Meet: MonixArts, who have created a dance performance based on a BSL poem

Posted on June 16, 2017

MonixArts have created a new dual dance performance based on a poem that we featured on Limping Chicken in 2013, Colin Thompson’s ‘If I told you I was Deaf would you turn away?’ Below they tell us all about it.

Make sure you go and see Signs on June 28, 6.15pm (The Old Fire Station, Oxford) as part of Offbeat fringe festival, 23 June – 2 July. More information and tickets, click here.

Tell me about the company and the work you do?

MonixArts is a contemporary dance company based in London, led by choreographer Monica Nicolaides. Our artistic practice focuses on human behaviour and body language from Darwin’s perspective, and how that influences relationships within current society. We take inspiration from other movement languages to develop highly physical and expressive danceworks.

MonixArts was established in 2012, with a number of productions in its portfolio. Performing credits include: The Place, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Zoo, Blue Cloud Scratch, Insights Festival, Lost theatre and the Blue Elephant Theatre.

Our work has received support by Arts Council England, Hiive, IdeasTap Innovators Fund, Clarence Mews, bbodance, Candoco Dance Company, and Arch 197.

What inspired you about Colin’s poem?

I have been working with BSL for the last 3 years, learning and researching the language and the deaf culture. I discovered Limping Chicken a couple of years ago and Colin’s poem stood out. It was gutsy, open and honest. I feel I could connect and relate with the emotions expressed.

Through my research I wanted to find something that I, as an outsider to this world, could connect with. A common ground, a mutual feeling – maybe not to the same extent or for the exact same situation – but something that explained my original attraction to this language. Colin made something I was exploring for years, clear in one poem.

How involved has Colin been in this?

His written work acted as an inspiration, and the starting point of this work. I wanted to explore his poem’s theme more through my own work. Since my primary medium is movement, dance seemed the natural way to go. It gave me an opportunity to explore the physicality of BSL, the importance of body language, taking the poem’s theme into the body.

What is the final piece like?

SIGNS has developed into a strong emotional conversation between two dancers. The poem became the instigator for developing the movement and the relationship between the two characters – a deaf person and a hearing person. SIGNS investigates the complex relationship of these two characters, the barriers in communication and the struggle to reach to an understanding. BSL is fused with contemporary dance to form a distinct movement language.

Make sure you go and see Signs on June 28, 6.15pm (The Old Fire Station, Oxford) as part of Offbeat fringe festival, 23 June – 2 July. More information and tickets, click here.

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Posted in: interviews