Dot to Dot

Guest blogger: Felicity Doolette

The Dot to Dot program provides participants with a strong foundation in understanding the arts sector, particularly in the area of disability, and how to work within it.

The diverse nature of the program allowed me to broaden my understanding of a community and sector I love working within. As a dancer in the Youth Ensemble at Restless Dance Theatre, it was very valuable for me to learn about the background of this community. As the program progressed, the many structures supporting companies like Restless became clearer. I realised that organisations like Community Arts Network and others are vital. The program also made me aware of the fantastic opportunities in the disability arts of Adelaide, as well as nationally and internationally.

We were lucky enough to hear and learn from many experienced arts practitioners and tutors. It was fantastic to learn directly from those who work in the arts community. The program’s environment allowed you to listen to speakers, take notes, ask questions, and do practical work. Over the course of the program, we were involved in the different workshops that Restless offers. It was useful to watch experienced tutors lead and facilitate these. A highlight of the program was attempting to lead a movement workshop aimed at a particular age group with fellow participants. The workshop, led by Kat Worth, felt like a safe environment to practice skills and to experiment with ideas in.

I have been able to apply the skills I gained from the Dot to Dot program to the way I interact with others at Restless in providing a supportive contribution to the group. The program also enhanced my understanding of the disability arts. These skills and understanding are widely applicable. It is a very useful tool to have under your belt.

For more information about the Dot to Dot program go to the Restless Dance Theatre webpage or see the Access2Arts events page.

[pullquote style=”border-left”]Felicity Doolette developed a great passion for dance and movement from an early age starting with classical ballet and moving on to contemporary dance. She has been a member of the Restless Youth Ensemble since 2011 and is currently appearing in Salt for the company at the Odeon Theatre in Norwood.[/pullquote]

A poem a day

Guest blogger: Katie Keys

I love words. I love reading them, writing them, playing around to see what they can do.

I love the jigsaw puzzle of trying to get all the right words in just the right order. I love scribbling them in notebooks and sending them out online. In fact, for the past four and a half years, I have written a tiny little poem every day and published it on Twitter.

Let’s do the maths for a minute … 1 poem a day for 4.5 years is (at the very least) about 1,640 poems. Sure, I’ve given myself some time off for good behaviour, for holidays, or on days when life has just got a bit too loud to ignore. But they were cancelled out by days when one poem just wasn’t enough, or when I’ve live-tweeted poems from residencies, conferences and festivals. During my residency at Arts Centre Melbourne last year, for example, I clocked up over 300 poems in the space of one week.

And even though my poems are small (they have to be 140 characters or less to fit into a tweet), that’s still more than 200,000 words – the length of 3 novels. Phew! By anyone’s count, that’s a very large body of very small work.

The smallest words
grown large
with years of care
and quick neglect,
the building blocks
of written lives and dreams.

After all that time, it’s funny to remember that I started churning out all of those words because I didn’t have time to write.

We’re all busy: with work, home, study, family and social commitments. But after years of working in the arts and helping make other people’s creative dreams come true, I got sick of hearing my own excuses for why I wasn’t following my own.

Won’t stick to my side.
Can’t draw in the lines.
I’ll stretch myself thin
and I’ll bleed
off the edge
of our lives.

“I’m too busy to write”, I’d say, or “I’m too tired”. My favourite excuse went something like this: “I have such a creative day job that I don’t have any energy left over for my own writing.” Argh.

It might seem strange to give yourself something extra to do when you’re already too busy to write. But that’s what worked for me. I set myself the deadline to write (and tweet) a little poem every day. Just in 140 characters or less. How hard could that be?

Twitter is a social media platform based on micro-blogging. Each tweet can only be 140 characters long (including punctuation and spacing). But that means it’s pretty much perfect for short-form poetry. By limiting each post to 140 characters, Twitter forces its users to be brief. This works well for poetry because it means I have to think about every single word.

It’s true that not all the poems would have made it into the world if I’d not been trying to meet my daily target, especially at first. Not all of them are great on second reading. But it got me back into the habit of daily writing and now nearly 4,500 people read my poems every day.

I look forward to continuing my poetry journey with Access2Arts in Adelaide soon.

Katie Keys is a thirty-something non-Indig Aussie Brit based in Melbourne. A poet, writer and arts manager, her work has been published in anthologies, magazines and online in Australia and beyond. An advocate of online creative communities, Katie has tweeted one tiny little poem each day @tinylittlepoems for more than four years.

 

SALT

Guest blogger: Rob Tannion

Salt is a theme and an idea I have had on the creative backburner for at least ten years, but as a far as I am concerned my relationship with salt goes back to my childhood.

If salt was spilt in the table my mother had to throw it over her shoulder superstitiously. My father drummed into me that I needed to be ‘worth my weight in salt’. Like all kids, I thought they were mad as I wondered where all that salt went after it was tossed into the shag pile carpet behind her, let alone imagining how many bags of salt I would be worth.

After sharing an amazing two-day workshop in early 2011 with Restless dancers, what I was most struck by was ‘the amount of salt that was in the room’. These performers were worth far more than what they weighed. They simply did not hold back, they were hungry, took risks, were courageous and best of all, they were mountains. It was at this point that I knew that Salt would have to be their show and a journey for, about and with them.

Creating a new work with Restless Dance Theatre performers, Felicity Doolette, Jianna Georgiou, Lorcan Hopper and Dana Nance. We all win!

Sharing time creating and devising SALT with Restless has been exhilarating, challenging, and, above all, enriching. I feel that I have been able to challenge the performers to work at a high level both physically and artistically. My greatest satisfaction is seeing them rise to meet these challenges head-on, and to know that their futures as creators/choreographers have been seeded with some extra creative tools and experiences, which will further inform their work.

SALT premieres in Adelaide at the Odeon Theatre on the 17th of January 2014. Click here to go to the event page.

Director of Salt: Rob TannionRob is artistic director of Organización Efimera, a Spanish-based Circus Company and has worked as a director/choreographer/fight director/acrobatic director/and performer in circus, dance, musicals, large scale events, site specific theatre, films and commercials all about the globe over the past twenty years.