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WebRes 2020: Building in Isolation with Instigate Unknown

2–14 SEP 2020

We have made this to mark a time in history. In this 6-part documentary you will get to learn about Instigate Unknown, but also better understand the practices, and elements of our lives as artists, that we have been able to identify and appreciate.

We held auditions in March and then went straight into lockdown. Everything we have built and everything that we know about our new company is from the comfort and discomfort of our own homes.

The first four parts of Building in Isolation will be released between 2nd and 5th September, one released each day on Instagram and our YouTube channel. The final two episodes will be released on Monday 7th and 14th September.

Instigate Unknown is a London based dance company that draws on both hip-hop and contemporary dance forms, with a great interest in creating work with props.

Formed in 2014 by Cherilyn Albert, the company held auditions earlier this year to form a company of new dancers. All members are trained in a multitude of contemporary and hip-hop styles.

We enjoy dissecting and amplifying themes which may appear mundane to everyday life. We often work closely with uncommon vocabulary and explore work conceived through choreographic challenges.

WATCH | Episode 1 / Episode 2 / Episode 3 / Episode 4 / Episode 5 / Episode 6

READ | Building in Isolation: Photobooth Gallery on the SDS blog

Or read a bit more about each episode below.

Episode 1 | Lag, Delay, Imagine

This episode is presented by Artistic Director Cherilyn Albert. Cherilyn speaks on the technical difficulties faced by the company and the unexpected positives that have come out of training remotely.

“Technical difficulties that have arisen are kind of new to all of us. We’re all in the same boat. And I really feel like, you know, we’ve been able to laugh about it and just help each other out because of the lag… you’re seeing things come together on the screen that wouldn’t have come together, if we’d have actually been in synchronization.” – Clea

“Sometimes… it’s your device that’s going a bit wrong. You do, you just kind of stay quiet and wait it out and things usually fall back in sync after a while. It’s hard to train online and we do get the sense that we want… you know, as less disruptions as possible.” – Cherilyn

“There’s been a rehearsal where Marta was injured… a rehearsal where I wasn’t feeling well. And that’s a delay I guess, ’cause it prevents stuff from happening or slows things down. But arguably, neither of us would have made it into rehearsals… if it wasn’t remotely.” – Cherilyn

Episode 2 | Hope VS Trust

This episode is presented by Company Member Marta Valverde. Marta speaks personally on how she’s had to battle with both the concepts of hope and trust as a dance artist in lockdown.

“I live with Marta, we’re sisters, it’s great to have … like we have that trust and we get along and it’s been great to have someone you can train with and you can try things with and sometimes to be pushed…or push them.” – Leah

“You feel like you’ve achieved something while you’re exploring and then you film it and you watch it’s like, what is that? When you look at it, it doesn’t look like anything.” – Marta

“One of the main things I’ve learned … is to have patience, to have patience with myself and to have patience with the prop. And that’s how you start building trust, like come the day after a great practice or a frustrating practice. And you’re able to see a whole new set of options.”- Marta

Episode 3 | Sitting in the Pocket

This episode is presented by Company Member Clea Godsill. Clea speaks on her experience of the term ‘Sitting In the Pocket’ and how it has been prominent in these last few months training online.

“Everything you needed was already there in the music and you just had to put that into your body.”- Clea

“And I really liked working with the jacket because for me as a prop, it means playfulness. It means confidence. And when I’m choreographing, I really like to have a character and a story to work with.” – Clea

“Sitting in the pocket has been a really great practice for training musicality. And I really like how it encourages presence and enjoyment of music and movement just to see where it takes you.” – Beth

Episode 4 | More Risk

This episode is presented by Company Member Kyra Mills. Kyra talks about the different ways in which she has experienced taking risk and how it has both benefited and affected her time training in lockdown.

“Before the lockdown I never used to see my house hold is a place of training and dancing. It was very much to me a place of rest. It’s made me very much grateful for when I do have studio space to train.”- Kyra

“I feel like I tend to take risks when I’m off balance. I’ve seen that in most of the footage. I even use it as like a coping mechanism if I’m about to fall, or I feel unstable, it’s kind of my way of saving myself… find a way out of movement.” -Kyra 

Kyra sitting on the floor of a living room, laughing.

“I think is about trying the things that have more chances to go wrong. But that’s exciting. And that tests your responses and how you’re able to adapt.” – Marta

A screen shot. Kyra dancing in a living room, balancing on one hand and one leg. The hand is placed amongst some plastic bottles standing on the floor. A straight leg to her right balances her.

Episode 5 | The Gold In One Thing: Movement

The theme of The Gold In One Thing will be explored in two parts. First up, in this episode, Company Member Leah Valverde explains how this practice has challenged and enriched the company’s training at this time.

“It’s not giving up when you want to and keeping going until you get to that next level. There’s a whole new world for you to explore movement…” – Leah 

“There’s a pressure – often – to always be original. But when you stop and really dig into a movement, it’s, it’s like a record that’s got stuck on the best bit.”- Clea 

“It’s funny how many options there really are. Because we all end up doing something completely different.”- Leah

Episode 6 | The Gold In One Thing: Problematic Props

Company Member Beth Stoddart completes the series with a closer look into the practice Problematic Props. She speaks on how she found the gold in it and how it kept her going throughout lockdown.

“I had something small, and now it’s grown and hopefully it will continue to grow. It just starts from one little seed. And that little seed turned out to be gold… I think.” –Cherilyn

“And it took me a lot of practice to really get it the same every time. But in a way, this was really good because every time I did the choreography, and it changed, I found a new idea.”– Beth

“You really don’t need to have tons of space and the perfect setting. You can always be working you can always be creating. I’ve just learned to make the best of the situation, which is what I think everyone had to do in lockdown.”- Beth