Bringing the body to the big stage
As Roche explains: “Sometimes you might just be brought in to create a three-minute dance. You are given the music and told what the dance has to do and that’s it.”
Increasingly, however, with directors like Cartmell, “who are really committed to the physicality of performance”, movement “becomes a part of the language of the play and you are helping to create a clarity for the audience as to what type of world the play is taking place in through the way that people move”.
The fact that she is working on King Lear is particularly significant for Roche; “I would have had to do King Lear for my Leaving Cert,” she says, “but I left before getting that far. So where everyone else in rehearsal is discussing character, I’m sitting there with tears in my eyes.” Tears in her eyes, but no regrets.
Body and Forgetting runs at the Peacock Theatre from January 28th to February 2nd. King Lear runs at the Abbey Theatre from February 6th until March 23rd.
Dancing on film
Roche’s piece Body and Forgetting is a collaboration with composer Denis Roche and film-maker Alan Gilsenan. Video work has become increasingly important toher.
“My work is probably best described as abstract rather than narrative,” she says. “Things happen in succession and for a reason but that isn’t always tangible, and that’s probably become more and more true of my most recent work.”
She has become attracted to video because “dance is moveable; just like all live performance there is the possibility of difference from night to night, depending on how the performers and the audience are feeling and how they come together on a particular night. Film offers a chance for preservation. [Film] offers a fixed point for me as a choreographer, a focus for the audience, and that allows us to be much freer with the [live dance].”