IS THIS THE BEGINNING OR IS IT THE END?
So goes the lyric to the song ‘when will i see you again’.. and it’s starting to get a bit like that. Not so much for me as I still have lots of work to do on the acquisition side of my project, but the sessions that the dancers have been leading with the various groups all this year are drawing to a close.
I went over to video on Thursday and these sessions have become such a regular event in my week that I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that they would be finishing until I arrived that day. For me it’s probably not a bad thing, but for the participants, particularly the ones in the retirement homes , I get the feeling they will be sadly missed. The dancers, Amy and Kelly, would love to keep the sessions going, but they were brought in to deliver a particular project, and that project will be complete once the bank holiday dance event takes place.
When I first began videoing I did so with a very open agenda. I would just hover in the background, chat to the occasional person here and there (particularly the oldies ) and just ‘look’ with the camera. What I’ve been doing is less ‘filming sequences’ and more taking in the detail of a particular environment. I haven’t wanted to impose a narrative, although perhaps I assumed one would develop anyway. So – what is that narrative? The answer thus far is this:
a. The old folks have their memories. Some of them, understandably, have problems with recall of current events. Trying to teach a dance routine to a person who sees every session in a similar way to the first is, shall we say, interesting. For them it’s all about the activity; the heart of the moment. That’s not to say they can’t recall the past though because many of them are quite clear on that subject, if a tad repetitive. I have been struck by the light in their eyes, their enthusiasm and their willingness to join in.
b. The sixth formers are ‘the performers’. They are confident and of course represent the future. One of my own children is still in sixth form, so I should know the territory, but seeing the sessions progress, and the way the routines have come on, I (someone who has never wanted to teach) have seen how rewarding that can be when you have a group of genuinely enthusiastic students. They have their moments of course, but, for students at a performing academy, they are surprisingly self effacing.
c. The ‘young carers’; well if I’m honest this group has been the least ‘successful’ in the conventional sense just because they don’t always turn up or are somewhat less focused. It’s understandable, given the practicalities of them getting there, and being that sessions are later in the day etc. .. but despite that, there has been a core of attendees who will get a sense of achievement out of taking part in the final event. To me they represent the ‘here and now’. They are too young to grasp the future fully, aren’t too concerned with the past and live more closely to, and in, the moment than most of us.
Having said all of that – it is of course not over until it’s over and next week we have a full day of dress rehearsals at the Borough Hall – and the event itself on the following Tuesday.
I have made the major purchase of a black and while bow tie off ebay and am looking forward to chatting with the general public in a role more akin to the barman in the Shining than my usual less sartorial appearance. I will have another cameraman there, so I can focus on what’s happening and who to talk to, at what is already a sell out event.
For me – the event draws a line in the sand on a particular shore…but there are more tides in my work yet, no permanencies, and more beaches to be explored. Ok enough with the metaphors.