We’ve been looking at our show through the eyes of babies this week. At our run at The Barbican we’re offering our smallest audience (aged 4 – 14 months) the opportunity to experience the show just for themselves. So no older, more boisterous, dextrous toddlers or children, just tiny bodies and their mummy or daddy.
In our performances we hold steadfastly to our working practices as dancers that relies on the appreciation of movement. Our principles of empathy and equal exchange enable the dancers to join with the energies that are unique to very small children. They also enable the dancers to share the power in the performance with very young children which is both enchanting and joyous.
At our explorations and subsequent sharing at the Dance 4’s International Centre for Choreography illuminated much for us as performers, makers and directors. Our musings gave way to a set of principles that will guide us, shape us and challenge us;
We are gentle, whilst also enabling adventure.
We are light and playful while also truthful to a range of emotions
We create an offer to join in with few rules – it’s there if you want it, you can ignore it if you don’t want to play
We watch with interest and openness, building clues as to what the next interaction could be
We reflect what we see in order to find the‘moment of connection with a child
We contribute something to the expansion of the ‘dance’ that babies show us
We use the child’s fascinations, creating an invitation that feeds off what a baby is doing in that moment
We explore the ideas and environment for ourselves afresh each time we perform
We offer eye contact that acknowledges and accepts
We free ourselves from a ‘planning’ mindset and dive into the world of improvisation, which children are so familiar with but is sometimes a stretch for us.