Photography by David Snowden & Gemma Smith
The Soul Birds
This May, SpinDrift partnered up with Cornwall College and Farflung Dance Theatre, co- authored a Dance Theatre promenade performance with over 100 cast members this Spring at Pinetum Gardens. The project set out to bring the dancing community of St Austell together and begin an annual tradition as a new enterprise called Stomping Ground: annual cross arts performance in a local space that brought a rich mix of people together to collaborate towards a shared vision.
The Soul Birds was inspired by a permanent at installation in the beautiful Pinetum Gardens, celebrating the children philosophy book The Soul Bird. As the many groups of dancers began to co-author the work, the themes of love, memories, souls and secrets emerged to embellish the gardens with poetry, music and dance. Suzie West directed the project but ensured that the choreography was owned by the entire cast and worked closely with Farflung dancers, SpinDrift performers Daisy Harrison, Miranda Howard, lecturers Jess Leonard and Sarah Matthews and performance artists Emily Faulkner, Nathan Marshall and Rob Mennear to weave narrative and movement vocabulary together.
The cast of over 100 from 6years old to 70 performed a matinee and evening show in June to huge audiences including families, visitors to the gardens, local Memory Cafe participants and St Austell locals.
SpinDrift were commissioned by the Plymouth Pheonix Chorale,
and Plymouth Fringe Festival to cultivate a series of performance opportunities for local dancers and schools in public spaces. This began with workshops with PSCA to produce a 30's inspired piece to be danced to the Chorale's singers at both Tinside Lido and Royal William Yard in May.
These young dancers were accompanied by SpinDrift Dance Collective's work Estimation, Ladies of Landfill, EYDC and local improvisors to take their dance work Outside to the public. The dancers peppered the Barbcian, Hoe, Royal William Yard and Town Centre with performances and also raised money for charity. The pieces were brought to public that would not have seen dance in the theatre and we gave up counting how many people stopped and watched... at least 500!! Inside Out, Outside Skin closed with a performance in The Royal William Yard in an old warehouse. We are obsessed with old bookings and think this might be a focus next year for the Fringe Festival.
We returned to Plymouth in June for another collaborative performance with Plymouth Pheonix Chorale, this time with Eggbuckland Community College. The young dancers performed to the live choir and jazz quintet and waved around the full tables of the Picnic Proms in the amazing Plymouth Guildhall. SpinDrift performed improvised pieces to the Chilcott Tryptich with apprentices from Callington Community College.
SpinDrift are resident at Mounts Bay Academy in Penzance and are working with the young investigators and science teachers with a piece of Action Research. The Year 8 students have spent June and July investigating the stories - be it scientific, historic, folk or artistic- of Porthcurno. We visited The Minack and viewed local storytellers. took a tour of The Telegraph Museum and wondered the beaches and hand carved coastal paths in search for compelling places. Each investigator look their own course and found something that inspired them. They produced outcomes in their own art forms; music of underwater sound waves, poetry about the power of nature, monologues from prehistoric rocks, etchings about the changing cliffs, folk tales of the rock formations and dances inspired by rocks, patterns and smugglers.
The work is currently on exhibition at Mounts Bay Academy and a short film is being made of their amazing creativity, open mindedness and enquiring minds. SpinDrift have really enjoyed being a part of their creative journey and will be running another Wild project with a chance for the investigators to pass on their experiences to primary and secondary schools in St Ives, Falmouth and Penzance.
With the support of Sterts Theatre, Lois Taylor and The National Trust SpinDrift spent the midsummer weekend co creating a piece inspired by the memories and sensations of midsummer. The dancers from Callington Community College and Liskeard School worked with Becky Miles, Lucy Freeman, Suzie West and apprentices Caitlin Moore and Ellie Petherick Davies at Sterts Theatre. We played, explored, planned and rehearsed together to prepare for a weekend of performances and Photoshoots at Cotehele House and Gardens and Sterts Midsummer Youth Dance Platform.
The young dancers are excited about performing with SpinDrift again in the Autumn as they design their own site specific performances in their local area.