Photography by David Snowden & Gemma Smith
The Soul Birds
In May and June '17, SpinDrift partnered up with Cornwall College and Farflung Dance Theatre, co- authored a Dance Theatre promenade performance with over 100 cast members at Pinetum Gardens. The project and director Suzie West 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 art 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.
Suzie West directed 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 Suzie West delivering 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.
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.
Site For Sore Eyes
With support from FEAST, Arts Council England , Hall for Cornwall and Heritage venues, SpinDrift have been collaborating with a range of secondary schools, youth groups and local dance communities to develop creative responses to local sites. The focus of this project was to share viewpoints, celebrate plural perspectives and set up a sand pit of new ideas in heritage sites.
This December there were two projects:
Forever Eve: Was a combined dance theatre production by All Boys Dance, Hall for Cornwall Youth Dance Company and SpinDrift, bringing old Cornish folk stories and history of Penlee House back to life with a Steam Punk twist. Inspired by black and white achieve photographs,, lantern walks, Celtic gods and the Dickensian tale of The Christmas Carol, The young dancers worked with Suzie West and Rob Mennear to develop a promenade performance.
Clay Walks: Is the beginning of a co-autorship between Cornwall College, SpinDrift, Wheal Martyn, Treviglas School and Continuum Dance. As an initial exploration of the site we invited our collaborators to beautiful old mine, to share ideas, ignite adventure and creativity. The day included storytelling and dance workshops for the 40 students, guided walks around the site and a promenade performance of scratch pieces commissioned by SpinDrift. These included Kali by Kay Crook, Daughter by Emily Woodman and White River by Becca Moss, Suzie West and Sophie Northmore.
The next creative day will be Clay Walks CPD Session in February for all teachers, practitioners and collaborators. If you would like to express an interest in our summer community production, please sign up to the twilight.