Tag: dance

2013: An IJAD review.

2013: An IJAD review.

This has been a bumper year where the wheels haven’t stopped whirring. Here’s Camilla’s whistle-stop tour.

March saw us present our first performance which combined the three elements of social media, streaming and live performance. In-Finite continued to delve in to the world of secrets and explored the tension of the secret kept and secret revealed. It received over 1000 online views, reached over 400 people on social media and was seen in 11 countries. This was kindly supported by The Asfari Foundation and The Arts Council as well as many generous private donors.

Read the story of Infinite here and view the trailer here.

Not a bad start to the year. We were commissioned to perform a scaled down version of In-Finite in Switzerland for ArtCorps Antilope Festival. Interest in our approach continued and we were invited to run a workshop at Brunel University as part of their Artaud Forum where we built on the outreach workshops we ran at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, London; one of which was delivered across London and Spain.

Swiftly following was more interest from the academic community where we presented our method and it’s applications to the Theatre and Performance Research Association in Manchester. The digital world pricked up it’s ears and we presented our vision at Digital Shoreditch, a week long festival which celebrates the outstanding creative, technical and entrepreneurial talent of East London and Tech City. On the self same day we zoomed up to Cambridge to present a screening of In-Finite at contemporary art gallery Kettle’s Yard.

The summer saw us take part in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’ InTRANSIT Festival where we were the largest contributor presenting a whopping 22 performances over 7 days in the outdoor spaces of the Borough and was attended by Councillor Tim Colerdige of RBCK

Sustaining the interest from the academic community we entered in to discussions with Aberystwyth University and the digital performance professor there and opened conversations with Goldsmith’s Centre for Urban and Community Research. A bid for £15,000 to Creative Works London was successful and we are still conducting research with Goldsmiths into twitter conversations that we stimulate for our performances and cultivating new methods of engagement.

Autumn spun around in no time and we were back at Brunel University taking part in a workshop series (also featuring Akram Khan) for their Contemporary Performance Making Series.

RBKC funded us along with The Science Museum to perform again at Nour Festival (last year at we performed for this festival at the V&A Museum) with 3 performances in one night during their Lates series of events about Space where we had amazing attendance online and at the event, the Mayor of RBCK, Councillor Charles Williams attended the event, especially to see our performance which gained 4 stars.

To say a HUGE thank you to all our friends and partners we hosted our First Annual Gala at Camden Proud Old Horse Hospital where we showed snippets of our work peppered with performances from Joumana. We ran a unique Twitter Pilot which was a resounding success that will greatly inform 2014’s work and were able to catch up with you all which we know is sometimes hard at performances!

Links: 19th Storify

We worked with a huge range of talented photographers and artists who worked in parallel to us, with special thanks to Andrea Di Cenzo, Georgia Hackett, Pippa Dodds, Liran Fisher, Emily Pulham, Arabella Hilfiker, Pierce Braysher and our designers Joseph Asghar and David Grant a host of others we’re delighted to have collaborated with.

We achieved a 4 page spread in The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Magazine, popped up in the Metro twice and appeared on countless web magazines including Dance UK and various disability press. In-Finite Space Part I had not one but two embedded journalists working alongside us and were even appear on the radio.

We’d also like to thank our amazing twitter and facebook followers who join in by submitting all sorts of amazing ideas such as poetry, pictures, ideas and answers, some of which really took our breath away.

We have an exciting 2014 lined up, so keep an eye out in January where we look forward to announcing another year of contemporary magic which you can be a part of

Have a great December!

In-Finite Incarnates In Switzerland

In-Finite Incarnates In Switzerland

It’s easy when you sell out a show to think that you’ve done everything right. However, as ever, we like to set the bar a little higher. We like to think we’re more concerned with the way you, our audience, experienced the performance. We did something brand new.

On March 8th we had three different audiences:

– A live audience in London (did we mention we sold out?)
– An online audience – watching from 11 confirmed countries
– A twitter audience – from the 20% of people tweeting (in the auditorium, and many more of you from home), over 400 people had an experience of the show through a twitter feed

After a month of research collecting feedback and opinion from you (please continue to let us know what you thought) we’ve noticed some interesting things.

