Like Kenneth, I was asked to take part in this project by Jane Hackett. Having watched Pina Bausch’s elders project, which I found exciting, I believed that taking part in a similar experiment would be a huge inspiration. It is! Working with Jonathan Burrows is a joy and opened areas of dance that I had previously never had the chance to explore. The choreographer Frederick Ashton, with whom I had worked during the 1960s, encouraged improvisation but within a balletic framework. With Jonathan, any movement is acceptable and since I haven’t danced or performed for some time, this was essential for me. I hadn’t anticipated having a frozen shoulder either and this of course has restricted my movement range but it has also caused me to be more innovative.
Interestingly, my movement memory is still informed by the choreographers in whose dances I performed, chiefly, Bronislava Nijinska and Ashton. When Jonathan asked for each movement to be given equal value, it was difficult. Both Ashton and Nijinska required contrast, some movements should dominate over others. This approach is evident in my embodied style and it was challenging to move otherwise. Another inspirational moment was watching Brian perform the Cecchetti port de bras, this must surely be its most perfect rendering and a further example of embodied movement style. Our training allows us to do some things but not others, at least that is until we are aware of this. For the audience, I anticipate that watching a group of dancers from very different dance backgrounds will prove to be engaging, particularly because of Jonathan’s inspirational choreography which is both humorous and innovative.