This October, two new audio works by Disabled dance artists Shyne Phiri and Kazuyo Morita are premiering online as part of Dance Umbrella Festival 2023. These audio choreographies form the next installation of our Dance Tapes series which began in 2021 with Sg2 graduates Kat Ball and Sander Verbeek. With an introduction from Lucy Bennett, the creative facilitator behind the project, this blog shares insights into the work from artists Shyne and Kazuyo.
Listen to an audio version of this blog
Dance Tapes was a slow working and meandering project with plenty of space and time to discover. In the start I leant on the books by Miranda Tufnell and Chris Crickmay which then in turn led to the creation of our own scores, self-felt descriptions, drawings, and typography. As themes, drivers and imagery became clearer for Kazuyo and Shyne they began to choreograph their written dances, draft after draft after draft.
We then opened our world. Lily Norton joined to support with audio description and transcription and Hannah Miller composed the musical scores. When Hannah responded to our words, we could feel the audio dances growing – it was as if we were reaching out and Hannah was taking us to the place we wanted to be…
“Everything we did in Dance Tapes was a new experience to me, and I found it very stimulating. The writing process encouraged me to be more conscious of the external eye, and it challenged me to really consider my body as an individual dancer rather than just reflecting on my own creative ideas and imagination.” – Kazuyo Morita
Shyne’s work Within My Own Bones begins in his own home, the tensions of his body and the immediate surroundings are tempered by an awareness of rising sensations, Shyne’s words and movements gradually advance out of from himself into various incarnations of nature, as he tunes into his body and searches for a place to rest.
“The writing process was quite challenging and fun. I found myself focusing mainly on the progression of the piece without losing the essence of the whole thing. Lucy made an essential contribution to the style of writing and gave notes throughout the whole process and gave me the licence to take the piece in whatever direction I so desired. I gave Hannah (the composer) some musical reference to instrumental reggae and some tranquil music, as well as finding relevant sound effects in order to evoke the spiritual and dream-like world and also the dramatic moments of the journey.
My dance tape describes how I feel physically when I’m still or moving and opens up the space of creativity for me as a disabled dance artist. When I listen to the tape I relive the moment where I can manage to escape the everyday misery into the tranquil space and be able to renew my energy.”
Kazuyo’s work On the Way to My Body explores the fluid nature of identity, embodiment, space and perception. Gracefully traversing between English and Japanese, her tape takes the form of a wide-ranging yet incredibly personal journey through her bodily landscape.
“I would like my Dance Tape to convey my physical sensations, experiencing them as if they are choreographing me, through how my body feels gravity or how I move my body. I have a physical disability, so my experience may be a little different from the physical sensations that non-disabled people experience in their own bodies. Also, rather than entering this experience through visual images, I hope the audience will rely on their ears to let the words and sounds move your mind and body in sync with me. Let my Dance Tape give you a birth of realisation about my own physicality. I would be happy if the audience comes across new sensations in their bodies that they have never felt before.
When designing the sound world we incorporated the sound of a Japanese wind chime because I wanted the soundscape to have an essence of me having lived my life as a Japanese person. Wind chimes in Japan have quite a distinctive sound compared to what you find elsewhere.
I was surprised to find that my Dance Tapes felt a bit like a fairy tale, where adventure takes place on the landscape of a physical body. It’s different from dance that you experience through your eyes. The voices, the words, and the music you hear gradually liberates your body. It was a completely new dance experience.”
Dance Tapes was born out of necessity. Creativity can heal and that was what was needed during the low days of the Pandemic. I am proud that Dance Tapes began with Kat Ball and Sander Verbeek two Disabled Sg2 Apprentice Artists, and it was they who then shared their process’ and learnings with experienced Disabled Artists Kazuyo and Shyne whose Dance Tapes tracks are now a part of Dance Umbrella. Learning can always go both ways.
Dance Tapes | Dance Umbrella Festival 2023
You can experience Shyne’s and Kazuyo’s tapes with Dance Umbrella’s Digital Pass. Pay what you can.
Available until 31 October.
As part of the experience you can also access creative transcripts designed by Lily Norton which explore and expand captions of the speech and sound.Sign up for the digital pass
Responses from Kazuyo Morita are translated by Sho Shibata.