This book is a documentation of my process of creating the Unknown Soldier performance. There are images of the rehearsal process and the organisations that served as the primary source of information to support the concept of the work. Furthermore, I hope the book will serve as an initial guide to anyone interested in the history of these brave men and women. Also, the book identifies how an interdisciplinary medium can be used to ignite interest in historical facts.
Migration means movement from one location to another; synonyms: relocation, emigration, expatriation.
Many an artist have found themselves working in another country for various reasons. My parents relocated to the UK from Barbados for employment; they had worked already scheduled here, so they were actually expats. Their romance commenced in London; net result, myself and three other siblings!
Similarly, I remember leaving the UK in the 90s to tour Europe and finally settling in Paris, where I was able to follow my dreams of becoming a Professional Dancer. France at the time was renowned for its various performing arts opportunities. Maybe, this is why Gene Kelly created “An American in Paris,” Josephine Baker singing “J ai deux pays,” (she has two countries, Paris and America).
Artist in France, for example Dancers, Actors, Technicians, and writers etc, belong to a specialist employment agency ( ANPE). This organisation would have a substantial amount of work, that an artist could apply for. Therefore armed with my training and Dance Diploma from the Laban Centre of Dance and Movement ( Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Movement and Dance), I auditioned for several dance companies. Finally, working with quite a number of choreographers: George Momboye, Maurice Bejart, Euro Disney’s The Legend of the Lion King ( Choreographer Craig Revel Horwood) to name a few!
While I was in France, I developed new skills: learnt the language, moved into the property market, and created my own choreographic work.
The french were fascinated with my Black British persona, physique and training in those days ( now called Exoticism), which opened up a great deal of opportunities, for example film work: Le Jouer de Violin and other choreographic projects. Whatever it is called now, I enjoyed every moment: Fun, Food, and the Frolics of a young dancer in Paris! Ha ha Ha….TBC.
I discovered the French Raclette, while performing in “The Legend of the Lion King” in Paris. One of the french dancers suggested all of the dancers participated in her, “Friday Raclette sessions!”
This was so much fun; for several of the dancers in the show came from all around the globe: France, England, America, Cuba, Brazil, Martinique and Guadeloupe.
I anticipated the raclette session, for I was intrigued by the entire set up of french cuisine and conviviality.
Later that day, several dancers arrived with their raclette grills, and those who didn’t have a raclette devise, were instructed to purchase various forms of garnishes: charcuterie ( cold meats), cornichons, boiled potatoes, pickled onions and the raclette cheese or another cheese of their own preference.
These moments of discovering the French culture and cuisine, allowed all of the artist involved to appreciate this diverse, and eclectic artistic community.
Raclette is originally a Swiss dish; however it is also very popular in France. It is a simple dish of melted cheese and other accompaniments, but it has the art of bringing people together; maybe this is what the world needs now!
Afro Dance Xplosion organised by the “The American in London” Carolyn Lilly (CEO Feel the Rhythm Productions) will produce, ” A Change is Coming” performance 18th, 19th, 20th Oct 2019 @ Rich Mix London. ADX’s aim is to showcase artists from the African Dance Diaspora. The performance will feature the international renowned Performer Merlin Nyakam plus some of the best Choreographers and dancers in the African, Cuban and Brazilian dance, plus Hip Hop, Afro Beat ,Dance Hall, Jazz and more.
Similarly in the 90s other festival had a similar objective:
I remember my cousin Vicky Spooner, created The Black British Dance festival in the 90s. There was such a buzz around the time: Why? What for? Who is she? However, she opened up the opportunity for quite a number of Black Dance Artist or Artist from the African Diaspora to create, produce and showcase their work. Her festival ran for at least 2 years: productions at the Cochrane Theatre and other venues.