Metchen Creative Process

Story 563 | Contemporary, Creative Work, Cross Media, Elbow Room Dance Company | Creative process | 1 Project

The idea for Metchen originated when Ani and Kit began exploring some initial workshop ideas together. Inspiration for the creative process centred around Kitty’s violin, and both collaborators’ shared belief that there could be no sound without movement.

Dancer and musician started to improvise – exploring individual violin sounds and reflecting these in Ani’s movement phrases. The scroll’s purpose was to balance the instrument, but it’s design was entirely decorative. The bridge was the point of maximum tension, but it also passed the sound down into the body of the violin. The f-holes seemed to let the sound escape, but also offered a sculpted passage deep into the interior to a secret, dark place.

The incredible similarity between the shape of the violin and the human body did not go un-noticed. Soon, the scroll became rococo shapes, courtly gestures, an enormous powered wig and a character who insisted on attention. The back had human shape and strength, but it cannot move and is utterly rigid. The f-holes became shapes and gestures in the whole body, but also became inward and intimate, centred on the belly. The bridge became a crushing pressure that distorted the body as it tried to resist.

Both collaborators felt they wanted more than solo violin throughout the piece and so Kitty took the resulting qualities, ideas, concepts and material and translated it for other instruments. Initially they talked about making a suite of pieces and this idea is still evident in the structure of Methen, with 7 different sections named as follows: Back, Sculptural F-holes, Belly F-holes, Neck Strings, Ground Strings and Bridge, which moves directly into Scroll.

“Layers of thoughtful imagery that resonate throughout the piece…there’s a constant flow of such “outer/inner“ explorations….the score thrillingly atuned to the dance. It’s a fascinating intense rewarding piece” Kelly Apter, The Herald

“Simply ravishing, flawless, sheer bliss…. Pure visual delight….vital and intriguing work…quite outstanding” Roddy Phillips, Press & Journal

“movements are inspired, flowing, reactive and searching. Metchen is a continually fascinating production.” James CJ Allen, contributor to the Scotsman

Dance: Contemporary, Creative Work, Cross Media, Elbow Room Dance Company
Credits: With thanks to Shona Powell for describing the process and structure of Metchen so eloquently. Photograph: Marc Marnie

Published: 4 Jan 2024 @ 14:34


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