Interview: Chickenshed prepare for Trafalgar Square
Chickenshed is one of 40 groups from London rehearsing hard for the Big Dance finale in Trafalgar Square on Sat 14 July. The inclusive theatre company based in Enfield have been creating movement material for six weeks, supported by a mentor from Wayne McGregor | Random Dance.
We visited a rehearsal on Saturday where 26 dancers from Chickenshed joined two other groups from the North London area – an Sadler’s Wells adult group, PAIR Dance and young people from ArtsDepot. Curtis (18), Lauren (18) and Ella (17) spoke to us during a welcome break on Saturday to tell us more…
What has the experience been like working with dance artists from Wayne McGregor | Random Dance so far?
Curtis: Personally, I have found it amazing! It’s such a challenge, we are having to pick up things so quickly and we are working so hard… I mean I am sweating more today than I ever have in my life! I love it – it’s a rush. I’m so happy to be a part of it, it’s wicked.
Ella: The teaching has been very different to what we learn at Chickenshed – in a positive way. I’ve only ever know dancing through Chickenshed so it’s a really good experience to have it from elsewhere.
Do you have any idea how the final piece will look yet?
Lauren: No! Just loads of people and we keep thinking… where are we going to be?! I am really looking forward to seeing how the groups we have met today will become part of it on the final day.
It is obvious to me that you are all enjoying this project so far. How is it different to other things you have done?
Lauren: It’s much bigger than anything I have ever done! Wow – it’s my biggest challenge so far and I’m really looking forward to the experience on the final day.
Ella: It’s such a rush, I get such a good feeling from it. It’s so exciting to be part of a project so big with lots of different dance groups aswell, I feel like I’m learning so much just today.
Curtis: I’m excited about the final performance but I love the build up to it. I feel like I’m gaining so much from the rehearsals, working with dance artists from all over the world. It’s building me up to be a stronger performer and I love it!
Why do you think Big Dance is important?
Curtis: It’s about inclusion and Chickenshed’s motto is theatre changing lives and inclusive theatre. It is bringing loads of people from across the UK together in a time we need to most with the Olympics in London – we need to show our country’s spirit and show how we can all pull together to make something amazing like Big Dance.
Why is dance special to you?
Ella: It’s a way to show your emotions… you don’t have to say anything when you dance.
Curtis: I used to be a bit unconfident with dance but Chickenshed has helped me with it. They have shown me that no matter what you look like or what other people think of you when you dance, it’s about how you feel as an individual when you are dancing. I have understood that I can just isolate myself from the world and escape everything – now I sometimes go to my local leisure centre and put my headphones in and I dance to music on my own for hours. I would never have done that two years ago!
Lauren: I love dance and I want to go into musical theatre. Dance has given me confidence and now I am in Chickenshed and working with Random Dance – wow, I would never have imagined that I would actually be doing this. I’m really proud.
What should people expect on the 14th July and why should they come?
Ella: It will be an amazing thing to watch. Everyone has worked so hard on it. We will give everything to it and we want the audience to feel part of it too.
Lauren: Everyone should come and see it. We are working hard up to that last performance and we will think wow, look what we have achieved.
Curtis: We want the audience to feel excited and hyped about it – we will bounce off that and perform much better. That’s what I buzz off. Support the UK!
Curtis, Lauren and Ella will join 1,000 dancers at Trafalgar Square in the afternoon of Sat 14 July to perform the Olympic inspired piece. This Big Dance 2012 finale is not to be missed.
Interview by Hannah Dye