Three decades ago, a breakthrough conversation initiated a long friendship.
As part of our Catalytic Conversation, Dance Base invited Matthew Hawkins and Rose English to revisit their first encounters in the early 1990s with the making of The Double Wedding (Rose English.1991) and Fresh Dances For The Late Tchaikovsky (Matthew Hawkins.1993).
While the making of their ensemble works affirmed aspects of their prior working knowledge, they also amplified their creative practice with the panache necessary to address the cavernous theatres of London's Royal Court and the Hackney Empire respectively.
Many projects are prism-like in the way they reveal multiple facets of added possibility and Matthew and Rose emerged from their first enterprises with a strong wish for further creative interaction. Throughout the following decades, they have engineered these in diverse circumstances and locales.
In this Catalytic Conversation, Matthew and Rose refresh their creative discourse once more, and explore these early shows as performers and makers; sharing how their creative exchange was challenging, heady and blissful. Join us as they revisit a long creative friendship, surprise each other with what they remember and explore how the work of the past sustains them now.
Photographs shown in the recording are by Mark Lewis, Hugo Glendinning and Stuart Morris, provided courtesy of Matthew Hawkins and Rose English.
A number of readings and resources were mentioned during the conversation. Matthew and Rose have provided the following list if you would like to explore the topics explored in more detail:
The Catalytic Conversations programme invites two dance artists to join in conversation to explore their practice, their experience and anything else they would like to discuss together, and opens the doors for us to listen in. Dance Base has a long standing commitment to embracing international exchange and while one of the artists will be based in Scotland the other will be based outside of the UK. All conversations will be hosted online and run for 60 minutes with space for 30 minutes of questions from the audience. We look forward to welcoming you along!
This event has BSL interpretation throughout. A fully captioned recording of the event will be available after the 16 of April.
Rose English emerged from the Conceptual art, dance and feminist scenes of 1970’s Britain to become one of the most influential performance artists working today. Her uniquely interdisciplinary work combines elements of theatre, circus, opera and poetry to explore themes of gender politics, the identity of the performer and the metaphysics of presence.
Rose has mounted performances in ice rinks; at the Royal Court Theatre and Tate Britain, London and Franklin Furnace, New York; and collaborated with horses, magicians and acrobats. Her work ranges from her site-specific performances and collaborations of the 1970s including Quadrille, her acclaimed solo performances of the 1980s including The Beloved to her large scale spectaculars of the 1990s including The Double Wedding. Her internationally celebrated solo with a horse - My Mathematics - was followed by a series of vignettes with horses at The Banff Centre, Canada and The Serpentine Gallery, London. Ornamental Happiness - a show in song and circus opened the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2006 followed by Flagrant Wisdom, commissioned by National Glass Centre in 2009. English co-wrote and designed the feature film The Gold Diggers, 1983 directed by Sally Potter; digitally re-mastered and released on BFI DVD in 2009.
Recent solo exhibitions include ‘The Eros of Understanding’, 2014 at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, ‘A Premonition of the Act’, 2015 at Camden Arts Centre, London and ‘Form, Feminism, Femininities’, 2019 at Richard Saltoun, London. Her work is in collections including Tate; York Art Gallery and The VERBUND Collection, Vienna.
London born Matthew Hawkins trained at The Royal Ballet School (1970-77) and danced with The Royal Ballet for five years before embarking on freelance practice by joining Second Stride and Michael Clark companies at their inauguration. Matthew initially studied choreography with Merce Cunningham and later with David Gordon.
He has been presenting his own work since 1980 and has been commissioned by Dance Umbrella, Rambert Dance Company, Szegedi Balett (Hungary) Dansproduktie (Netherlands) Ars Poetica (Slovakia) and many others. He is the recipient of a Jerwood Choreography Prize (2002) a Dance Artist Fellowship (Arts Council England 2003) and a Choreographic Futures Award (Creative Scotland 2014).
British Council support has enabled Hawkins to interact with artists in Tunisia, Japan, Venezuela, Turkey and The Russian Federation, and also to advance long-term projects with visual artists and choreographers in China. As a versatile freelance performer Matthew has appeared in numerous films and staged pieces including Rose English's The Double Wedding (1991, Royal Court. London) Blanca Li's Corazon Loco (2006, Theatre de Chaillot. Paris - and on tour) Natasha Gilmore's A Conversation With Carmel (2010,Tramway.Glasgow - and on tour) and Cinderalla Games for film makers Jessica Wright and Morgann Runacre-Temple (2020).
Matthew currently lives in Edinburgh. He teaches a wide variety of community classes at Dance Base, he lectures at Glasgowclyde College and he is active in collaboration with Red Note contemporary music ensemble..
Supported by Creative Scotland with funding from Scottish Government.