Performance Philosophy!

Performance Philosophy!

“AWE: an experience of such perceptual vastness you literally have to reconfigure you mental models of the world to assimilate it”

Enjoy this video, especially if your brain needs a kick. It looks at the science of new experiences and our responsibility to have them.

I like to think of Jason Silva’s Shots of Awe as big thoughts packaged for our soundbite culture.

I don’t think ‘sound bite’ is bad – we train our brains to have fast data intake which is incredible useful and doesn’t stop us enjoying languorous fiction. I’d love forcing my brain in to Baudrillard – but I don’t have the time anymore – so Jason Silva’s great – his thoughts resonate in my head in no time I have now replaced my cigarette break with a philosophy break.

I hope your world is as touched by these two point four nine minutes as mine is.


6 million, million

6 million, million

Light Year – I love meaningful paradoxes.

I recently wrote a post about our relationship with words and spoke about how we use them in performance – but I started thinking more about the first part of the post regarding etymology as I love the word ‘lightyear’.

When you start to learn about space, distance and time become related. (And then you start thinking about time travel but that’s a whole other project ;] ) A light year is the distance light travels in one year. It’s a unit of distance rather than time. I love that humans are so relational in our speaking. If we can’t describe something (like High Street) we describe it by naming it to the most similar thing we know – like pom de la terre. Surnames were professional led (Haddad is one of the most common Arabic – meaning Smith). Surname joiners such as such as ‘bar’ ‘von’ and ‘del’ all state progeny. Descriptive words degrade over time, for ‘Grape Lane’ it was due to ideas o decency (google that one – it’s dirty).

So when I hear ‘light year’ I cannot imagine almost 6 million, million miles (9.4607 × 1012 I can’t imagine 6 million, million of anything.

To my partner’s dismay I have very little grasp of maths or science and when he starts using phrases like ‘to the power of’ I switch off (sorry Greg!) and just think – it’s really frelling big. I can get my head around a year. I can get my head around the fact that light is*really* fast. It works in my head. It’s poetic. Hearing that our nearest solar system Alpha Centuri is 4.367 light years away just makes me go ‘wrahhhhh’. If you like that feeling, I thoroughly recommend The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It’s a very intense (read visceral) novel which is philosophical and immense. As a reader of science fiction you kinda become immune to the amazingness of space travel – Russell’s communication of it appeals to science thinkers but also dreamers like me with the emotional impact. The characters travel there and back in what is only )) months to them. Which is 40 years for earth, for the people they love, for the lives they knew.It’s a stark reminder of how interconnected space and distance are, although it doesn’t really affect our everyday lives much except for the additional 20 minutes it takes me to commute in trainers or high heels (IJAD’s office is up a hill).

I’d love to know if you ever feel affected by the time/distance thing – do you fly across timezones much? How does your linear perception of experience cope? I have a few more things I’m curious about too – indulge me on #InfiniteReach

– Can you imagine 6 million, million of anything? If so, what?

A relationship with words

A relationship with words

One of the things I love about new things whether they’re people, products or discoveries is that they highlight our cultural relationship with language.

Latin and Greek are of course the standard fall-to options; it’s amazing fun to annoy etymologists by mixing them up in words such as ‘automobile’, ‘dysfunction’ and did you know ‘octopodes’ is the correct plural of ‘octopus’?

We have a very intimate relationship with words – they’re collective agreements of meaning and I’m sure we’ve all felt failure about the ineffable qualities of emotions such as ‘love’ and the feelings of ‘longing’ – which supports a whole music industry.

You can’t pin a language down; we hear tabloid headlines that the word ‘database’ replaces ‘foxglove’ in a children’s dictionary, ‘twerk’ enters common parlance or an artist coins a new phrase like Dr Suess’s ‘nerd’.

Ralph Fiennes claimed that Twitter is ruining the English language and he’s not alone in thinking this. What do you think? I lean to the side that whatever aids accurate expression of our personal interpretation of life is valid. I saw ‘FML’ in the Evening Standard the other day – and I thought it was quite eloquent. Twitter is probably the most recent mass-modifier of our mumblings (as TV or radio were to their times) and IJAD’s really interested in the relationship it has with our work. As you know, we’re interpreting what you tweet or write to us on 30th immediately within the show, as well as your sharings inspiring the development work itself – as you can see here (hyperlink to vine).

The movement IJAD uses aims to have meaning without words. To reproduce the complex nature of a feeling within a context so that language is not required to speak to your soul – or any pre-existing understanding of dance vocab – that’s why we absorb many cultural experiences and touch many nations around the world (we had 11 countries in one night in March 2013) and join them together.

We’re getting a lot of poems which we’re finding electrifying to work with in the studio. I tend to think of a writer’s relationship with words similar to a photographer – the subject is there – but the wordsmith or photographer selects only certain things to reveal which makes reality more and less than what it is.

IJAD starts with universal themes – and after asking you what you think – ends with a highly culturally specific piece of work. We’re asking you to lend the way you see the world to us and watch as we weave it into a powerful wordlessness.

