perch adaptation project (2020-2021)

perch is a solo dance about temporary states and locations and the movement in-between these things. It is about the process of building a home for the future - of homing - while feeling haunted by the past. First and foremost however perch is a practice, performed regularly by one person, for a place. The movement score shifts between states of groundedness and flight and hovers over the transitions which transform these states. With each practice the work bears witness to its immediate conditions and, in so doing, with each practice the work subtly adapts and evolves. In this way, the ‘form’ of the work offers a means of simultaneously practising holding on to and letting go of what is known about the work and the world that it moves through.

perch was initially developed in a room in a former cotton spinning mill in Manchester. The dance accumulated itself slowly over many years, in response to the many layers of life which permeated its making. Two dancers, Katye Coe and Bridget Fiske, independently expressed an interest in learning the score. Although deeply flattered, I initially felt uneasy about passing on the work in this way, not least because of the prospect of ‘imposing’ an existing movement structure onto another dancer (since one of my long-term choreographic passions is the enquiry into how a dance might develop out of the specificity of a person). However, a few weeks into lockdown, my perception of the potential of revisiting the work shifted. The structure of the score cultivated a quality of concentration and relief. The process of re-situating its content into Katye and Bridget’s homes turned into a creative process in and of itself, for the daily developments in our domestic lives (and their reflection of the wider political context) permeated the process of adaptation. The experience of living through a pandemic is now inseparable from our understanding of the work. In this way, we now regard adaptation as an embodied and poetic practice - as persistently pursuing the shape of something while simultaneously absorbing and responding to circumstance.

the perch adaptation project has been further commissioned by London Contemporary Dance School as a ‘repertory’ option for third year and post-graduate students (2021) and by dance-artists Amaara Raheem and Preethi Athreya in the form of audio files as part of their choreographic research residency at Critical Path (2021).
perch adaptation project
Kenilworth, Warwickshire
credits for the perch adaptation project:
Choreography - Amy Voris, Katye Coe, Preethi Athreya
Choreographic research - Bridget Fiske
Performance (at home) - ​Katye Coe
Performance (at home for LCDS) - Elin Anderson, Jessica Childs, Aliki Dermati, Lea Diercksen, Taylor Fisher, Meichi Liu, Jasmin Nowak Fearon, Stamatia Papathanasi, Madli Paves, Pauline Robin, Lucia Salgueiro, Andrea Vilarrubias Lopez, Stosija Zrinski
Work-in-progress film adaptation (at home) - Preethi Athreya
Photography and Video - Christian Kipp
99 Henry Street, Kenilworth, Warwickshire Sept-Oct 2020, Sept 2021
London Contemporary Dance School online - December 2020 and March 2021
see Preethi Athreya's work-in-progress film adaptation (2021) here
Blades, H. (2021) 'Coming Together by Moving Apart - Contemporary Dance Scores and Communities During the Covid 19 Pandemic', The International Journal of Screen Dance, Volume 12, pp. 50-71