Our first week of performances at Tate Britain has been a story of many parts but as a director and observer I’ve been most aware of the narrative of shifting; shifting bodies, shifting patterns, shifting visitors, shifting light, shifting energies. Whilst our company of professionals have a deep understanding of moving bodies, our non-professional girls have had to swiftly learn how to switch the pathways improvised around and with each other in the performance, and develop a hyper awareness of all the other bodies in the movement space, the gallery. A gallery audience (or, ‘visitors’ in this context), is unpredictable: it talks, it is silent, it ignores, it follows, it stays put, it moves into your space, it doesn’t move out of your space. Gallery visitors add a new layer of expertise our younger performers have had to take on.
These girls are extraordinary in their acceptance of this new state.
In our early prep for this new version of the piece there was a hankering after returning home, to be performing in the venue they knew, where they could trust that the space didn’t shift, that all eyes were on them and that the choreography they owned was entirely in their hands. After a week of performances these men and girls have honed their super powers and accepted that each time they step into those galleries, although they know everything, they also know nothing. It’s an exhilarating, terrifying, exhausting place to be, but we like it.