As part of Talking, Thinking, Dancing Dr. Nicola Conibere and Katye Coe, in discussion with Dr. Simon Ellis, consider the necessity of collaboration between artist, commissioners and research institutions in relation to their own doctoral practices as it is shared with audiences. Nicola and Katye, who have both presented their work nationally and internationally, address questions from their different positions at the beginning of the doctoral process (Katye) and following the completion a doctoral project (Nicola).
Nicola Conibere, who completed her degree entitled ‘Audiences, Choreography, Publics: The Politics and Practice of Spectatorship’ in 2015, comments that her role as a professional artist is totally her interwoven with her experience in the academy. In contrast Katye Coe, who is currently undertaking her degree at Coventry University, expresses a more complex, less integrated experience.
As part of “Talking Thinking Dancing” Nicola Conibere presented her work Do-Re-Me in which two figures wrapped around each other, and within swathes of black fabric, negotiate a path around the studio. Creating a mass that is both familiar and strange, its fragmented limbs flail and reach for movement, continually destabilising and transforming the integrity of the body’s form. The performers’ physically enmeshed actions playfully provoke shifts in relation between people, material and place without resolution. Performed by Ben McEwen and Pepa Ubera.
Conibere says of the work: “Do-Re-Me has three interrelated points of enquiry: 1) In what conditions can the appearance and actions of human bodies interrogate how we recognise what is human? 2) How can the ‘choreographic’ question and expand the politics inherent to the viewing conventions of art galleries? 3) How might the ‘choreographic’ examine the relationship between subjectivity, the human body and notions of the public and public space? These questions speak directly to ideas of migration, public gatherings and common space, as well as critical enquiries into movement as a philosophical principle.” (Nicola Conibere, 2017).
Katye presented her work In the predicament of an Ending. The writes that she proposed ‘predicaments’ that ‘have the potential to transform outcomes’. Such predicaments arise from circumstances that hang between her body and the embodied history/ending/after of an intense and focused experience of dancing.
This practice is deeply informed by a period of work undertaken by Katye with the influential British dance maker, Rosemary Butcher: ‘Through the choreographic choices that Rosemary made, as well as those made as I perform these choices, concern the distillation and discarding of material. I find spaces to work in a predicament as Rosemary intended. Glimpses of this predicament are accompanied by a simultaneous opening up and condensation of space. I don’t consider this a completed piece or a choreographic work. It reveals itself as a recalling of journeys and a remembering of places visited, closely guided by my attention to interior surface and the perceptual flattening of exterior spaces.” (Katye Coe, 2017)
Dr Simon Ellis is a choreographer, dancer and film-maker interested in practices and ideas to do with (not necessarily at the same time) power, responsibility, memory, dialogue and screens. He trained as a dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, and his choreographies include Full (2001), Indelible (2003), Inert (2006), Gertrud (2008), Desire Lines (2010), and Pause. Listen. (2014). His film projects include Then/Now (2008), Tuesday (2009), and Anamnesis (2010). Simon collaborates with Colin Poole as Colin, Simon & I (colinsimonandi.com) and most recently they presented A Separation (2014) at Lilian Baylis Studio in London. They are currently developing a new performance to première at Independent Dance in London in May 2016.
Simon has a practice-as-research PhD from the University of Melbourne. The research explored liveness, improvisation, documentation and remembering, and was presented as a DVD-ROM. His work as a scholar includes understanding ways of knowing through writing, choreography and film, and in supporting the development of practice-as-research (see practiceasresearchblog.wordpress.com).
Dr. Nicola Conibere is a Senior Lecturer in Dance and a practicing artist with strong links to professional bodies and international festivals, as well as a solid history in securing funding. In addition to her lectureship at Coventry University she is a regular visiting lecturer on MA programmes at TrinityLaban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. In 2015 she was awarded her AHRC funded, practice-based PhD. Her research is located in a nexus between dance, theatre and performance studies, addressing what choreographic practice offers to the politics of spectatorship, participation and notions of publics. Nicola was an Associate Artist with Nottingham based, international dance agency Dance4 from 2009 to 2014, and is regularly invited to contribute to public discussions and to join a range of research projects. She has wide ranging links in the dance and performing arts industries, as well as being an active participant in artist and researcher networks. Nicola’s choreographic work has been shown at venues including Royal Academy of Arts (London), Hayward Gallery (London), Nottingham Contemporary (Nottingham), ANTI Festival of Contemporary Art (Kuopio, Finland), Laban Theatre (London), Royal Opera House (London) and numerous other organisations.
Katye Coe is a dance artist based in the UK. She has practiced as a performer, choreographer and teacher since 1994. She is a senior lecturer in Dance at Coventry University. Katye performs for Joe Moran and Florence Peake. She teaches independently across the UK and internationally. Katye was the founding director of Decoda. Her current practice and curiosities engage working methods that deal with imagination, with enduring experience that may be caught in an accidental moment of encounter, or witnessed over much longer periods of time. She is living the possibility that one makes and performs work as an activist. The activity performed might be displaced and persistent, or commonplace and fleeting, revealing a raw craft through structures and through dancing that is always hopeful.