Meet the Associate Artists: Luke Pell

Meet the Associate Artists: Luke Pell

1. How does being an Associate Artist at Dance Base benefit you?
There are many projects I’m keen to realise over the next ten years or so, and being an Associate offers a complimentary frame through which to explore these; to seed emergent ideas and begin working on them.

2. What are you currently rooted in, or working towards?
Since becoming an Associate Artist, I’ve been looking carefully at a number of key aspects in my practice, working to understand them better and decipher what they mean for my work.

I have been looking at where my work lives in the world, and focusing on the ongoing and deepening interest in the relationship between poetry and choreography. I’ve also been exploring the concept of being an interdisciplinary artist, and whether I’m artistically leading a project as a maker, a collaborator or a curator.

3. Are you currently working on a body of work, or research project?
Over the next year I’m hoping to develop In the Ink Dark, which is a dance and a poetry performance that was first realised in May 2017; looking to take it to new places in Scotland.

I'll also start some early research for new performance projects which include:

  • The Wait of Mountains, a duet with Janice Parker
  • Selkie Was A Sea Witch, with Kitty Fedorec
  • Lost Botanists, a series of choreographic portraits of people, plants and gardens.

4. What themes do you explore in your practice?
A lot of my work, including In the Ink Dark, has been about finding language for loss; exploring transformation and change. As a project, the dancers involved and I were working very specifically with the relationship between memory and materiality.

With new projects, themes include, but are not constrained to, queerness, otherness, imagination, transformation, nonesense poetry, folklore, dance, storytelling and gender bias.

5. Where do you draw inspiration from?
The world around me - the very different worlds, realities and communities I inhabit and pass through. The people I talk with, walk with, move with and witness in the pub, the club, the park, the library, the post office, the local shop, on the side of a mountain, at shore, at seminars and conferences, performances, happenings.

I read and walk a lot. 

The two go hand in hand for me, and most of my ideas come out of long periods of reading over years, becoming fascinated by the detail of a thing, nuances of time, texture, memory and landscape.

6. What’s your favourite project that you’ve worked on, or been a part of?
Eek, I’m really not one for favourites and at the moment I am really trying to work a lot at noticing un/conscious hierarchies and biases… so it's not just one thing for me.

In the last few years however I've been very proud of In the Ink Dark. I was moved by the artists we worked with, and the people and places it brought together in Edinburgh and Leith.

Similarly I felt very privileged to be invited to curate and host The Talking Place as part of Fevered Sleep’s Men and Girls Dance. To work as dramaturg for Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis’s The Way You Look (at me) Tonight and Robert Softley Gale’s Purposeless Movements for Birds of Paradise, alongside working more and more closely as dramaturg and core collaborator with Janice Parker. 

Particularly with these last three artists, I value the opportunity to have worked with and learnt from them; their politics, their innovation, alternative aesthetics, their commitment to the artistry of diversity, and the visibility they bring to different voices and ways of being in the world.

7. What was the last performance that moved or inspired you?
I just came back from American Realness and I’m still reflecting on things I heard and felt in Marissa Perel’s (Do Not) Despair Solo. Perel touched on really pertinent concerns to do with what it is to give and receive care, what we each might differently find compelling and the hierarchies of privilege, bias and exclusion.

8. What are you currently listening to?
Ane Brun, Perfume Genius, Fever Ray, My Brightest Diamond, Karine Polwart, June Tabor, Fleetwood Mac, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey.
As for podcasts, On Being and New York Public Library.

9. Describe your practice in 5 words:
Choreography of people, place, thought.

10. Do you have any upcoming events / work that you’re involved with?

  • I’m Choreographer in Residence at this years StAnza Festival 18, taking part in some public conversations and on street impromptu performances in March in St. Andrews.
  • I’m also Guest Dramaturg this year as part of South East Dance’s Dramaturg in Residence programme, part of which Lou Cope and I will be releasing a series of podcasts on The Red Line about our work as dramaturg.
  • Similarly, Claire Cunningham has just released the Guide Gods Digital Collection a series of podcasts, curated by artist Jak Soroka that explores in detail some of the conversations and perspectives unearthed in Claire’s Guide Gods Projects for which I am an advisor.

Read more about our Associate Artist programme, and find out about Luke's work, by visiting her website here: 

Credit: Brian Hartley

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