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Tell us a little bit about Fabulous Animals … what’s it about and what can audience members expect.

It’s about freedom really, freedom to express oneself wildly and weirdly, and to be comfortable in our own skins. And it’s about being inspired by animals and plants to be more in tune with our instinctive selves and our environment.

As director, what have you enjoyed the most about Fabulous Animals?

I’ve loved making this work from start to finish- it’s been five years of research, performing, creating, reading, and sharing and it all culminates here with a team made up of some of my favourite collaborators. If I had to pick one favourite thing it’s been hearing the audience responses. When you make something experimental and close to your heart it’s easy to worry you’re too weird- I’ve been told my work is very abstract and it can be politically daring sometimes. But people have mostly really ‘got it’ and resonated with it. That’s been a joy.

What’s your favourite animal and why?

Horses are my favourite animals, growing up riding and working with horses at Nolton Stables (up the road!) taught me so much about movement, collaboration, attunement and work ethic. I owe my dance career to those days I think- despite what my old ballet teacher would say!

In terms of the research, though, it’s all about taking different features from a range of creatures to create a composite that best suits one’s own body and self. My favourite combo is stag antlers, butterfly wings and a long, heavy tail.

How difficult is it to become as one with an animal? Did you do a lot of research?

It depends on the person, the day, the mood, the imagination. Some people find it easy to drop in and physicalise their imagination, for others it takes practice. Some days I can conjure the feeling right away, others I might need longer. Chris’ amazing music always helps.

After touring, what are you plans with Fabulous Animals and Joon Dance?

I am about to have my first baby so this project will pause for a while, I’d love to tour it more extensively down the line though. In terms of Joon and our community work though, before I go on maternity leave I am running some training with a group of young people who’ve trained with us over the last decade and all decided to work in dance. These four incredible emerging artists will be coming on board to expand the company, work under our umbrella on their own projects, and - I hope- begin to take over from me as my life becomes more full with family commitments. When I started Joon in 2008 and the Torch Summer School in 2009 I dreamed of this, of growing the company from local people who danced with us as kids- and its coming true! Indigo, who dances in Fabulous Animals, is one of these emerging artists.


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