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Animated Edition - Spring 2015
A day in the life
Kate Castle, former Associate Director of People Dancing, in conversation with Lisa Spaullabout life as a dance practitioner and the experience of creating a new community dance piece for People Dancing

Associated Attachment(s):

 Lisa Spaull.pdf
Aquarium performers, including Lisa Spaull and Emma-Jane Sutcliffe. Photo: Rob Spaull
How did you become a dancer and choreographer?
I started dancing as a young child, and so have always danced and can’t imagine life without it. It’s the same with choreography too. My first actual job after my dance degree was to choreograph and dance in the amazing Cheddar Gorge caves.

What part of Wales do you live in?
I live very close to where I grew up, which is in Colwyn Bay, North Wales. Though I spent ten years away from the area living in Canada, China and England.

What does a typical working day look like for you?
There is no typical day ever! It really depends on the work at the time, but there is always never-ending admin.

How did you get the idea for the sealife creatures dance project?
I was commissioned to create a piece in a swimming pool in March 2014. I developed a half woman, half jellyfish character in collaboration with visual artist Femke Van Gent. The idea has grown from that. Plus I’ve been wanting to dance with my own two children for quite a while.

Tell me a bit about your collaborators on the project
Femke is the visual artist who I have worked with before on a few different projects. Femke has assisted the children in creating the shapes and decorating their fish headdresses. Rob Spaull is the musician and he has used an instrument recycled from empty gas cylinders, called a Temple Drum, as the basis for the music. Community dance practitioner, Emma-Jane Sutcliffe has assisted me in the sessions and she has a wealth of experience in facilitating dance.

What do you think a dance project like this offers to parents and their children?
This project offers parents and children the chance to dance with each other in a really creative environment. Working towards a performance at the People Dancing event in the Wales Millennium Centre is also a really special opportunity for the group.

Has it been useful to have a mentor on the project?
My mentor is Bronja Novak from Sweden and it’s been really interesting finding out about her work and how she approaches things. Bronja runs EMBLA dans & teater company, which was formed in Gothenburg in 1989. They create dance performances for both children and adults and tour both in Sweden and internationally. We hope to keep the links going between Wales and Sweden.

What’s your next project?
I have several ongoing projects where I’m working for other people. Straight after this I’m taking my short family piece, Time for Tea, into some primary schools in Conwy, Wales.

If you could change one thing about the current dance landscape, what would it be?
More funding for struggling artists like myself would be nice!

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Animated: Spring 2015