One recurring piece of feedback is that the latter part of the performance was so engaging all the way through and changed quite rapidly that you felt you were missing things if you stopped to tweet or take a picture. Also, there was little time to absorb what was going on, decide what you think till after the show.

We’re very happy to announce that ArtCorps who run the Antilope Festival in Switzerland was so intruiged with what we did on the 8th that they have invited us to perform as part of their 2013 Festival. On the 24th April In-Finite with incarnate as a twitter performance and live showing. We wont be streaming it – but, you will be able to watch the performance through the eyes of those gathered. To get the most enriching experience possible we’re breaking up the performance in to three parts. This will give 4 scheduled opportunities (one before, two intervals and after the show) for the viewers to watch, digest, interpret and share their ideas over twitter.

Antilope are very excited about the way we’re integrating social media with dance to the point where our very own Joumana Mourad has been anointed their Twitter Ambassador for the festival and will be spreading the exciting opportunities Twitter has to performers and audiences who attend the festival from the 22nd April.

Be prepared to watch #infinite13 as we think you’ll find some delightfully creative thoughts appearing as well as a never before seen insight into what’s happening at the festival and in the minds of the creatives involved.

The performance is at 8.30pm CEST (7.30pm BST) so if you can’t make it in the flesh (book here if you can) you can experience for the very first time a twitter only dance performance. We’d love to hear what you think as well – so, follow @IJADdance and we’ll let you know all about it as it fast approaches!

In-Finite at Rich Mix [Review]

In-Finite at Rich Mix [Review]

Charlotte Goodhart is 23 studying Museum Studies at UCL and interested in the way that cultural organisations communicate with their audiences, through exhibition, engagement and digital marketing. She tweets @CharGoodhart

Having absolutely no experience or knowledge of contemporary dance, I was intrigued about what a night with IJAD would entail. All I knew prior to the night was that they are based in London, that use mutlimedia approaches throughout their performances and will let me tweet while I’m actually watching.

The event was held at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green on the 8th March and the venue was perfect, as a space that holds a variety of different cultural, musical and other events regularly. On the night itself, we entered the space by lift in groups of ten and came straight into the dancers and the performance space. The room resembled something out of a very surreal dream, or at least a Tim Burton film. Spools of plastic were scattered and hung around the room, looking like the innards of cassette tapes, whilst the lights, which were low, flickered: first impressions, very eerie but very intriguing. At the front of the room, a majestically dressed performer was reading out secrets that had been submitted prior to the event by 100 strangers. These varied from the obvious ‘I stole from the corner shop when I was 10 and I’ve never stopped feeling guilty about it’ to the more extreme, something about poisoning your dog with Class A drug. This only added to the intimate, spooky atmosphere and I couldn’t help but that I had secretly snuck into someone else’s unconscious whilst they slept.

Meanwhile, at the back of the room there was a screen, where tweet deck was showing everything being said on twitter about the performance. At first it was obvious that people involved in the performance were just trying to keep numbers up, by tweeting about the room itself, or how the dancers looked. But within about ten minutes, as the guests relaxed, the page became a flurry of messages, thoughts and feelings and as you looked round the room, almost all the faces were lit by their phones, as they typed away. In what worked as a wonderful contrast to the intimiate intensity of the secrets, we were all viewing a different performance; our own livetweeting.

It was a strange experience, it felt rude to get my phone out and write about what I was seeing rather than watching it. But is this much different to what we do on a day-to-day basis? Most twitter pages, regardless of who owns them, read like an internal monologue. Sure, some are more interesting than others, I would probably rather read the twitter of a journalist whose life centres around keeping people up to date with what’s happening, than that of a 15 year old in a small town near Birmingham whose priorities are boozing and avoiding school work. But if you strip away what they’re writing, the intention is the same, to broadcast what’s on your mind. So it was a novel experience to literally live tweet what we were seeing. And it clearly wasn’t just me who enjoyed it.

There’s a huge preoccupation with turning off your phone when you enter a cultural space, be it an exhibition, a museum or a play. And it’s true that it can be very distracting for others, particularly if you’re in the cinema or if you have a godawful ringtone that keeps going off in an exhibition.