Follow #InfiniteReach – we’re asking what inspires you about space at the moment.

And if language is your thing, here’s a quote from Stephen Fry:
“Language is my whore, my mistress, my wife, my pen-friend, my check-out girl. Language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God, the dew on a fresh apple, it’s the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning sun when you pull from an old bookshelf a forgotten volume of erotic diaries; language is the faint scent of urine on a pair of boxer shorts, it’s a half-remembered childhood birthday party, a creak on the stair, a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, the warm wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl, cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.”

Open rehearsals!

Open rehearsals!

Rehearsals have started and you’re invited! Come and see how it all works…

Where? The Science Museum

When? 21st October and 28th October 2013 between 10.30am and 2pm.

What happens in a rehearsal is pretty fun. Sometimes it can be intense and the focus is overwhelming, sometimes we can’t stop laughing, sometimes we discover new things about ourselves. We want you to see this because it’s an important part of the creative process – a performance doesn’t just happen. Originality and expression evolve and we watch those paths, selecting the ones which we think you’ll find most interesting.

Come take a look. We hope it will inspire and excite you. We hope it’ll demystify what happens on stage. If you’re artsy, you’re more than welcome to bring your camera, sketchbook or whatever you love.

All welcome! Tweet at @ijaddance if you’re planning to come and we’ll send you directions


Call for writers…

Call for writers…

Embedded Journalism is getting a lot of attention at the moment.

With the spread of online critics and citizen journalism (one report suggests that 20% of theatre goers publish their experience online) and the sad loss of more and more newspaper critics (the Independent on Sunday axed their critic and the Evening Standard allows just 220 words), it seems ever harder to find out what a show is like. And then comes the internet! Blogs and self-published articles are a great way for us, as a company, to gauge response to our work. For those that are familiar with us, you’ll know that we love social media engagement during our performances. (Phone) Cameras are strictly allowed!

Having an outsider report on what happens behind the scenes (literally) is a rather delicious appeal. So we thought we’d ask you.

We’re offering two lovely and passionate performance lovers the chance to follow the progress of Joumana Mourad, IJAD’s Artistic Director.

You’ll see each process of the performance unfold and build, culminating in three shows in one night at The Science Museum.

You’ll need to be able to write and be armed with a camera (phone). So long as you can translate your experience into words and publish them shortly after you have them, we’d love to hear from you. If you have your own blog, that’s great. If not, we can set you up a very simple one which you can continue to use after the project finished.

To apply, email Camilla – – with a short article (no more than 600 words) about an interesting art experience you had with at least one accompanying image. It can be anything from a piece of graffiti you walked past today, to an awesome theatre show – or some clouds you made with sugar.

All applications need to be in by 10th October and you need to be free during some weekdays to attend rehearsals and meet with the creative team. This is for our show on 30th October so you definitely need to be free in the evening for that one!

I look forward to finding out what art makes you go ‘wow’


We need you!

We need you!

Like a bad friend, do you ever feel like everyone is talking on social media, but no one ever listens?

IJAD are.

What you send us over the next month we’ll create a performance around at – drumroll please – The Science Museum. That’s way better than a facebook post saying ‘tell me where you first me me to prove that you read this’.

Yes that’s right – The Science Museum. We’re taking part in their adults only (no, I said adult not ‘adult’) lates series and the theme is Space.

Not only that, it’s also part of the two month long Nour Festival of Arts which reflects the very best in contemporary Middle Eastern and North African arts and culture; a crucial meeting point for East and West.

We want anything you’ve got that relates to Space (and not just outer space) the Middle East or the arts. We’ll be massaging your creative juices over the next month with suggestions on facebook and Twitter so if nothing comes to mind take a look there. #InfiniteReach is the hashtag and we’ll be looking at different Space topics each week.

Poetry? Prose? Painting?
Photography? Food art? Phone messages?
Sound? Video? Bananas?

Whatever you do – fling it at us. We won’t just be holding it up – we’ll be designing the performance around it. We’ll be using your thoughts and artwork and creating a show inspired by and incorporating it because we want our art to reflect life as much as possible – and so we really think it should come from you.

We’ll be creating an installation between 7pm and 9.45pm on 30th October. It’s free to come along and the space will come alive with a multi-media performance at 7.30pm, 8.15pm and 9pm.

Send us the inside of your brain – we will of course credit you on social media and on our website for everything we use.

IJAD Dance Company – facebook



Yesterday Artistic Director, Joumana, went to the TEDx event at the Albert Hall.

‘Inspirational doesn’t come close. Most of the day was based on people who had visions springing from Prince Albert who helped to establish the cultural centre in Kensington & Chelsea or, as we learnt, Albertropolis. The collection of cultural sites and educational institutions would work to support all human progress in culture and science. This TEDx location was an ideal setting for an event that explored art and science and how they fit together in the modern world.

