I was first introduced to contemporary dance through Wayne McGregor’s Atomos which was performed at London’s Sadler’s Wells in 2015. At the show, I felt my mind merging with the dancer’s minds – as one shared mind that expressed itself as beauty through movement. Since then, I have always been interested in dance as a medium to express beauty through the collective consciousness.
On 13th August 2017, I had a brief dialogue with Wayne McGregor at London’s Roundhouse (which recently debuted McGregor’s new production, +/- Human with dancers from Company Wayne McGregor and The Royal Ballet) about the collective consciousness and beauty through dance. Please find the Q&A below.
TM: I would like to direct this to Wayne. You touched on the collective consciousness and my question to you is in your 25 years and also including this show, does it occur that perhaps say when ten dancers join, they no longer dance as an individual mind but they dance as a shared mind and then that shared endeavour is expressed in creativity as an energy of oneness. Is that what is occurring?
WM: I think it is. I think for us it is the whole creative process is about sharing mind. So what we are trying to do in a creative process is actually opening up the space even building a solo where actually we all contributed to the end energy, the focus, the detail and the impact of that one thing. And I think that’s one of the phenomenal things about dance is that it really is a collaborative shared endeavor that is very much, perhaps me offering something, the dancers offering something back, and you find something not always in the middle but again on this slider of experience. But I think it’s really important that even one person is dancing…I guess what I’m saying that it’s not just when ten people are dancing that there is a collective consciousness, even when one person is dancing – that everybody shares in that moment on stage even if they are standing on the edge. The experience of going through the fact of the process which enliven that one kind of solo – that is a very phenomenal and powerful thing about live dance and live performance that is kind of the central thing about how our worked is shared.
TM: Perhaps what I see as beauty in this collective consciousness of the dancers dancing and - beauty is in the mind - is it that I am touched by that because as they are dancing I’m also dancing and experiencing the beauty in my mind?
WM: What you’re experiencing is probably is this kinesthetic relationship between what physical bodies offer you. In a way, the beauty of dance for me or choreography including the choreography of emergent orbs is that it sits in your body in geography. It sits in places. Sometimes it sits in your gut, sometimes it sits at the back of your neck, and sometimes it kind of like just touches the top of your head, and those are the things that prime your consciousness to actually then have emotion emerge. And so if you watch in a particular way (so lots of our dance critics watch like this), they watch with a particular frame and say I am only going to look in this dimension and I’m only going to look for stuff in that dimension. They’ll definitely find it but that might not be the most interesting aspects of the things that’s there. What you need to do is to have a kind of open canvas, a kind of forage, you have to be kind of exciting to go and say I’m going to just sample this and say I’m not going to worry about meaning right now and over time when you sample all of those things, things start to construct and form and give yourself a much kind of richer experience. So I think that’s why it’s really important that audiences are part of the construction of meaning in a piece. But in a way, I would love it if the audiences are also a part of our process for twelve weeks so that actually that shared consciousness that we talked about will be shared really overtime in that way.
TM: Beautiful. Thank you.
PS: Have you seen two of Company Wayne McGregor's dancers, Travis Clausen-Knight and James Pett perform in A Return To Peace?