Before the summer break, the last-year students of the bachelor's programme in Dance should have graduated with a joint work, under the supervision of choreographer and dancer Daniel Linehan. However, the outbreak of the coronavirus turned their planning upside down and led them to reinvent the concept of 'rehearsal'. Two months after graduation and a fascinating creative process later, they meet again, on stage in deSingel's courtyard garden.
Like many, the students had to change gear quickly in the spring. The lockdown forced them and choreographer Daniel Linehan to be creative with the rehearsal process. Folding chairs were set up in the otherwise lively studio, between the students and at a safe distance from each other. On top of these, laptops with the missing students on the screen, creating duets from home, often far away, together with the students in the studio.
In the third week of September, two months after graduation, the students will bring the result of their creation process to the deSingel courtyard garden. Students Pierre Bastin and Anna Tejero Cirera are delighted to be able to complete their studies in this way. "We attended an annual workshop with Daniel Linehan during our training. This build-up to a final creation is unique. We would have regretted not being able to bring it to the stage". In February all students worked together with Linehan, in June they worked partly from a distance for three weeks.
"Linehan created a natural, organic collaboration. His approach is very open and he did a lot of effort to make the connection with all the students."
The theme of connectivity, the way in which people relate to their environment, also runs like a thread through Linehans' work. In the creation with the students he works specifically on 'listening and response'. Giving shape to this concept in the current circumstances, where everyone is in a different time and space, is quite a challenge. "But Linehan created a natural, organic collaboration. His approach is very open and he did a lot of effort to make the connection with all the students". The students are therefore happy to be able to share the stage again on Saturday.
Moreover, in the future they plan to keep on working together. With their group of fourteen graduates and eight nationalities they started a collective, 'Sidewards'. "From the need to connect and support each other, because it can be lonely as a beginning performing artist". They have already secured themselves a place to rehearse and work on their first creation, which will premiere in February in the cultural centre of Lier. "With our collective we want to focus on connectivity. We don't just find each other in dance. We each have our background, our social and political colour. It is also in our relationships with others and by exploring other contexts that we connect".
Or "We don't think ourselves as a dance company - we are an organization focused on support and producing dance work, created Sidewardsly." as the artistic statement of their collective puts it.