All About 10: Interview with our Co-Artistic Directors

10 April 2018

As our 10 Spring UK Tour comes to a close and the 10 international premiere takes place in Algeria, our Co-Artistic Directors, Kevin Edward Turner and Anthony Missen talk about the production, the ideas behind the choreography and how they think the company’s movement style has developed over the last ten years.

Q.1. Tell us about 10.

Anthony: Our new production 10marks a significant moment in our history. 10 years-ago, we committed ourselves to pursuing a dream – to create an internationally touring dance company in our home city of Manchester. This is a dream we made a reality and we’re very proud of what we have achieved to date: our 14 productions, our international touring programme, becoming an Arts Council NPO, engaging thousands of young people through dance and building a dedicated and inspirational team. 10 the production is a celebration of all of these things.

Kevin10 is a triple-bill, which includes two new works, one by each of us, and the first major work that Anthony and I made for the company – a duet called Rites that explores coming of age, masculinity and what it means to be man.  My piece, Imprint, is a trio exploring love relationships and the imprints they leave behind. Anthony’s piece, Trip, is a witty and darkly funny solo exploring self-deception. Together, the three pieces make a rich production with lots to get your teeth into and with something to engage everyone. What is great about the evening, is you get to see mine and Anthony’s collaborative and individual choreographic voices.

Q.2. Why did you decide to feature Rites in the triple-bill?

Rites was the company’s first major work and the piece that launched the company onto the dance scene a decade ago. It’s an excellent example of mine and Anthony’s collaborative work and is as relevant today as it was when we made it 10 years ago.

AnthonyRites is also the piece that many people we know have continued to comment on (and study!) over the years.  A lot of personal and shared history is contained within it, and also many ingredients that we’ve gone on to develop and which have become part of what people know us for artistically.

Q.3. How has the company’s dance and movement style development in the last ten years?

: There’s certainly been an evolution in what we’ve produced. We’ve tried really hard to keep inventive and tried all sorts of approaches to represent ideas. We’ve taken risks.  We have at the same time been conscious of accessibility, and to introduce new audiences to dance. I’d say what we make is unapologetic, honest, physically demanding, intriguing and cathartic. Over the years we have brought in some incredibly powerful and talented dance artists to work with us and having the chance to step back and develop work on other bodies has given us a whole new perspective.

Kevin: We have always reflected and evaluated upon experiences and outcomes of our work. I feel as we have moved forward as makers, producers and directors we have had the privileged opportunity to develop our ideas and our craft. There is always more to learn and discover but as a company we are always trying to expand our practice into new areas. We have developed a recognisable style, but it is a style that is under constant adaptation and development, as we endeavour to push boundaries.

Q.4. Kevin – what inspired Imprint? Tell us about the ideas behind the piece.

What inspired Imprint was the desire to make something about love and relationships. My last work Witness explored challenging issues surrounding mental health and finished with the idea that love conquers all and is the greatest healer. I knew from that process I wanted to make a work that inhabited that space. I continued my research and thinking and started to focus my mind upon how we understand and perceive love and what the forces are that shape our understanding.  This line of questioning moved me towards thinking about the concept of imprint. The emotional and psychological imprints that our significant relationships leave on us and the impact they have on us in both a positive and negative way. I wanted to create something sublimely harmonic and beautiful. As the process moved forward, the ideas developed further from discussions with the dancers and using our own individual experiences to find an authentic way to communicate and express the ideas in the piece.

Q.5. Anthony – what inspired Trip? Tell us about the ideas behind the piece.

I’m often perplexed by characters that are celebrated in popular culture, and at times wonder how many of them believe in their own hype. I question why and how self-deception has been part of human evolution. Of course, there are positive as well as negative aspects to it. It’s a little studied subject scientifically, which is surprising since it’s something we all do every day- from how we choose partners, associates and affiliations, to self-talk and rebuilding memories. I wanted to take on the challenge of how to make my own study on it from an artistic viewpoint. I also really wanted to challenge our performer Theo Fapohunda. He’s like a river, incredibly talented, and I really wanted to push him as a performer and to shine a light on some of the gifts he has – and shine they do.

Q.6. What will 10 give the audiences who watch the production?

10 will give audiences the space to think and feel something, they will be moved. The works are very different and will be a delightful feast for the eye, mind and heart in a whole manner of ways. You will laugh, gasp, and be moved as the evening takes you on a journey that will engage and move you. The work is accessible for all and is layered to engage the seasoned audience member to the newest.

Anthony10 will take you on a journey. It will give you something that makes you sit forward in your seat and something for you to take away and chew on for some time after the show. There’s a huge range of flavours and emotions. An audience member wrote and thanked us after taking her husband, a newcomer to dance, to see Rites 10 years ago. She said that after the show he spoke to her about all sorts of things from his childhood that he never had spoken about before. We hope the show is a gateway to reflection on your own experiences in life, and perhaps also, helps you make sense of some of the things that are going on around us.

Final 10 Spring UK Tour performances take place in London at The Place (Tue 1 May) and in Newcastle at Dance City  (Thu 3 May). By invitation from the British Council 10’s international premiere takes place in Algeria on Fri 27 Apr.

Watch the 10 trailer below.

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"10 was such a wonderful experience - I cant wait to see more of your incredible work!" "Effortless grace, strength, humour and athleticism - a visual treat!" "We brought 65 young people to your performance tonight - every single one loved it! What an amazing show!" "This show reminded me why I dance and what I’m constantly working towards! Thank you for this experience!" "Such beauty in the small moments of this show - please don't stop doing what you’re doing"

Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!