Chris on the creation of The Awakening


Our learning disabled dance artist Chris Pavia has done a quick Q&A about his inspiration behind our new outdoor production The Awakening.

Nadenh Poan and Hannah Sampson in The Awakening

Image Description: Nadenh Poan and Hannah Sampson in The Awakening. Nadenh is titling back in his wheelchair, resting his back and head against Hannah, who is behind him, leaning forward to take his weight.

Q: Where did your ideas start?

I used a lot of pictures and images from films. I also looked at things like the Tardis from Doctor Who because I wanted to have spirals and something that whirls around in the air and back down to the ground. This how I wanted the piece to start.

The themes of The Awakening are based on darker and mysterious stories because it has a lot of nightmares and shaken confidences and how to get out of them. The dancers gave me a lot of their ideas and suggestions and I found this very useful.

Q: How did you collaborate with the dancers?

I gave them creative tasks such as giving them words to inspire some solo movement. Simple words like push, pull, resist and grab to start with, I then combined their solos into duets. I then developed their solos and duets to make more drastic and bigger movement material.

Because I was interested in the idea of being inside and outside a cave and light and dark to start with, Lucy suggested we worked outside exploring how it felt to be in the wind and sunshine. We also practiced using the ground and hard floor outside, and we used these feet sounds in the music that Andy Higgs composed.

Q: What do you want the audience to feel?

I’d like the audience to feel like there is someone there behind them but they cannot actually see them. That the piece is more haunting and it has a mystery feel to it. I like to create creepy dances, so the music and costumes are dark and mysterious. It is like the dancers are from another world. They are lost but together they find a way out.

More about The Awakening