A conversation about Oracle, a new dance work with George Adams
“If you could bottle dance as a health elixir, it would contain exercise, communication, sensation, expression and a drop of individuality.”
LPM Dance Theatre is an artist-led organisation based in Lancaster, established by George Adams and Helen Gould in 2011. The ambition was to create new high quality dance experiences in the North West within a broad range of settings. LPM now has a track record for developing projects in the region, many of which have an inclusive focus.
Lancaster Arts worked with LPM Dance Theatre in 2018 on a new project called IF, which brought together dance and health practitioners from across the UK at the cutting edge of inclusive practice (dance created and performed by (dis)abled and able bodied dancers). As this relationship developed over the last year, George Adams was keen to create a framework for a new piece of touring work with characters that could be played by locally based dancers working with locally based (dis)abled dancers, which would help to support dance infrastructure in the northwest. We were keen to help him grow this and interviewed him about its’ development.
Lancaster Arts: What does inclusive dance practice mean to you?
George Adams: Dance is inherently inclusive in the same way that creativity and play are to human behaviour. We experience life through the window of our own senses. The western categorisation of arts and the digital age has created distinct boundaries between entertainment and the daily use of dance as part of living and expressing within our communities. I guess my passion and understanding of inclusivity in dance is allowing all people to enjoy a safe and constructive space to explore, express and listen to their own bodies.
Inclusion is just an aspect of this creative process. We intend that one of the roles will eventually be played by different performers opening more opportunities for professional artists to perform in our work in the next phase, particularly those with disabilities and additional needs.
This has been an opportunity to collaborate with professional dancers with learning disabilities and it takes time to integrate different performers in the work, whatever their background. It is important to ensure individuals are comfortable, safe and ready to perform so we’re able to explore how we adapt our approach to be flexible and open to new ways of working whilst also gaining an understanding of how much time is needed to ensure we are performance ready.
Lancaster Arts: What is the relationship to health and wellbeing?
George Adams: I work within the dance and health sector, applying therapeutic interventions in order to heal the body and mind. The benefits of dance have already been quantified many times over in research. If you could bottle dance as a health elixir, it would contain exercise, communication, sensation, expression and a drop of individuality.
Lancaster Arts: Why were you interested in creating Oracle?
George Adams: A friend of mine asked me what a show might look like that contained some type of consultation with the audience that directly influenced what the choreography might be. In the first instance, I was interested on what type of answers people seek from having a spiritual or therapeutic consultation.
I have been fascinated by the work done with Tarot cards and Jung’s work with archetypes. So I set out to explore this and after two years of thinking and five away from the stage myself, I decided it was time for Oracle.
Lancaster Arts: What do you hope for this work?
George Adams: We are currently working to develop a tour for this work in 2020, performing at a variety of venues and festivals. We trialed the work at Eden Festival and Morecambe Fringe Festival over the summer and based on the success of these performances we can see that both festivals and unconventional spaces would be suited to showcase the work in the future.
George Adams is associate artistic director of Indepen-dance, the only professional integrated dance company in Scotland and works as a mentor, dancer, choreographer and therapist, across the U.K.