However, visiting an exhibition, or watching a play is an experience that you will interpret and understand in a way totally different to another viewer. Being able to look up other people’s thoughts on what you’ve just seen is fascinating and might make you look at something in a totally different way. So long as you aren’t disturbing someone else’s experience, using your phone to tweet about your experience actually does a lot more good than it is harm. I certainly felt it softened my introduction to contemporary dance. Lets start a conversation, open it up, debate and say what we really mean. And please, when I enter the space, let me turn on my phone!

Live Streaming

Live Streaming

Streaming in performance is a loaded area. While the obvious access opportunities are great, there are lots of issues around what, where, how much and what we even call this digital addition that is becoming so important to live art.

First the practical, what exactly do we mean by live streaming? Options include the use of static cameras on tripods versus using a live camera crew. Besides the relative costing differences, there are hundreds of reasons why we might choose one method over another, each one with even more alternatives. How and where should static cameras be placed? How many cameras should be used? Do the camera crew become part of the performance itself?

Many of these issues come down to whether we should be treating an online audience as equal to the physical audience. If so are we not obliged to strive to provide the same experience? And then how does the streaming impact on the expeience of the physical audience? When does streaming equipment begin to change what the present audience experience? With online audiences potentailly outnumbering the physical audience might we lose something of the feel of a live performance, as if we’re inviting them to a filmset?

So does the thought of a less committed audience offend us? An online audience will inevitably watch differently. The experience of a recorded or streamed performance can arguably never be as powerful as the live version. There are aspects of a performance beyond the visual and as technology develops, we’re seeing ever more innovative and performance practice… – sensography. Are we therefore offering our online audiences a reduced performance? Does live streaming cut people off even further? What about those with no internet connection or a generation that are not ‘digital natives’? Are we doing enough to introduce new audiences to the possibility?
At the same time, it could be said that live streaming is in fact more powerful. As we’ve said before, digital interaction may well be the answer to audience participation that performance art needs.

If we can achieve more online, or at least achieve something different, are we talking about the emergence of a new artform? Possibly, who are the curators of this new space? Working with a venue is one thing but what about curating a space where your viewers can adjust the volume, dim the lights, switch cameras or get up and go and make a cup of tea?

The implications on the more traditional audience are huge! Does an online audience encourage people to come and see a live show or make them feel like they’ve seen it? People who buy a DVD won’t then go see it in the cinema (usually). People who buy an album will go and see a band live. What role does mystery have in the arts? The industry is scared of losing business and artistis are scared of giving everything away…

But, we do know that live streaming promotes more access to the arts…Undoubtedly, streaming allows access to performances to those that might have had none but is potential the key word here? Certainly the possibility of access is there but are we really seeing larger audiences from around the world, disadvantaged people and the less able taking a new interest in dance and performance or are we just transferring our current audiences?

In-Finite is being live streamed on Friday from 8pm (http://bit.ly/ZkfEEe). Or attend in person at Rich Mix from 7.30pm (http://bit.ly/XUjRfI)

Turning Social Media into Creative Media

Turning Social Media into Creative Media

Today we ran our Turning Social Media into Creative Media workshop alongside the Plan d school of Dance, Barcelona with the help of Twitter, Skype and some great ideas!


‘Hoy, junto a Joumana Mourad dictando un workshop entre Barcelona y Londres en simultáneo..! IJAD Dance Company junto a Pland Centre de Dansa. Que buena experiencia!!!’ Juan Leiba


The collaberation between the two countries would not have been possible without the support of technology. And what we’re seeing is the potential of the use of technology to create artwork that is accessible. Creative director, Joumana is working with cross platform dance performers, aiming for the creation of transparency between virtual & real: ‘today we managed to incapsulate two countries and different groups of dancers in a bubble of time where sharing was crucial. I’m excited that we’re starting to explore the migration between physical spaces and virtual maps.

Thanks to everyone who made it today and look out for our next social media project!

Diary of a dancer: Sally Marie

Diary of a dancer: Sally Marie

‘So first rehearsal today. Joumana wants me to be beautiful, or at least to stand up straight and not be angst ridden and  overly dramatic! It was slightly a shock, yet an interesting challenge. So I put on my corps de ballet face and she looked a bit happier. Then she had me eating lots of peanuts whilst I danced, which apparently helped my jaw relax. I felt like Eliza Dolittle.