The speakers were a variety but they came together in their belief in their own internal powers and their cutting edge practice in their respective field.
The speaker who blew me away was Jessica Thom. Her creation, Touretteshero is incredible. Nicholas McCarthy’s talk was also a great example of people defeating physical nature in order to be more than functional, to be incredible.

A few of the speakers were inviting people to be creative, to indulge in their hobbies and for me this has never been more relevant. You only have to look at the #TEDx feeds on Twitter to see the conversations that inspirational stories can spark. The use of Twitter at the event made the experience even richer. This is the kind of engagement that we want to encourage through the In-finite Space project at the Science Museum. We are inviting people to be creative through Twitter (we are @IJADdance by the way) in order to provide our artists with a new foundation for their response. Overcoming physical limitations was a theme of TEDx that got me thinking about the existence of a more universal limitation for humans. Does digital interaction lead to richer social and cultural experiences? Can we learn, from these inspirational examples, how to bridge the gaps between the physical and the digital space we inhabit?’

Follow us on Twitter to find out about why the In-Finite Space performance won’t work without you!

Calling all DANCERS – Twitter Flash-Mob is happening at the largest Digital conferences of the year in London!

Calling all DANCERS – Twitter Flash-Mob is happening at the largest Digital conferences of the year in London!

Can you move?

Are you free 11.18am onwards on Friday 24th

Do you have a smart phone?

If so – IJAD Dance Company are giving a talk on how the digital world is revolutionising dance.

We want to demonstrate this to the 15,000 attendees – as part
of our talk we’ll be asking them to tweet #todayimdancing with a piece of inspiration(idea, thought, poem) – we want you to help us flood twitter, by picking one, filming a 6 second or less vine of you dancing in response to one of these and tweeting it back on #ds13.

N.B if you do not have a vine on your make download it from the app mac to obtain a vine app for free go to:

Last year, #DS12 trended twitter on the first day of the conference so this is going to be big. Even better – the best one will get to work with artistic director of IJAD, Joumana
Mourad and learn in a private lesson the skills behind performing on multiple platforms as well as starring in our all new Twitter Scratch Performances over the summer.

Get excited. Get involved. Follow @IJADdance and tweet at us to let us know you’ll be taking part or if you have any questions.

Missed In-Finite in March? Get behind the scenes at Cambridge University’s Kettle’s Yard May 24th, 6pm

Missed In-Finite in March? Get behind the scenes at Cambridge University’s Kettle’s Yard May 24th, 6pm

Kettle’s Yard will be screening In-Finite as part of their season of Adult Events (oo-eer) called The 
Practice Sessions.

That’s not all though folks. Joumana Mourad will be giving unique insights into the piece so you will 
be able to see the effects of newly developed Sensography and Triple Choreography. These concepts
change the environment and the performer practice so that you will have an experience unlike any 
other streamed performance you’ve seen to date.

Joumana will also be running a twitter workshop as this piece existed on twitter at the same time it 
existed live on the night and over streaming. This isn’t any old ‘look at my sandwich’ tweeting, oh no, 
we look at how twitter can be used as a creative tool for expression and there will be plenty to join 
in with (including movement if you fancy it).

The creative team (designers, dramaturge, dancers et cetera) will be looking out for your tweets on 
the night, so if you want to ask any questions while you watch – tweet away!

Ensure your phone is fully charged, because this is going to be one fully charged night, whether 
you’re a newbie to ‘this whole social media thing’ or a passport holder of the twitterverse. We look
forward to seeing you there.

Find out more here:


We’re re-opening our anonymous survey to gather your secrets which will be workshoped on the 
night. You can tweet them privately to @infinite13 or here: survey monkey
IJAD’s done digital in Shoreditch – now we’re doing Digital Shoreditch

IJAD’s done digital in Shoreditch – now we’re doing Digital Shoreditch

London is positioning itself as the digital capital of the world and Shoreditch is already a thriving hub of tech companies (and the trendy bars that go with it!)

In March, IJAD launched In-Finite at Rich Mix in Shoreditch to the world which ushered in a new way of interacting with dance performance, both streaming video online and creating what one audience member dubbed it as ‘a durational performance’ on twitter. The conversation is still continuing and we’re taking it to Digital Shoreditch.

We’ll be presenting a talk on how the latest technologies are revolutionising the dance world – and in true IJAD style – we’re getting them to contribute to the weave of In-Finite.

The In-Finite Project is rather aptly named – and not because you’ll never hear the end of it! It looks at the infinite spaces within and the infinite nature of the internet and externality. It started its development in 2010 and we’re now booking tour dates into 2014 so you haven’t missed out if you weren’t able to plug in March 2013.

If you want to hear about how performers are adapting to dancing across multiple mediums simulations – direct from the horses mouth, then grab a ticket, take a look at us online and we look forward to seeing you in the audience and sharing your tweets!

Joumana and Camilla will speak on the Mayor’s Parlour at 11.18am on Friday 24

Buy Ticket

Watch on twitter: @IJADdance #infinite13 @DigiShoreditch

What are we on about?: