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COllective Identity project
 

This is a series of illustrations commissioned by Luminelle.
 

Exploring compassionate connection, individual and collective identity and the value of leading with care – Danielle Teale’s recent work Collective IDentity (CID), is the latest in a series of multidisciplinary explorations with dancers, musicians, visual artists, film and photography and research, spanning across 18 months working with 7 partners across the country, funded by Arts Council England.

Collective IDentity (CID Project), brings expressive, moving and creative dance opportunities to people with Parkinson’s throughout 2021. Featuring a live dance and music programme directed by Danielle Teale (dance) and Jaka Skapin (music), this programme is an exploration of togetherness and empathy, in a personal enquiry into compassion, care, identity and collectivity, both on screen and in person.

About Exploration in Collectivity: https://www.luminelle.co.uk/exhibition-listing/
https://www.luminelle.co.uk/a-bridge-between-stories/

 

Revisiting, listening, responding

A watercolour and graphite series of illustrations on cotton rag by Edwina Kung
 

This body of work is inspired by a beautiful time spent together with the dancers online; stories shared through movement, unfolding oneself, and connecting with others. I used a process of collecting movements through mark-making, and translating them through illustrations to retell stories that were told on screen. Through dancing, there was a process that involved following other peoples’ movements, noticing, creating responses, and transformation. This process opened the senses and seemed to expand the dancers’ willingness to share in their everyday lives and experiences. Dancing seemed to help discover and encounter oneself as an individual and as a collective in so many different ways. Just like slow reading, through dance we pay close attention to details in gestures, textures, and motions of things around us to transform them into movements.

1. Story of our minds.jpg

Stories of our minds
Watercolour and graphite on cotton rag

 

How do our bodies and minds respond to the space we are in?

I explored this question during the time I spent with the dancers. When I participated in the dance sessions on Zoom, everyone was in their homes. What we were seeing and hearing was so different within our home spaces. Yet, as a collective, the dancers had the ability to transform these personal sensations into movements and introduce new inspirations to the group.

What could inspire a movement? A new leaf sprouting from your plant? Or perhaps the hinge of the window, where you were drawn by sunlight warmth or splashing on the tree and leaves.

This piece explores individuals within a collective, the journey of collaboration with the body and mind, and the practice of expressing oneself through movements.

I recreated marks from the sketches throughout the sessions and revisited movements, allowing watercolor to seep into the cotton rag and slowly merge with another color. It moves around freely, like a dance on paper.

2. Noticing the body.jpg

Noticing as a practice
Watercolour and graphite on cotton rag


 

How does the wind sound? Or the river? What memories could you recall from these moments? Could you create a movement inspired by these sounds and memories? Our bodies flow like a river, running down the mountains.

Through movements crafted and inspired by memories and sounds, we pay close attention to what we encounter day-to-day, during a morning walk, or perhaps while watering our plants.

I was particularly drawn to moments where one dancer followed the movement of another. Sometimes, we see our reflection in other people, and other times, their reflection in us. The connecting and following portray a sense of acknowledgment, encouragement, and recognition.

3.Inbetween.jpg

In between
Watercolour and graphite on cotton rag


 

The togetherness and openness in the dance sessions inspired me and became a sentimental part of the process. The dancers created a bridge for one another to wander through the past, present, and the journeys ahead.

The sessions were like a gathering, where everyone brought their signature dish to share. One walk across the bridge, through the beautifully maintained garden, with the sound of the river in the background. Mesmerized by what we see, we go deeper, and there it is, a slice of cake and tea that is still warm, waiting for someone to share.

4. Remembrance through movement.jpg

Remembrance through movement
Watercolour and graphite on cotton rag


 

ow I understood movement, human togetherness, and collective identity from the start of the project differed from how I knew at the end of the creation process. I now understand them the same way I understand trees.

We are all like trees, with our bodies and minds connected. Just like the trees, we are individuals, but our roots are tangled together. Our leaves and branches brush against each other.

Dancers used the sense of touch and the feeling of texture in day-to-day experiences and how this continues after the sessions. This experience gave me a different lens into using the word "noticing." When I look at my ivy plant tangled together, I think about movements just like when the wind flows through the trees. This is a wonderful gift provided, providing new insight into our everyday life.

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