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Tilted premiere at DanceHouse will explore our sense of home

PUBLISHED: 13:11 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:11 25 January 2018

Constructions of Thin Air by Maresa von Stockert, of Tilted Productions, gets its premiere at DanceEast on January 26. Photo: Tilted Productions

Constructions of Thin Air by Maresa von Stockert, of Tilted Productions, gets its premiere at DanceEast on January 26. Photo: Tilted Productions

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International dance company Tilted Productions premieres a new piece exploring the notions of home at DanceEast. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to choreographer Maresa von Stockert about home being where the heart is

Constructions of Thin Air by Maresa von Stockert, of Tilted Productions, gets its premiere at DanceEast on January 26. Photo: Tilted ProductionsConstructions of Thin Air by Maresa von Stockert, of Tilted Productions, gets its premiere at DanceEast on January 26. Photo: Tilted Productions

Tomorrow sees Ipswich-based dance company Tilted unveil the world premiere of a new piece exploring the notions of home and belonging.

The piece, Constructions of Thin Air, devised by artistic director Maresa von Stockert, has evolved out of their previous work Belonging(s) which was premiered as a promenade performance on Ipswich Waterfront in 2015 before being toured throughout Britain and Europe.

This new work has been commissioned and supported by DanceEast and Ipswich Borough Council and features an inter-generational cast which will bring out different aspects of the notion of home and how that feeling changes over time.

The performance and workshop for the over 55s will provide a thought-provoking launch to DanceEast’s Spring season.

Constructions of Thin Air by Maresa von Stockert, of Tilted Productions, gets its premiere at DanceEast on January 26. Photo: Tilted ProductionsConstructions of Thin Air by Maresa von Stockert, of Tilted Productions, gets its premiere at DanceEast on January 26. Photo: Tilted Productions

Can you tell us what audiences can expect from this new work and how it differs from Belonging(s)?

MvS: “An inter-generational cast of nine performers will merge contemporary dance with physical theatre and perform the piece in two acts, with constant transformations of the set on stage playing with the audience’s sense of stability. The first act raises questions about the notion of our place in political, social and economic systems, expressed by the dancers in a clockwork of continuously moving objects – a system that eventually breaks apart. The second act sees the dancers use cardboard boxes as building blocks to create intimate spaces and shifting landscapes to explore the private realm of the concept ‘belonging’.

“Cardboard boxes for me are linked with the word belonging. They remind me of moving home and they are a symbol or rather a cliché for homelessness. For me the physical dialogue between the performers and the objects on stage is a metaphor for the fragile, changeable meaning of home, identity and belonging.”

So has Brexit and our relationship with Europe changed how we view the notion of home and belonging?

MvS: “I felt the themes are so interesting and keep changing and our perception of the piece changes over time. To be honest, Belonging(s) was done before Brexit and the migrant crisis and so many things in the world have happened, so how you read Belonging(s) has changed over time. So, the way the world has developed over the last four years has kept me interested and I can’t let it go yet.

“Act One is a continuation of Belonging(s) but Act Two is something quite new and explores new areas. It looks at the notion of belonging in a private way. It’s more than a place to stay or being native to a town or area. It’s much more personal, looking more at family identity – it’s more about emotional belonging rather than inhabiting a physical space.

“We look at the notion of belonging in the post-Brexit landscape and how does it matter where you are born, if your home and your roots are somewhere else. Surely, it is your emotional connection to where you live that is important. We are all human and we all help form a community.

So with an inter-generational cast, does time play a big part in this production?

MvS: “Over time your sense of identity changes. In Act Two we explore how your personality and preconceptions change how you view the world and what you regard as home. Hopefully it will make the audience think about their own preconceptions.

“Hopefully it will act as a mirror and will reflect back our own interpretation of it. The relationships on stage are quite ambiguous, so it will be interpreted quite differently by different viewers and it may make you ask why am I viewing it in this way?

“So, to answer your question, having a range of ages on stage creates a different dynamic. I have been working with older performers since 2002 which I really enjoy because the same movement gets interpreted differently when performed by someone older. A performer over 65 performing an action is read differently to a body of 25 performing the same move. How you read relationships on stage changes when age enters the equation. It will be fascinating to see how audiences respond.”

Constructions of Thin Air, by Maresa von Stockert, Tilted Productions, is at the Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich tomorrow at 7.30pm.

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