In the first lock down, I spent most of the spare time in my Grandparent's back garden. I isolated for 3 months and didn't leave their home once during that period. That is the longest amount of time I have ever stayed in one place. I found magic in the garden, I have processed the ups and downs of the first part of the pandemic in a garden and connected with nature. @Dancedrawguy on Instagram sketched some of my instagram videos of me dancing during these times. This dance is where the Secret Garden concept developed, I just didn't know it at the time, and many concepts, conversations and experiences since have helped me to connect multiple themes and ideas to begin to reimagine the story of 'The Secret Garden'
11/27/2022 0 Comments
11/26/2022 0 Comments
Exploring the Literary Garden
11/26/2022 0 Comments
The Heart of THE STORM
11/26/2022 0 Comments
11/25/2022 0 Comments
CREATIVE PRACTICE Contents
-Future Vision, Mission and Values
-Dance and Movement Practices
-Phygital- dancing between the interface of physical and digital
-Children and Young People
-Safeguarding, Ethical Practice, Sensitivity exploring challenging subject matter
-Reimagining children's literature
-The Secret Garden Remixed
-Artistic Ideas arising to be explored further
11/24/2022 0 Comments
An attempt at a poem
Dancing in the fabric, is where I feel most free.
Dancing for possibility, between hope and regret.
We rise and we fall. We dance in the spaces in between, exploring duality.
We improvise freely with no desire to set.
Stimulating our cells, and lived body, as this sculpture takes form,
We lean to the rippling waves in the sea of choreographic choices,
To express what it means to survive the storm.
We came here to connect, to heal, to endure, to escape, to learn, to listen to multiple voices.
Finding the shade, to take shelter from the wind. We take in the air.
We feel the presence of new energies, a responsibility to create a culture of care,
Contemplating position, direction and outlook of this imaginary transformative space.
Connected to the stretch and motion of the fabric, the tapestry of this new normal.
Feeling the challenges, the tensions, and lifting my gaze,
A space for blue sky thinking, discussion and play.
Many paths to meander, we start dancing.
Listening to each moment. Feeling what it has to say.
A large white flag of surrender to what is advancing,
Dancing in the space between these four walls.
Allowing the fabric to move freely, to suspend and to find stories untold.
The flow of feelings and creativity. A desire to escape, nature calls.
We breathe, we embrace, we support and we allow our ideas to unfold.
This is my creative haven. As I reignite concepts and find new connections.
Finding my way through, and holding the score.
Unpacking, uncovering, undoing and unfurling, I gather my questions.
Breathing, sensing, being, meta- cognition, bodily feelings, as we explore.
This dance is surrender.
This dance is truth.
This dance is free.
This dance is ebb and flow.
The dance is me.
This dance is…
11/23/2022 0 Comments
Dancing in the garden, is where I feel most free.
Dancing for possibility, between hope and regret.
I stumble across a mighty big tree.
I improvise freely, and craft a small responsive vignette.
As I design this imaginary garden of fake believe.
I lean to the sunlight in my co-ordination of choreographic choices,
I came here to connect, to heal, to endure, to escape, to learn, to express myself freely.
To stimulate and sustain a vision for the wellness garden, shaped by multiple voices.
Finding the shade, to take shelter from the wind. I feel the presence of nature so deeply.
Contemplating position, direction and outlook of this imaginary transformative space.
Sat at the base of the tree, Lifting my gaze, to the nests, within the branches.
A space for blue sky thinking, permaculture and play.
Many paths, of intricate paving, I start dancing.
Pretty flowering plants every colour of the rainbow surrounding me as I dance my cares away.
Dancing in the space beyond the walls.
This is my creative haven. Noticing the wildlife in the pond’s reflections.
The flow of feelings and creativity. Nature calls.
Sitting on the swings. I gather my questions.
Moving as I filled my lungs with air from outdoors.
Unearth what might get in the way in my creative hub.
Long grasses. Beautiful trees with stories to tell.
Over grown, overspilling borders. Ever green shrubs.
Greenery. Permeable ground. An imaginary wishing well.
Greenery. Permeable ground.
Roses climbing the wall. Landscapes filled with endless potential.
The musical score of bird sounds.
Open spaces to run, skip, play.
To crawl through the overgrown meadow.
Through green open spaces, and nature’s display.
To sit on the swings, and gain height and momentum,
A space to connect to my truest self and to find my way.
To climb the tree to the highest points, to enjoy a different view of the garden.
This dance is free. The dance is permaculture.
In this relaxing sanctuary. This garden will flourish.
