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Shed Dances

Tractor, spades, hay stack, dances, 

Machines, bikes, cat, dances, 

Sink, tools, welder, dances, 

Quad bike, outboards, rope, dances, 

Dust, buckets, concrete, dances, 

Oil, midges, shedding dances, 

Storage, shelter, shed dances.

Shed Dances is a series of dances, never intended for film but landed in the digital realm out of a need for sharing. There are multiple Shed Dances that can be watched and rewatched in any order on my Vimeo account. 

Below is a compilation which I edited together as part of Scottish Dance Theatre's Digital Buzz Festival, to music 'Halcyon Daze' - A Northerly Land, by Iain Copeland, Skye Records


below that is a statement that I read alongside sharing the video at the festival

Shed Dances

a compilation made for Scottish Dance Theatre's Digital Buzz Festival

“I loved the contrast between your dancing and the everyday utilitarian environment, so intriguing!"

Joan Cleville
Artistic Director, Scottish Dance Theatre

Introductory words for Scottish Dance Theatre's Digital Buzz festival

Shed Dances

"Thanks for having me at this Digital Buzz Festival, it’s a pleasure to show something today, alongside these great artists. 

In a bit I will be sharing a video but first I just wanted to read something I’d written to introduce what’s coming. First, a kind of disclaimer; that this is not a dance film, that is to say it was not made with the film aspect in mind. In fact it was all recorded using an ipad and a wobbly music stand!  What I’m sharing is more of a documentation of practice… When the 2020, covid-19 lockdown happened in this country I returned to my family home on the Isle of Skye in the north west of Scotland and took up dancing in our shed when I could. 

It might surprise you but I had quite an audience each time, although they never gave much away! There were the huge, reflective eyes of the tractor and close by it’s buddy the quad bike who in certain light seemed to wink at me, encouraging my performance onwards. The mountain bikes lent nonchalantly against one another and eager lawn mower sat dead centre. A myriad other bits and bobs made up my scattered audience, as I picked my way through and around whatever dance was there for me that day. 

And I had collaborators, both wanted and unwanted: my cat, who I wanted but didn’t always want me. The midges who I never wanted but always wanted me. And others seen and unseen like the birdsong, the wind in sound and touch, the dust which was always there no matter how much I sweeped… I began to really appreciate all the ‘stuff’ around and even above me.. Their complete lack of humanity, their stillness and their busy solidity. My gaze was always full of them and I started to imagine that they became full of me. I liked the idea that I was giving this space and these things a new and unfamiliar happening. However imaginary, this exchange pleased and amused me and I lent into the idea of gift, sharing and receiving as I carried out my play. I also appreciated the metaphor that the shed gave; shelter, cover, a place for new, old and forgotten items… a messy place, a place for unfinished things. It seemed an appropriate home or ‘holding space’ for my slightly lost or, for the time being, peripheral, dancing self… I’d returned home to a place where dancing has never been the centre, unlike when I’m living elsewhere, and I needed somewhere to ‘put’ it, somewhere to ‘shed’ it… so like most other things I put it in the shed. 

Last thing I’d like to mention is the effort and time needed on either side of the play. The shed needed to be emptied and refilled each time and luckily I had my family to help with this. I think that the physicality of this preparation was interesting to the ‘event’... there was the warm up of my body which was usual and the warm up of the space which was unusual- for me and ‘it’ or ‘them’. What I mean is it’s very different to walking into an empty studio with its clean, soft floor. It brought a different kind of care and attention- even though the shed is just next to the house, I couldn’t simply come and go to use it for this purpose. It needed planning, collaboration and semi-decent weather! 

So here is the video, it is a collection of different plays throughout the first lockdown- hence the different clothes, light and hair colour! To tie it together I used the music, a track from Iain Copeland’s ‘A Northerly Land’ album, because I wanted something from this place and needed a guide to choreograph my edit to. Here is the film, I hope you enjoy it." 

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