New people, new studios I thought as I walked into the O2 centre today. Love it. Robert was there. Smashing bloke. All swoosh and verve. And then Shanti, the costume designer came in to measure me and I spent the afternoon in a crinoline asking Robert at one point, ‘does my bum look big in this!?’

Its tricky because I feel entirely unable to give up the secrets of the present. Everyone else has. And its been something that has lead to big steps forward for the work. But I cannot and could not. And so this is the point of tension that we are working with just now. I told Joumana I felt awful about it, because I always want to be able to give everything. And yet I just cannot say these things. They are too much to let out into the air. They are the reason I often sob myself to sleep and wake up feeling sick. I simply could not say them.

Still I hope that I can say a great deal else in the show and talk of other people’s secret which are fascinating, funny and tragic in equal measure.

Anyway, ten days and counting and tomo we all meet for lunch time on our day of rest no rest. Can’t wait!’


Sally trained at Central School of Ballet and has since performed a great deal with Protein Dance, performing ‘B for Body,’ in the Place Prize final, as well as the following full-length touring production of ‘Dear Body.’ She recently completed a world tour of their critically acclaimed show, LOL.
Sally has also worked with Sean Tuan John, Jasmin Vardimon, Tilited Productions, Duckie at The Barbican, Deja Donne in Italy, Rajni Shah, Gary Stevens, Lulus’ Living Room, Frauke Requart, H2, and Ridiculussmuss at The National Theatre, as well more recently working at St Thomas’s hospital alongside the physios there, developing dance for children.
Her first group work ‘Dulce et Decorum’ was performed two years running at Spring Loaded, The Place and lead to her company Sweetshop Revolution and a newly created work entitled Tree. Other choreographic credits include The Extra, a solo performed at The Linbury, Royal Opera House, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful,’ a musical by Graeae at Theatre Royal Stratford, ‘Nerve,’ a play by Prestige Theatre Company and ‘Violet Smile,’ a short circus solo about a vampire waitress.
She has been twice voted Best Female performer by Dance Europe and twice nominated as Best Female Performer, as well as New Talent by the National Critics Dance Circle. 
Bio: Reynir Hutber

Bio: Reynir Hutber

Reynir Hutber is a London-based artist working with emerging technology. Reynir is collaborating with IJAD as an ‘Experience Designer’, filmmaker and media researcher.




How would you best describe your work? 

‘I am a London based artist working with emerging technology. I combine performance and technology to create immersive installations that often invite the participation of the audience.’


What’s your role with IJAD?

I am collaborating with IJAD as an ‘Experience Designer’, filmmaker and media researcher.


What attracted you to In-Finite?

‘I was attracted by the opportunity to research and explore potential relationships between dance and technology. I was also interested in the way in which social media could be used as a tool to include people in the development of a performance.’


Tell us something about your secret…

‘Sometimes I find it amusing and other times frightening.’ Read more on Reynir’s work with IJAD and the In-Finite project in his post, Art and Technology. He also tweets: @reynirhutber


In-Finite comes to Rich Mix, London on 8th March. Bookings here.





















Bio: Héléna Casari

Bio: Héléna Casari

Héléna began dancing at the age of 5 at the conservatoire of Cergy and went on to join the contemporary section of the Paris Conservatoire (director Mrs Moreno) where she was taught by Catherine Vesque and Sabine Ricou, ‘who really inspired me’. In London, she did her Bachelor in Dance Theatre at the Laban Conservatoire and regularly took part in the Laban’s Events, such as “Common Bodies in a Space of Difference” by Zoi Dimirtiou (tour in London and Athens), repertoire pieces (Scramble by Cunningham) and her own choreographies.
After a placement in the Carolyn Carlson dance company during the creation of her new work “Synchronicity”, Héléna joined the IJAD dance company as a dancer (December 2012). She tweets at @hlnac
Photo by Yves Kossi

What attracted you to In-Finite?

The way Joumana uses the self to connect the dancers and the audiance. I believe in this creation process. the self plays an integral part in human motivation, affect, and social identity and sharing a secret can change your self-perception and your relationship with others. So, it could totally interest everybody and have an impact beyond coming to see the performance.

What’s the most exciting part of the project?