As artists we find ourselves in challenging times of uncertainty. Some times I feel like I’m in a collective game of overcoming like the huger games The Hunger Games, Squid Game of trying to keep going to pursue my life mission. It’s over whelming and at times exhausting, I need dance to find the lightness, the joy, the oxygen to fuel this desirable dance to change the world. It can feel much heavier than it needs to be. This shifting dance between macro, micro viewpoints is what keeps me going. I affirm to myself that I am still here doing it, despite graduating into a recession, despite never really having the money to do it in the ideal way, despite failing my 11+ at the age of 11, despite my unique way of learning and making sense of the world, despite feeling the noise of media narratives, other voices, and external factors, despite societal conditioning, challenging circumstances at various points in my life and brief moments of burnout where it has felt all too much. Despite all of this, I’m here doing it, and it is hard, but so far, I haven’t given up on myself, ideas, the people I work with, and my optimimistic manifesto which I often doubt. I don’t believe I’m a super hero, I have a loud imposter, and when I’m presented with an opportunity I sometimes let fear take the wheel. This is where I’m grateful for a crew, collaboration and people that see beyond all that stuff, to listen to what I’m not saying and to get to know me on a human level to understand why I might be the way that I am. Stories are nuanced and multi- faceted and I listen for what is not being said, just as much as I listen to what is. At the moment my creative will power is thinner on the ground at present, but I’m doing my very best to continue and to make a difference to people and communities in the Northwest and further a field through my work. I am hopeful for a sea change! In times where I feel I have reached a dead end. The question ‘what can I do in the mean time?’ Has allowed me to follow a path dancing in to the unknown. I am grateful to have such a wonderful network of people around me. Being a creative is a huge privilege, and even though at times I am not satisfied, I am hungry, and unfulfilled, I am aware of the dualities that exist within me, and how 16 year old Lauren would have marvelled at this weird, varied life. I used to feel a great deal of shame for wanting to dance in the extra ordinary parameters of what life could be, and this led me to find a dance between the duality of never feeling satisfied and feeling completely content with the ordinary aspects of life. I’m at a place where I would like to connect some dots, and that’s a wonderful place to be to create catalytic change, and to allow people to find peace and fulfilment. This feels like my own language here. Dancing in the spaces between language, feelings, behaviours, actions, knowledge, the giant gaps of the unknown. This is artistic territory. There is truth in my creative pursuits and I feel like I’m dancing at the heart of this endeavour. The endeavour to embed myself with people and communities, and to listen and learn with them in the hope that
"Chance favours The Connected Mind." Steven Johnson
(Johnson, S. (n.d.). Where good ideas come from. TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from?language=en)
This piece of writing aims to begin to connect the dots and identify emergent themes in my process orientated practice and to free me from the burdens I am facing today. Drawing my practice together sometimes feels like a challenging task. I feel that ‘The Secret Garden’ work is an opportunity to draw some learning together in a creative output, however I am meandering through, connecting ideas in a slow, long incubation period. Every conversation I have is research, every lived experience shapes my thinking around my own story, my creative voice, collectivism and connectivity. This MA is allowing me to map the learning journey of my creative pursuits and to identify common themes that are emerging in all of my areas of practice. Sitting within emergent open systems of cultural learning, creativity, culture and community development to connect with other people’s ideas, to enable ideas, to explore with by and for children and young people.
"Placemaking is both a philosophy and a practical process for transforming public spaces. It is centered on observing, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work, and play in a particular space in order to understand their needs and aspirations for that space and for their community as a whole.” (The Placemaking Process. (2022, August 19). Home — Project for Public Spaces. https://www.pps.org/article/5-steps-to-making-places)
All of my work sits within a place making agenda of some sort. I work with a place based approach, and my role shifts depending on where I am, and who I am working with. At present, I am part of ‘Create Place: the placemaking and co-creation leadership programme’ by Staffordshire University. I have attended a ‘Dance in the North’ network meeting, and attended various hyper local placemaking development meetings in towns and cities in my region of the Northwest with a desire to connect my artistic practice to the placemaking agendas. My previous dance development work with Cheshire Dance was instrumental in broadening my perspectives and world views concerning creativity, culture and place. One of my favourite moments was seeing a youth led festival in the town of Northwich, come to life, where children and families got up and danced in their town and children and young people brought that to life.
“As a Dance Artist working with Cheshire Dance since late 2015, Lauren has shown commitment both to her own artistic practice and to the development of the art form and opportunities for others to participate in it.
She is an incredibly passionate artist who is reflexive in her practice ensuring that she is always developing her approaches to create the highest quality work possible.
Her choreography is detailed, engaging and accessible and she works in such a way that she challenges both herself and the dancers so that she gets the best both out of the dancers and the material.
She is very welcoming of feedback and when shaping her work she values the voices of diverse stakeholders including audiences, artistic peers and those engaged in the subject matter she is exploring.
I believe a period of investment in her creative practice will have a profound effect on her practice and the work she will subsequently create. Ideally the model or approach she develops during this time will be replicable and enable her to work with other organisations thus scaling up her practice to the next level.”
