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Flying Solo developments in Ghana; landing in equality and freedom

Nii-Tete Yartey. Credit: Alistair H M Simmons

Nii-Tete Yartey. Credit: Alistair H M Simmons

Flying Solo has been researching independence in shared space this year, through performance and reflection. With three soloists Nii-Tete Yartey, African-Contemporary dancer, Director of Noyam and ex-Director of the National Dance Company Ghana; me, Hayley J S Matthews, Contemporary Dancer, Rolfer and Artistic Director of ENSEMBLE, and Tyrone Isaac-Stuart, Hip-Hop and Contemporary dancer, Jazz musician and contemporary composer. We have each brought solo works into a pilgrimage of solo and triple bill performances across London, Brighton, Hastings and Dodowa in Ghana.

Tyrone Isaac-Stuart. Credit: Alistair H M Simmons

Tyrone Isaac-Stuart. Credit: Alistair H M Simmons

As we have been working in Ghana with Flying Solo it has shifted.
Shifted more deeply into an intimate space. The three solo works rather than rubbing shoulders as a threaded triple bill, have interlaced with episodes from each continually overlapping the other.

And have begun to question how we view work in a theatre space, placing episodes in unexpected spaces.

It has a feeling of three individual ways of being inhabiting the same space for a while, without interfering, judging or becoming something they are not.
You are able to follow the thread of each individual but feel in a way you may not be used to that they are together.

Hayley J S Matthews. Credit: Alistair H M Simmons

Hayley J S Matthews. Credit: Alistair H M Simmons

The three states blossom from the past of contemporary dance, African dance, hip hop dance, jazz music, folk music and contemporary soundscape and take shape through the experience of three very different artists who have their eye on the future.

It has a feeling of ‘come with your isolation, your lostness, your struggle, your explorations, and leave with your individuality, having cooked it in the space of intimacy’

There is an equality, freedom and empowerment that is beautiful and balanced as we work as three dancers without choreographer. But with a photographer, Ensemble artist Alistair H M Simmons, to consider the work and reflect it back to us without judgement. And this unfolds intimacy, freedom and empowerment ever more into the performance work.

There is a quality of learning to remain at ‘home’ in yourself, come what may, while meeting others. And this feels so resourceful to dance in. And I think is felt by the audience reflected through the slow process in which we have come together in making this work and in how each performer has grown in their ability to do this.

For me it communicates a way of being. A way where artists/individuals can blossom in their gentle, fizzing power and meet each other and the audience/world from here.

If I were to illuminate the key aspects as it is now they would be: independence in shared space, freedom for uniqueness, diversity and true self, ‘home’, inter-culturality, equal-power and looking to the future.

Our plans now are to share this work as it has become in Ghana, in its episodic form that moves through a performance space in a different way. During the summer of 2020 in the UK and in September 2020 in Ghana. In Ghana we are planning shows with Noyam Theatre, Goethe Institute and the National Theatre with workshops to share our way of working with other dancers supported by the British Council in Accra.

To close the project for this year we each land back in our solo work on our own with three separate performances this November. Tyrone will be at The Wetlands in Waltham Forest on Sunday November 24, I will be in North London on Saturday November 23 and Nii-Tete at Noyam in Dodowa on Saturday November 23. And a final photography and sound exhibition December 5-7 at Winn’s Gallery, Walthamstow, London, private view invites out soon for Thursday November 5, 7-8:30pm. These events all on our tour page https://www.ensembledance.org/tour-schedule. We hope you can join us.

Be in touch if you would like to know more hayley@ensembledance.org.



Over 2019 Flying Solo has been supported by Arts Council England DanceEast OpenEaling Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture and Noyam African Dance Institute

Hayley Matthews