More Questions (D.A.N.C.E #4)

More Questions (D.A.N.C.E #4)

This is the fourth blog in a series of blogs from Daniel Nicholas, comedian and creative producer about his project D.A.N.C.E


Due to a complete lack of time management on my part (hey I was doing a masters!) I’m only just getting back to this blog. Since then we’ve had 2 more D.A.N.C.E shows and a residency at Dance4's international Centre for Choreography, which in total presented more questions than answers.

The weekend was designed to put comedians and dancers in a room together (5 each, and different on both days), to see what would happen, what could they learn from each other, what similarities or differences are there. I was particularly interested in using this time to gather comedians and dancers thoughts on the subject, as during a regular D.A.N.C.E event, there is a considerable lack of time to really explore as we are getting ready for a show that evening, as such this felt like there was a much more relaxed atmosphere to the day.

It became apparent throughout the weekend that actually comedians are quite used to working alone and that dancers thrive in collaboration. This is something all though I probably suspected for some time, however it really came to light this weekend, as performers were pit together to try and devise something new.

It’s of course difficult as well, of keeping that focus for the comedian, when they are trying to do their set, a set they may have done a million times before, but having a dancer there can be slightly distracting, I guess the answer here then is try to establish an environment where the comedian and the dancer are making a thing together, rather than a dancer trying to react to already existing piece of material, this is one of the main objectives I set out to do during the weekend, and asked both types of performers to work together to create something new to present to the others.

A few of the comedians just used existing material, others created new work, but generally there was a feeling that sharing that writing process was quite difficult. This isn’t surprising, and really fair enough to happen, as comedians are so often on the road by themselves, so often writing by themselves, so often performing by themselves. Whereas dancers, although solo work does happens, there is a much more of a collaborative culture within the industry, from choreographing to workshops, there is a lot of group work going on.

Another thing I noticed was that actually the line of comedy becomes thin, and actually when you mash and put these two art forms together, it’s becoming more performance art – funny performance art - more than anything else, this of course is not a bad thing but it makes you wonder about marketing, and actually how can you articulate to audience what the event is. It’s unique in such a way that it’s hard to manage that expectation.

Overall though the residency itself was a great experience, and I think a lot of the performers got something out of, however it’s hard to say if we are any closer to understanding if it’s possible for these two art forms to share the space on stage together or not.

Since the residency we’ve had another show in Leicester a Video of which you can watch here:

By this many shows in, on a personal level I feel much more confident in leading the day as a whole, and understanding the needs and wants of the performers and how to effective manage the time needed to get the show ready.

As I write this there is only two more shows left of the project, we have one coming up in a couple of weeks at the Attenborough Arts Centre (Leicester), which will be disability focused, and feature comedians and dancers who identify themselves as having a disability, and the final event of the year will be taking place at Dance4's iC4C in Nottingham as part of Nottingham Comedy Festival.
Up coming events...

Sunday 29 October, 7PM
Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester LE1 7HA
Tickets: £5

Sunday 12 November, 8PM
Dance4's iC4C, Nottingham NG3 2AR
Tickets: £5

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