Jane McLean- Cheshire Dance
At present I am just working on taking each step as it is presented to me, trying not drown in the noise concerned with the current fiscal climate, arts and cultural investment. I am in this for the long term, despite all of these challenges. I am deeply aware of the impact of our systemic issues, decision making, how we can use our voices to open gates, and to develop our systems to be more inclusive and transparent, to explore and challenge my role and responsibility to the future of the children and young people and our creative sector and Dance in the North. I trust that these tender challenges will remove division and enable freedom. We will dance together, again, again and again! (And as I write this, a spectrum of rainbow light, catches my hands, and I can feel it- The hopeful rainbow I mean!)
11/18/2022 0 Comments
Returning to Digital...
This week my passion planner academic diary reads "In stillness and presence we align with our power." Ilea Angaza The passion planner expands on this notion by adding "This week try to find the beauty in the mundane, the sophistication in the simple. and the miraculous nature in the present moment." (How do you reference a passion planner in APA7th?)
My portfolio of choreographic outputs to date includes some born digital works including 'Alexa, Take Me Back To Reality' www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn6vZOxWhMA , 'Alexa, Make Me Disappear' www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQuy7z1PxOYand 'Neverland: Our Story in Pixels' These ideas have been enhanced by digital technologies. In the past I have struggled to identify as a digital artist, mainly due to my lack of digital patience, rather than my digital desire. However in 2018, I became increasingly interested in what digital can do for dance. I am deeply curious about how technology can amplify, augment, disturb and disrupt artist's creative agendas. I am also excited connection and disconnection prospects, and how the meeting of the the physical and digital interface might engage new audiences and reimagine the participatory performance experience. There is a lot of potential in this undiscovered, rapidly evolving world. 2020 allowed artists to begin very exciting conversations with our communities about how digital could enhance what we already do.
This week I participated in a workshop space, where I was introduced to the Mocap facilities, and discussion exploring the possibilities and potential of MOCAP and dance in collaboration. On Monday 14th November, I entered the Green Screen room forgetting that I had hoped of walking in to a space like this many years back. I felt very focussed on my explorations of grief, the Secret Garden, play with a military parachute, an international project that I am a part of, the leadership conversations taking place in the 'Create Place' programme. Whenever I attempt to move away from the digital element within my practice, I am pulled back and drawn to it. It felt like a 'blue sky thinking dreaming session' where I was able to engage in collaborative conversations about what might be possible to explore during my masters study. For many years know I have explored the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of digital dance forms, and I have always faced barriers concerning and a lack of resources, facilities, and digital collaborator. So this was a welcomed possibility for the development of my creative practice.
I consider myself to be a proactive artist and most of my endeavours have been pushed for from me, or by the communities I engage with. This week has been different as the Green Screen Lecture was organised for us, I welcomed the encouragement from Debbie and Elisa to integrate the technology in to my work. I am reminded that sometimes my initial resistance doesn't mean that I'm not curious, sometimes it is fear around not knowing how I would pull it off. These are the best places to be in, but I can still shy away from them, or think of other artists that might be better suited to working in these spaces. I have a habit of doing that, and I do love that quality about me, but I recognise that it is a trait of my imposter syndrome.
The session opened up more questions and potential hurdles around how I can marry all of the disciplines together, particularly twith the aerial rig being in one building, the tree in peel park in another and the mocap studio in another place. This initially put me off, however in the past I have challenged myself to create work in impossible conditions in the pandemic, creating between multiple locations via zoom and it resulted in an innovative approach to working with people, an Alexa, a dancer in Cornwall via zoom, and Open Online Theatre based in London for audiences all over the globe, in partnership with Together, formerly known as MDI. This means that I am excited about how I will bring all of these explorations together, and how digital might be able to enable the merging of all practices and locations.
Despite moments of doubt and a lack of confidence in my abilities to realise collaborative ideas, I have returned to this idea of Freedom/ Escape and how 'The Secret Garden' might be able to integrate principles of escape rooms, challenge and reward systems to earn the code breaker code: freedom, leading to a culminating multi-disciplinary dance work to lead outdoors and allow audiences to unplug and to connect with what's really important; people, nature, outdoor spaces, playfully expressing themselves and being part of a collective experience. It feels very ambitious, in a time where the cost of living is rising. I am a resilient artist and digital thinker and I will find a way. Ideas take time, and thinking space. I have discovered that when I allow myself to do nothing, I realign with my creative power.
I know how lucky I am to be able to begin exploring the hybrid forms of Motion Capture, and will find the time to utilise the facilities and resources, and embed them within my multi-disciplinary practice. My reflections help me to make sense of this choreographic process as it is unfolding.
Links to previous digital dance improvisations at Middlesex University: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n24Q-Bok_w and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfpXExJL5uc&t=145s
This tiny reel made and edited for instagram blends aerial harness vertical dance and IG Filters...
This section of the website will include reflections for Lauren's MA Study. This page is linked to Lauren Tucker's studies and creative practice which is broader than the work of Tuckshop Dance Theatre. Please enjoy my reflections in this learning journey.
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