Once again, Deaf dancer Ariel Fung of Hong Kong-based Fun Forest dance crew will be back as one of my collaborative partners on the project, and this time I have decided on bringing in a third collaborator to complete the cast: Chris Fonseca - the highly talented, London-based deaf dancer whom has featured in many commercial and TV projects.
We came together for our first studio session at ACE Music & Dance in Birmingham, on Wednesday 15th August.
The first half of the day was spent discussing the newly created storyline and the scenes I’d chosen to be translated into movement and visual storytelling.
We grabbed a coffee and sat down to look at the script. We also looked at music ideas and spent some time having a listen to various tracks that we liked and were comfortable/happy with using for the routines.
With Chris and Ariel familiar with my storyline, we moved to the studio floor and had a warm up and stretch session, led by Chris.
We then began with the Joyful Dance section of scene 3. I prepared a piece of hip hop choreography for the three of us to use.
I taught Ariel and Chris a cheerful hip hop routine for the Joyful Dance scene - which involves three deaf school friends enjoying a sense of freedom and mischief, as they sneak out after dark - taking food and drinks from the canteen and climbing the rooftops (and yes, this is loosely based on a true story).
After lunch we continued working on this routine, developing it further to add personality, playfulness and mischief. At the moment it's a very 'dancey' choreo routine and a bit lacking of character.
So with the addition of a relaxed and bouncy feel, along with lots of smiles and grins, we had a play with some simple school game ideas that we could incorporate into the routine.
Eventually we came up with some movement inspired by school playground games, which blended into the piece perfectly.
Also, we added some movements that were extremely popular with young people - such as viral dance moves like the 'floss' and 'shoot'. These are simple moves that EVERY kid knows, so I thought it was important to incorporate these moves as it would resonate with younger audiences well.
We continued on Joyful Dance scene for the rest of the day as we worked on synchronisation - ensuring that the three of us keep in sync with the music and with each other at all times so that it looks nice and smooth.
End of Day One
By the end of Day One, there was a positive feeling of cheerfulness and a productive day well spent.
I felt happy with the outcome of the first day - because the three of us had a good idea of how we will develop the Joyful Dance scene, it was pretty straightforward.
I did not have any worries or concerns with the work we created so far, so I could go home this evening and switch off, knowing that we are on the right track.
I felt confident to move on for Day Two with a plan in mind. This is already a huge difference from the studio work from last year.