Guest Post by Karen Bartholomew, Associate Artist: Dance and Engagement at Mind the Gap, and a little space Co-Creator.
Since starting with Mind the Gap as a freelance artist around 10 years ago, I’ve worked on some incredible projects and been given some fantastic opportunities. Mind the Gap does a great job of investing in its staff and my involvement in this co-production with Gecko has been a really clear example of that.
As one of the creators of the show and rehearsal director now that it’s on tour, I can honestly say that this project has transformed the way I create work and facilitate movement sessions on a daily basis. We were really lucky that this process was given time and space to unfold quite naturally, with playdays and residencies which really helped us to explore how the two companies work before embarking on the creative process of a little space itself.
What I’ve come to learn about the Gecko ‘style’ is that it comes from a really simple and beautiful place – it’s about human emotion and connection, and as humans, our emotions show in our bodies. The company’s unique style just made sense to me and its honest and open starting point of emotion is wonderfully accessible. We all feel we all move, and when you bring both of those human experiences into a rehearsal room or studio, you can really start to uncover new facets in people that you never knew existed.
I was discussing the Gecko style with the a little space cast recently and what they considered to be the key elements. These are the words of the cast, but I wholeheartedly agree with them:
Breath: We use breath instead of using scripted words. The breath is like the script. Using breath helps us stay in time with each other and stay connected.
Knees: We always work with soft knees, it helps us move quickly and keeps us light on our feet, yet keeps us grounded.
Eyes: We use eye contact to stay alert and connected to each other. It helps us to tell the story. Where we look tells the audience where they should look. When we are ‘minor,’ we send our attention to the ‘major’ part of the story, this helps the audience understand.
Alive: in a little space you can always be seen, even if you are off stage. You have to stay alive in your body, make sure your body is always moving and always ready. This keeps you connected to the story that’s happening on stage.
All four of these elements that the cast picked out centre around the idea of connection – to each other, to the set, to the audience, to themselves. We didn’t have to spend long drawing out those points either – once you’ve experienced the Gecko world it stays with you in a way you wouldn’t expect. It’s almost like riding a bike – it might feel different at first, but then it settles and you start wondering why you haven’t always worked like this!
Gecko’s work is challenging and exciting, and I can honestly say that it has affected every single session that I teach, as well as the work that I create, in such a positive way, and I’m sure will continue to do so.
a little space visits the New Wolsey Theatre between Tuesday 10 & Wednesday 11 March and tickets can be booked HERE