For this residency Gillie will be working on something she is calling Folk Dance. Interested by the clarity with which folk dance presents itself as directly meaning-making, but meaning-making for a specific group of people at a specific time. Gillie wants to research towards a performance which addresses its audience as an identified, identifiable set of individuals in the way a folk dance might. She is also interested in the ways in which folk dance forms are invested in the same kind of alternative excellences that appear in experimental choreography, creating structures for the apprehension and critical appreciation of those forms.

In Folk Dance, Gillie will make a score for a solo performance lasting up to 30 minutes. This choreography will explore the notion of a folk dance and its capacity to carry forth social, community and personal histories. On a formal level, rather than go straight for appropriation of existing folk dance forms, Gillie draws on inspiration from Yvonne Rainer’s ‘Trio A,’ with its careful borrowing from a broad range of dances, manipulated and presented afresh through careful choreographic constraints. Gillie’s other current inspirations are the music videos of both Knowles sisters as well as her, in her words, “very hard and very enjoyable weekly step aerobics class at the gym.” The intention is that this score will be performed by a solo dancer in their home, in a tour that meets many people in homes with and without institutional support.

This proposal relates to recent work around professional performance with non-professional performers. It pursues existing interests in dance-as-leisure and how to invoke that sensibility whilst retaining quality. It continues a serious silliness from previous work, a tongue-in-cheekness that works to make accessible a strong politic and deep ethic of practice. In this research, Gillie returns to the solo form, beginning with her own dancing body, a body which is typically excluded from professional contemporary dance.


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