Lewys Holt Residency
Lewys Holt is dance artist based in the UK. His practice spans dance, comedy, visual arts and theatre. He has worked with artists including Tino Sehgal, Frank Willens, Rosemary Lee and Florence Peake. Lewys was shortlisted for a Jerwood Choreographic Grant (2013) for his collaborative work with Katherine Hall titled 'Subject To Change'. He has recently been supported by Dance4 to successfully secure ACE Grants For The Arts funding to make a solo show: Of, Or At A Fairly Low Temperature.
Of, Or At A Fairly Low Temperature is a performance project that examines what is meant by being ‘cool’. Lewys has wanted to be cool for a long time but in recent years has found things that are more important to him; mostly dance. This performance is an audit of Lewys' history of coolness as well as being a dance piece that he wants to make.
Lewys will play music, dance, play dress up, improvise and talk through some issues. Personas will shift, activities will blur, documents, accounts and vouchers will be systematically analysed and insecurities will be illuminated over and over and over again, whether he likes it or not.
AB: What are you doing this week during your residency here at Dance4, ahead of your sharing on Friday?
LH: I’ve had this piece for a while. I started it when I was doing an MA in Performance Practices at De Montfort University last year and have maybe had three different versions of it so far because I’ve just wanted to rehaul it every time. I’ve just got Arts Council funding to make it a full hour-long piece so at the moment I’m trying to generate new material and structure that into something which is perhaps half an hour long, for an informal sharing on Friday.
I’m playing with loop pedals, trying to make weird sounds and then dance with the sounds, sometimes reacting to the sounds I make. Then sometimes I’ll do an improvisation and I’ll think “I’m going to try and make a sound which responds to that” so it’s a weird kind of feedback loop within my own things that I’m doing. It’s quite self-centered really, but it’s a solo show so it’s supposed to be I guess! This whole week is indulging for me!
AB: What is Of, Or At A Fairly Low Temperature about?
LH: The show is about me trying to be cool over several years. I’ve tried to be cool throughout my whole life and it’s never really worked out – it doesn’t work out when you try does it? But you don’t need to be cool, that’s kind of the message of the show really.
I started dancing when I was nineteen and then it’s kind of like me telling the story of the struggles I’ve had with my identity and what I call myself and how I was something else before and now I’m a dancer and it feels good but it also feels weird.
2 September 2015
Lewys is back in Dance4 Studio adding the finishing touches to his show.
Jim Hendley, Assistant Producer, asked what he has been up to since his April 2015 residency.
JH: I can’t believe it’s September 2015 and four months have passed since you were with us last! How has your new show and research developed since then?
LH: I have had some input from Rosie Garton (Dramaturgy) in the studio here in Nottingham and Tom Roden (New Art Club) when I was at Yorkshire Dance with the material I made in my first residency at Dance4. I did a little sharing of a shifting version for things I made here and then I showed it to some students in Scarborough. I also got some brilliant mentoring from Seke Chimutengwende. Seke works in dance as a choreographer, performer and teacher.
Conversations with Seke lead lead me to think about how I could include big bits of improvisation in my own work. I gave this a go at Derby Theatre's Scratch That Itch event which was fun and it taught me a few things such as what improvised work does when layered with bits of text and how useful it might be for this project.
I've also been revisiting material and thinking about ways to mash it up so it's got a few more punctuation points in the narrative. I’ve been continuing my research and going to Edinburgh Fringe Festival was really useful for this especially being around some comedy and dance. I got to see Sam Simmons' new work, which inspired me with his use of objects, I liked Goose too, and my festival highlight was Douglas by Robbie Synge.
The first chance to see Of, Or A Fairly Low Temperature will be 7pm at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, LE1 7HA. Tickets here.
Images: Liam Keown