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Interview: Next Door Dance

6 July 17 words: Hazel Ward

There's bleddy loads to love about making a home in Notts, and dance troupe Next Door Dance agree: their new piece Home asks peeps what a Notts home means to them...

Photo Credit: Ralph Barklam

Photo Credit: Ralph Barklam

Who are Next Door Dance?

Laura: There's myself, Laura, Georgie, and Louise. We have another dancer called Hayley, and another dancer/director Jennifer, but she's currently travelling the world.

Georgie: Five dancers altogether, from Nottingham.

 

What's your mission?

Georgie: To promote dance, and make accessible contemporary dance. Accessible, fun, contemporary dance everyone should do.

Louise: And to reach out to the community. We're quite community-driven. We want to connect to the people that are around us.

 

How did you get together?

Laura: We are all practitioners based in Nottingham - individual freelancers - teaching at school and colleges, and we would meet and bump into each other at classes or workshops and we started working together. We thought it was a bit silly that there's not really a company based in Nottingham and we were all willing to create work individually, so it made sense really. We all got on anyway, as friends. Give Nottingham a dance company.

 

How about your style and influences?

Laura: The work we're creating is quite dance theatrey. We're all from a contemporary background though. We've all trained in contemporary dance but the work that we create is more towards dance theatre. It's not just pure dance, pure movement, it's very theatrical.

Georgie: It's hard, because our style has come from the nature of our work.

Louise: We're all about creating something fun and witty.

Georgie: There's definitely a light-hearted wittiness to our work.

 

What led to Home?

Georgie: It's a Playhouse piece. It's a collaboration between the Playhouse and Fiona Buffini - she's sat there, nodding her head! - and Next Door Dance.

Laura: It came about because they supported us through the making of our other show, the Beautiful Game and we connected with Fiona who's been a massive support. Her ideas started this. So we’re working collaboratively with Fiona. This is a small project that could potentially be part of a large project in the future.

 

Who have you asked as part of your process?

Laura: All sorts.  We've got quite a list of people. We've obviously got our friends and family. We've got elderly people in care homes, people that aren't in their own homes anymore. We’ve got young children, teenagers, adults with learning difficulties, a gentleman that's in supported living.

Georgie: All sorts of different homes. We're also talking to an estate agent about their view of home

Laura: Yeah, what their view of home is. Ourselves, we've been interviewed ourselves.

 

What the best part of having a home in Nottingham?

Laura: The best part for me is friends and family. But then the city itself, I like all the underground art stuff we've got going on. The music scene, art scene and how it's growing at the moment.

Georgie: I actually love that it's quite compact. It's not a massive city. You can get around it in a day, no where's too far too travel. It feels quite warming and homey as a city. There a centre - there's the Market Square, that feels like a bit of a hub. It's not like a mission to get there.

Louise: I'm actually not from Nottingham and I think people in have been very open-armed and welcomed me into the city itself. It's vibrant, things are growing. There's always something happening. All very exciting

 

How about worst?

Georgie: I don't hate much in Nottingham.

Laura: Roadworks.

Georgie: Roadworks, yeah!

Laura: I'd like more independent shops. We have a lot of independent bars and restaurants. I'd like independent clothes shops.

Georgie: I'm sure there will be something. I'll think of it later!

 

What does home means to you?

Laura: It's friends and family. Somewhere you can go and be totally yourself.

Georgie: It's warm, it’s cosy, it’s your space. It's you.

Louise: Somewhere you can build for yourself and make your own.

Georgie: It's full, it's vibrant, it's full of laughter and love.

 

How will you translate people's answers into a dance piece?

Georgie: Good question - go see the show! [laughs]

Laura: We're doing that now as we speak. We've lots of different sections. Not all of it is movement. Some of it is very minimal movement, some of it is very movementy.

Georgie: Some of it's light-hearted, some of it isn't. It's a roller coaster in the emotions of home and what home means to people. Because it means a lot of different things to some people. It's always laughter and love. Through voiceover as well in the show it will be real people's accounts and views of home.

Laura: Every time we talk about each section we're really trying to put our own experiences as well to try and help us get the feeling so it's not just pure movement. We've trying to remember what those feelings feel like for each of the sections. Even though it might be somebody else's story, we're still trying to relate it to ourselves and remember what those stories feel like.

Louise: We've got lots of props, an ever-changing set, some installations. Don’t want to give too much away.

Georgie: It's a lot of fun so far. You wait for the sofa section!

 

What do you think of the dance scene in Notts?

Georgie: We have to be careful about this one! I think for youth dance there's lots going on. It's booming, it's really good, and there's lots of stuff for grassroots. Lots for 11-18. Load of contemporary dance and lots of high quality teaching and high-quality delivery.

Laura: We're very lucky to have the new Dance4 space. It's very beautiful. It's amazing, we couldn't ask for anything more. Our youth company is based there, the Next Door Dance youth company. It's a growing scene, Dance 4 have lots of people visiting but they’re from all over.

Georgie: It's on the up!

 

How about dance in general?

Georgie: I think the style of contemporary dance has really taken a turn in the last couple of years. Street was massive a while ago, the diversity scene.

Laura: Hip hop theatre is getting bigger and bigger. It's really growing. It's often a collaboration of hip-hop, contemporary and theatre, and that's really developing.

Georgie: It's nice for the public to see more contemporary dance, because it is getting there. Five, ten years ago anyone would have gone 'oh, it's either ballet or street'.

Laura: It's obviously something that we were conscious of because our things ids creating accessible work, so it's something we've thought about as a company, because we want to create contemporary work that is a bit more accessible to the public

Louise: Trying to inspire people that don't usually go to the theatre to go to the theatre and see these arts forms and try something new, but also such an alien thing to them, so they come out of the theatre going, "I really didn’t know what that was about at all."

Georgie: It's hard to say things through just movement.

Laura: I sometimes go to the theatre and watch a show and come out and go, no, I don't really have any idea of what that was about but I quite like that sometimes.

 

You can make up your own story...

Laura: Yeah, I always try to read the programme notes after I've watched the performance to see whether what I thought it was about, it was actually about. Sometimes it's surprising and sometimes it's not so surprising, but it's a nice game to play.

 

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