First working on my secrets was really exciting but at the same time scary: How can you approach such a personal subject, it’s not something you want to spend time on, you just want to lock it somewhere and that’s it. The idea of showing my secret to an audience is scary I get afraid that somebody will get what it is and will judge me. But finally, when I saw all the other dancers and people on IJAD’s website sharing their secrets, I felt much more comfortable to realease my stress and feel OK to open myself to others. Being more comfortable with myself and my secret will end in me being much more tolerant with my past and my old choices.

I hope we can find the best way to make people feel comfortable to share their secrets and find use in this process and maybe even apply it to their future.

So what has sharing your own secret meant for you?

My secret started when I was a child I didn’t wanted to hurt my family and so I kept it to myself for a long time. Now as a young adult I realise that it had an impact on my life and maybe if I was able to share it in a more free way with people, my life would have been very different. Sometimes for family or society reasons or even my own self-conscious I have been ashamed of myself but now I just want to free myself and make a step forward, accepting my past. As a process it works beyond interpretations. It’s a very honest, intense, challenging experience.

In-Finite comes to Rich Mix on 8th March 2013. For bookings click here.





Performing secrets – the process

Performing secrets – the process

I set out choreographing for In-Finite by asking dancers to interpret their own secrets. We had lengthy discussions about the impact of a secret on our lives and the kinds of feelings we might be putting to movement. We talked about the experience of keeping a secret, the associated emotions, the overwhelming impact secrets can have on our daily lives and the possibility of forgetting a secret completely. What we didn’t talk about was the secrets themselves.

Because the word secret has taken pride of place for this project. We must have used it a million times by now, in rehearsals, in our online discussions, in our everyday chats. We’re twisting it round and turning it inside out and inspecting, exploring and interrogating it as inspirational tools and choreographic elements. But the word itself can only go so far. If words are signs then secret is the perfect word – it’s purely a symbol.  Any creative response to a symbol is going to be detached, to lack authenticity.

As we’ve been writing, talking, dancing and tweeting about secrets, it has become clear that it’s a pretty hush hush area. This area where me as a choreographer will not invade as a sign of respect to the dancers privacy; this hush hush area became problematic a stumbling block, as I was unable to push the choreography further.  There is a secrets comfort zone and no matter what you happen to be talking about, one major thing is true – you’ll not divulge the actual secret. The secret is the unsaid thing. The secret elephant in the room. We could talk for hours about the sheer devastation caused by a secret or about the empowered feelings of owning one – we’re happy to dance around it, explore the feelings related to it – but we’ll not word the secret itself. I worked with the dancers on their secrets but we worked on the associated feelings and the words surrounding the secret. Imagine 8 dancers in different parts of a room. Moving separately with their own secret, like satellites of secrets. In the first 2 weeks of rehearsals, not a single secret was told.

So I started to think about the ingredients needed to take the dance from a floating concept of individual journeys, to a collaboration.

Lou Cope, the dramaturg collaborating on this project, suggested what I think we’d all forgotten, our own secrets. While this part of the performance involved interpreting our own secrets, the next stage would be interpreting others. Lou was right, how could I ask my audiences to open up for the first time about something so deeply personal and not offer my end of the bargain. How could we expect engagement when we weren’t prepared to put ourselves on the line too?

What followed was perhaps the hardest part of this process, for all of us. As a choreographer I felt this tremendous burden – would my dancers be willing to share? What responsibility do I have towards them and the audience? Would I be willing to share my secret in return? This was last Thursday and the change to the rehearsing space was intense. I’ve always promoted transparency in our rehearsals and processes but this was more, we were equal, together. We all had secrets but instead of keeping them to the silent movement space in our areas of the room – we owned each others. We shared. As a result the movement became more vulnerable, more honest and less dramatised.  It was as if, in sharing our secrets, we’d reattached to honest emotions…

Now our job turns to the audiences and how far we share our secrets with them. As independent and personal a secret might be, sharing is not a one way street. If you’ve followed our progress over the last couple of weeks, you’ve seen us ask audiences for secrets. We’re now seeing how many people want to share but don’t quite feel able to. The word secret teases us, it gets us wondering what it might be like to not keep it a secret anymore, it tickles our need for truce. What does it take to put it into words?

Joumana Mourad is a Dancer, Choreographer and the Artistic Director at IJAD Dance Company. The In-Finite project comes to London on March 8th and tickets can be booked here. Joumana tweets at @JouDance.