I had crossed paths with Isabella Oberlander and with Wanjiru Kamuyu on my travels over the past year and, as with Annie Hanauer, knew I wanted to dance with them. Isabella I’ve known since she arrived in Limerick to take part in the Daghdha Mentoring Programme. More recently, she was a participant in a festival organised by Dance Limerick that I helped to facilitate and in which she presented her own fierce dancing. Wanjiru performed her solo choreography at Firkin Crane while I was curator there and we met again when I saw her dance in Paris during my residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais. I mention these links because they are predicated on international mobility: this residency at the Wetlands in Walthamstow has given me an opportunity to connect ‘home’ in London to the extended, global dance that many of us are involved in. And of course, the Wetlands itself is a place that supports and sustains in birds this international migration and movement.
I appreciated the generosity and courage of Isabella, Wanjiru and Annie to dive in to the process so publicly, dancing with unfamiliar bodies in a shifting environment and climate, supporting me in bringing into being a way of human/non-human interaction on the Wetlands. Into and alongside our quartet, I invited Teresa Elwes, a photographer, passionate dancer and local resident to document some of the dancing. Her sensitive images are in this post and many more on her website.
Dancing as a quartet made us more visible, more clearly an ‘event’. I loved that some of the security guards stopped to watch our dancing, filming us and engaging in conversation about what we were doing. Our number also multiplied the energy of the dancing in a way that I couldn’t have achieved on my own. You can see some of the playful liveliness in this video sketch: