journey.
ALACOQUE: There is one thing I learnt from Sophiatou. An idea and when you have so many things around you can't exactly go straight to the point. So pick 2or 3 and try to research on them.
ALACOQUE: You have an idea and then you look at maybe the effect in terms of the effect and I was working in terms of value. So I took value and journey and see the reaction of it. So I felt if I can have that just the sound to help create just state. That is why I was looking for that 1 sound. I don't know but I got it. I got the sound, which I felt if we had much time with, I could make sound with.
JARED: I am Jared and I come from Kenya, Nairobi.
JARED: I came with an idea that I wanted to work with. The idea was "The Monitor" and the idea was to pose a question on the media asking a question if we are ad dictated to the media. And in this case, the media entails everything from the newspaper to the TV to social media, Facebook, twitter and YouTube and also the radio. So from broadcast to the internet.
JARED: No, it's because. Yah sometimes ago I did feel like I was being affected by the media at the same time I could feel like also the people the Kenyan society especially in Nairobi are kind of being affected by the media. In one way or another, the media plays a central point in their life where what they have to do for each day in predetermined by the media. And at the same time the youth in Nairobi and the coming of the internet social media the Facebook and YouTube has shifted a lot among the youth and not only the youth but in the society. So this is what I wanted to ask questions on this and to see if I really I could make . . . I could have different approach of making a performance out of this. The Nairobi lab is a platform for trying the different choreographic methods of realising a project and I think that is what I tried to do all though it was never the thing for the first 2 and half or 3 weeks because somehow, something happened. I don't know where the mistake emerged from but the idea shifted from posing a question - to wanting to propose to the people of the media to make a different way of making the headlines. That somehow changed the thing and interfered with my original intention and it also had an impact in the process of my work even with the dancers.
JARED: I started this project with Sophiatou but I guess she has the good experience that this platform needed and I also believe that she is able to do this.
JARED: I liked the way of giving different or his way of getting to start the process of thinking on how you can view different...You can be a spectator of different performances - let me loosely call them performances even in the street or set theatre. So performances from conventional spaces to the street. I liked a lot his theory and I liked the process of working with Jean Christophe?
JARED: First of all I thought of Yann - I said to myself that probably Yann should have come during I the first week. Because I feel that he gave us what he could give within the short time of two weeks but this thing I feel that he still holds a lot that he could have given us but never the less I think what he gave is also very important for me start this process of questioning sound for me. I liked Yaan's way of giving class. I have several cases reference points to relate with how Yaan taught as it concerns sound in general and also his way of giving this to the students. I think that's also another thing that is very important- how you have an idea and how you try not to drum it in the student but try to make them in the same situation on the same level so that besides the idea there is nothing that takes the idea because of something which I don't know but the students only see the idea in a more simple way. I think Yaan had the ability to convey ideas in very simple ways so that you only focus on the idea but something that comes with this idea is very invisible which for me made me feel like I would also want to know more about sound.
JARED: First for me the laboratory, I take it simply as a learning process. I think it's at a point when I also have to ask myself to be real with my own self that all that I learn I think a lot was given in the laboratory and most of it I think at this point in my life as a dancer I think it relates more to the next phase I would want to go as a dancer and not trying to only focus only on what I am always doing but on the other choices that have been taught. For my work in the laboratory, I think it was a good thing to present this work in the laboratory since their emerged also some other ways of still working the idea so that I now have different choices to make. Maybe to approach it in direction which is the original direction that I probably used or to approach it with the different alternatives that I have been given in this lab.
JACK: Yes I did.
JACK: The title of the idea was "place of worship" and I was just questioning where is the [place of worship as in church or in social gathering. By this, I mean that people go to church to say thanks; people go to church to pray for whatever they are doing in their lives and to worship in different ways. And nowadays we find that the same thing happens in social gatherings. Some of the people gout in clubs or discotheque just to say thank yu to what they believe in, for whatever has happened in their lives maybe promotion at work or whatever positive things they have encountered in their lives. So this is the only way they know how to say thank you or to give back. So it was not an idea to say that this right or this is wrong – it was just sharing and posing a question.
JACK: Well I think she is a wonderful person and in working with her, I can say it was a great moment because she had this kind of approach in her work, which was specific. She was kind of a perfectionist.
JACK: I also think he is a great guy.
JACK: I think Jean-Christophe is a great guy. I liked the way he approached his idea. It is only that sometimes I had a problem especially in the lab with the way he approached the project.
JACK: By the way, I mean sometimes I did not find the way of approaching the idea as per the lab that each and every choreographer was supposed to explore and work on the ideas depending on what they feel or want from the inside. But sometimes he did like manipulating ideas and kind of forcing certain directions which well is not bad but as per the idea of the lab I thought it Is was kind of way out a little bit.
Jack: Exactly. He was kind of imposing his ideas in the choreographers' ideas and kind of forcing things to work in the direction he was seeing it and not the choreographer or the people who were working in the project. So I don't know if it was alright for other choreographer but for me I found it a bit disturbing.
JACK: Yann is a great guy. I think he is a crazy guy with sound. It is only that it is a shame I did not have, I mean I dint have a chance to work with him in my project.
JACK: I did find him a great guy. I observed him working with other choreographers and participants in other projects it's only that I didn't have a chance to work with him in my project. But the way I observed the way he approached his work and other people's ideas I think it's very great.
JACK: Well I think the experience was fair and I had the opportunity to again see how others approach their work, their choreography, different ideas and different forms of approach and I think it was great.