Rochelle Carmichael – Choreographer

Expressions Dance Company Secondment

Firstly I would like to thank the AICD Dance Creation team (especially Marilyn Jones &amp and Yvettte Synot) for all of their amazing work to bring opportunities to independent choreographers such as myself. This kind of platform not only allows choreographers to showcase their work to new audiences, but the outcomes bring enormous opportunities to expand networks and experiences outside of typical circles. I would also like to thank Natalie Weir and Expressions Dance Company for opening their doors to allow me to experience what was a heartening and enlightening week with them.

The first thing I noticed upon my arrival (besides the lovely warm weather) was the warm welcome I received from the staff at EDC. Thanks to the AICD Dance Creation 2014 platform I was able to spend four fantastic days in process with Natalie Weir and her talented company, Expressions Dance Company.

Rochelle Carmichael’s Dance Creation 2014 works

I must admit this was harder than I had anticipated. Sitting in on the rehearsals for Natalie Weir’s Seven Deadly Sins was only difficult because it was so inspiring, and sitting silent during such creativity was very difficult indeed. I noticed the dancers are not only extremely talented, but also work exceedingly hard and are very generous in the creative process

Natalie Weir’s creative process is not unlike mine, working in a highly collaborative way with the dancers. I watched Natalie intently as she interacted with the dancers, in a way that was both supportive to their input and at the same time opening the doors to further possibilities for movement to develop. Experiencing something akin to my own process within such a professional platform, has helped me to feel more appreciation for my own creative process and the way that I interact with dancers and other creators; in some way it helped to validate my own way of working.

The EDC dancers take such responsibility for themselves in process. In order to work this kind of creative process really requires mature and courageous people. Natalie has managed to bring together a truly inspiring bunch of dancers/creators.

Natalie has a very unassuming presence, her voice gentle and sincere as she explains aspects of what she is looking for from the dancers. She has such a respectful work ethic and through this commands great respect from her dancers. Her belief in her own creativity, which I experienced when talking to her, is exactly what I need to experience for myself right now. After what has been a very challenging year creatively and personally, I found I have lost a lot of confidence in my own choices. Natalie helped me to see that belief in self is the most beneficial way you can support yourself, and that no matter what is happening about you in the industry, stay true to what you love and are passionate about. What a fantastic gift.

If I could offer to improve on my experience for future participants it would be :

  • Meeting earlier with the leading choreographer (though here I understand that Natalie was in her first week of the process and time was of the essence),
  • Perhaps the possibility of some kind of interaction creatively. (I understand this could be difficult when you consider time and resource challenges). Watching the young dancers on secondment, who were doing class and given tasks to participate in, made me wonder if there could be possibilities for choreographers to be given creative tasks as well?