Room to Room aims to connect dance artists all over the world to create a unique collection of online solos. The project is a direct response to the restrictions we've been forced under as performers, makers, collaborators, human beings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The creators behind Room to Room are. Our project sprung out of the first weeks of quarantine. Catarina was at home in London and Ana Maria in Helsinki, unable to return to New York but with plenty of unused studio space available at the Finnish National Ballet. We were both out of work with unexpected free time on our hands. Like many dancers and creators in our position, we felt a strong urge to reconnect as friends and as artists. We began work on a long-distance creation with Catarina as the maker and Ana Maria as the interpreter/ performer. Our collaboration resulted in a thirteen-minute solo, made via Zoom over the course of one week and filmed with a smart phone. It felt like a natural expression of what we were going through, our own way of "dealing."
We propose to broaden this online project, with the ultimate goal of making a series of original dance solos. Each solo will be 7-10 minutes long, based on fixed tasks or "scripts." Through our extensive professional networks we will reach out to a wide variety of dancers, actors, choreographers of all ages and backgrounds. We will ask them their preferred role: director/choreographer or performer. These artists will then be paired in couples and begin to work closely together to interpret the tasks. Every solo will be tailored specifically to the individual performers each in their own homes, wherever they happen to be. We encourage everyone to create highly individualized works based however on the exact same "script." Thus a singular idea takes different routes and forms.
After an approximately two week process, the performers will film the solos with a smart phone and send them to us. We will assemble all the work together for an online "exhibition."
In the next phase, we would love to share these films for site specific viewings, for example: galleries, subway stations, schools, public spaces. In the final step we will ideally be able to gather all artists in one place and share these solos with live audiences all over the world through a series of tours, once funding is available and travel deemed safe again.
Ultimately, together with our artists, we will design an outreach program involving a series of workshops and conversations to take further into our own communities. We hope to get people of all ages and abilities following the same tasks and creating their own work. The true value of our project lies not only in the body of work, but in the methodology created for forging connections and processing human emotion together. Sharing this method with our communities speaks to the highest power of art: to feel and to connect.
Today, the need to share and use movement as a way of reminding ourselves that we are not alone is stronger than ever. Even though we are isolated and unable to be in spaces together, we believe we can resort to dance to process some of the disorienting unknowns that we are experiencing collectively. Close collaboration in the service of a single idea, even at a distance, is a powerful tool toward that end.
Working in the way we know best, by using our bodies, we hope to learn about the possibilities of this online format and to continue to keep our creative movement practice alive. Ultimately, we hope to offer time to self reflect and find some comfort and renewed strength to reset, reboot, realign ourselves with a changed world.