Keep it Moving: Working with Luke Brown Dance
We were so fortunate to work with Luke Brown Dance on our latest R+D of Dorian Gray at the Point. We caught up with Luke, and our Director in the room Daniel Harris, about the experience of collaborating on our latest show!
Could you tell us a bit about who you are, what you do and why you love it!
My name is Luke Brown and I am the Artistic Director of Luke Brown Dance Company based in Southampton, Hampshire. I am an independent artist and enjoy creating emotionally & accessible performances combining dance, text, storytelling and striking design. I graduated from London Studio Centre back in 2012 and my work includes ‘For You I Long the Longest’ which toured in 2016, 2018; ‘Princess’ performed at the National Theatre's River Stage 2019 supported by Frantic Assembly. The Dandelion Child R&D supported by ACE in Dec 2019. I love to be able to create collaboratively, exploring ideas and digging in to ideas fully to really unearth exciting possibilities. Connecting with new people through the stude, stage and screen is a very special thing and I am so glad to be able to do this again after the past year.
What was it like to be back in a rehearsal room again?
Being back in the studio was an absolute joy, who knew seeing new people, faces, hearing new voices and all of the extra elements of a creative process would feel so euphoric. The team were welcoming and enthusiastic which makes my role far more enjoyable and we had a lot of laughs, its so good to laugh. The sensation of holding another persons hand was met with sensitivity, understanding and support, that was one of the sensations I will take away from this project is the beauty of connectivity.
How did you approach a theatre R+D and working with actors (as opposed to trained dancers!)?
My approach in every situation is to create a non-judgemental and safe space where by participants, actors, dancers feel supported, encouraged and confident to move their body. For me, I believe, that movement is a fundamental element to anything that we do. Walking, breathing, painting, dancing, acting, it is all embedded from how our body moves through space. To be honest my approach for actors and dancers is very similar, connecting with your own body first and how your own weight, breath and focus can enable you to move, which will then inform how you move with another body, costume or prop.
How important is movement in our version of Dorian Gray?
Again I would say that movement is extremely important in Dorian Gray, it is the minor details which on the outside may seem small but are actually the very thing that holds a performance together. The way actors move from scene to scene, the touches and passing of props, how scenes are dismantled and formed in front of your eyes. It is, in my opinion, one of the important areas of theatre that draws you to the edge of your seat
What was your highlight of the time working with us?
There were so many wonderful moments with my limited time with you. Sharing a space with actors and collaborators who were so warm and welcoming was lovely. Being able to make contact with new people as I mentioned above was amazing. Spending time talking with the director to understand the vision and then trying numerous movement approaches to help carry the vision forward was also a highlight for me.
What was it like working with Luke and having his expertise in the room?
It was amazing. I've loved Luke's work for a while now and it was great to finally work with him. The two of us as a team seemed to work really naturally together. I'd be able to say a really brief sentence about what ideas were in my head and within an hour or two he and the cast would make an incredible scene, there was more than I could have imagined.
As a Director, why is it important to bring in different Creatives into an R+D?
For me there are two reasons... 1) I always love a fresh pair of eyes. I know what my ideas are but I always love someone else's opinion, so that we can always go with the best option for the show! 2) I sometimes struggle with getting my ideas in my head into the physical show. So getting experts who specialise in those art forms is the perfect way to fully realise my seed ideas.
What did you learn by working with Luke?
LOADS. But two major things. Trust your instinct. Both as a director and a performer. And that an R & D is literally that. You don't have to have the perfect final outcome... it is about playing!