Thursday, October 11, 2012

The "Bespoke" Experience: Origins, Conceptualisation and Creation

As a culmination of our Devon Dance Compass Project, Dance in Devon is presenting to local communities across the county a series of four unique performances in four different localities which are certain to be memorable events.

Performing Artist: Ruth Voon
"Absent Made Present" choreographed by Freddie Opoku-Addaie
Photo by Benedict Johnson
The evening entitled "Bespoke" is anchored by the main piece of the evening of the same name conceived and choreographed by former Royal Opera House ROH2 associate choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie.

"Bespoke" is a somewhat unusual collaboration between dance and artisanship with the two worlds seamlessly becoming one to create a unique and captivating performance.

But how did this idea come about?

Who better than to ask than Choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie.

"I’m interested in working mechanisms of traditional craft techniques and what this says about the value of human creativity and manual skills in an age that is dominated by technological advances." Freddie explains, "With this I do not want to arrive at a nostalgic view of a pre-technology era, but looking at notions of manual precision, clear work processes and how design and patterns leads to production."

This initial interest resulted in the creation of his Royal Opera House ROH2 commissioned piece "Absent Made Present" which was premiered at the Royal Opera House earlier this year.

Set amidst a malleable environment conceived by James Button in response to the work of  ceramic artist Katharine Morling with lighting design by David Kidd, the work featured craft skills as an explicit element of the choreography exploring how humans transform materials and how the materials transform our physicality and our surroundings

Photograph: Benedict Johnson
Photograph: Benedict Johnson

"Bespoke" is the anchor of the intriguing concept explored in "Absent Made Present".

"The second line of enquiry is the notion of the bespoke and the individual against collective practice." says Opoku-Addaie, "Does one size fit all? What does ‘off the peg’ mean in dance creation? If you have a movement pattern, how can individuality and personality still manifest? How can movement language become ‘Bespoke’ and yet be rooted in collective experience, for the dancer and the audience?  And how does traditional knowledge and techniques become personalised for today?"

Using "Absent Made Present" as a starting point, the original piece has been adapted to realise the "Bespoke" experience. To achieve this, Freddie has collaborated with four prominent Devon craft artists; one from each of Devon's four compass points.

Opoku-Addaie, performing artist Maria Olga Palliani and East Devon Craft Artist Louise Cottey
After months of development and a week long residency in North Devon adapting the original material from "Absent Made Present" one new piece with four different and unique voices will be touring Devon this Autumn.

This unusual and innovative performance will be unlike anything Devon audiences have seen and, true to the name, will provide a truly "Bespoke" and memorable experience on each leg of the tour.

To book tickets for the Bespoke Tour, visit:
The Devon Dance Compass: "Bespoke" is Coming: Box Offices Open for Bookings!

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