What does the dx Choreography Award mean to you and how will you use your time at dx?
My practice is based on being a permanent visitor: investing in communities and having long term relationships with people whilst never living in one place. Being a DX Choreography Award Artist is a really exciting opportunity to connect with a new group of artists, venue and locality – it feels great to be welcomed as an outsider and I can’t wait to spend time in Birmingham. I really believe meeting people who do not know my practice is the best way to challenge my work and reflect on how it has evolved. Equally, I find supporting others to see their work from a fresh perspective really rewarding.
In the studio at DanceXchange I will be developing a new work ‘Here Before Now’ for The BENCH Outlands Tour. The work is inspired by the intention of creating living room performances for individuals who cannot attend the theatre due to ill health.
Tell us about you and your company
Carrying the innate values of hip hop culture whilst exploring new territories in dance theatre, Emma uses physicality as a catalyst for conversation and social change. ‘High octane… energetic, witty and playful’, (The Skinny) she invites audiences to question their role in the performance; role in the conversation and role in society hoping to reframe what is seen as brave, human and successful. This is most evident in her creative research #TheSoloFilter where audiences, artist and critics are invited to remake her work into the piece they wish they had seen.
Founding Cultured Mongrel as a means to asking people to work with her not for her, Emma brings together unique combinations of artists to generate original concepts for performance, participation and advocacy that propose a cultural contribution beyond simply touring work.
Emma is a current BENCH fellow and Associate Artist with the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.
Kate Tempest, Candy Chang or Richard O’Brien… do I really have to choose?!
Benoît Lachambre – he makes work I would never dream of making so I would love to try to find the common denominator in our practice and pick his brains.
What was your first dance experience?
Being Scottish the thing that sticks in my mind from a young age is Ceilidh dancing at school, I always loved it. There is live music, it is super social, everyone can get involved and if you’re doing right it’s a little bit dangerous – pretty much sums up how I still feel about dance today. The other memory is my sister and me creating routines to Danny Minogue’s ‘This Is It’ on cassette in the back garden… possibly not so reflective of what I get up to in the studio, or at least not the parts that I choose to show people!!!
Favourite dance video of all time?
This is a really tough one because it is all about context, I’m addicted to the ‘watching for the first time’ feeling. Videos like Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation are so iconic, Okay Go’s Music Videos never fail to amaze and I love the appropriative slap in the face of the Everything Is Terrible ‘This Is Hip Hop’ video. However, I never fail to want to dance along with this guy because it feels ace!