ArtsCross 2013 – Leaving home: being elsewhere

I am still digesting my experience with ArtsCross 2013 and I presume the lingering sensation will continue long after as I reflect back upon this unique adventure. As an Asian artist with an extensive dance career primarily in the west, it was extremely heart warming for me to engage and see the large number of Asian dancers hungry for knowledge and eager to digest new concepts and creative ideas. The vibrant, buzzing excitement of participants gave rise to a wonderful surge of energy.

In a time when information and shared human experiences are increasingly globalising, my involvement with ArtsCross 2013 set a tone of work and development in which I was able to gain better skills for working with such diversity of artists. Dancers joining from various regions/cities – Beijing, Taipei and London – brought in the working process their unique qualities of movement and creativity, which I found extremely refreshing and exciting.

As an artist, I seek to challenge my working process and movement language. The sharing of ideas both foreign and familiar inspired me to push my research and the artists into new territories in order to discover something unique amongst the space. Whilst the theme of “Leaving home: being elsewhere” was broad, the discovery of a sharing sensation dominated the discovery period bringing together a full expression of openness ranging from all the senses: texture, motion, body language, facial diversity, taste and smells.

ArtCross 2013 has been filled with great skill building challenges to which I am extremely appreciative to have been an active participant. The presence of academics from all across Asia and Europe during rehearsals created a very goldfish like experience to which I have learnt to say “eh… the heck with it all, lets get on with it and discover something interesting we can be proud to have found together”. The challenge of working across culture, language barriers, diversity in movement language and creative aesthetic has brought forth a stronger sensitivity of exploration during the research and development period. I have no doubt I shall be drawing upon these experiences in the years to come as I progress in my artistic/choreographic development.

I would like to take a moment to thank all the supporting partners and organisers of this fantastic project including Rescen, Queen Mary University, The Place, Beijing Dance Academy and TNUA for their recognition of the unity, tolerance and learning that can be brought forth by the arts particularly through dance.

A very special thank you to Step Out Arts for putting me forward for this project and their constant support of my creative development. For the past two years I have been away form the UK embarking on a very much needed research period in order to find my own unique choreographic voice. Step Out Art was able to identify the importance of my participation in this project in order to showcase my work  and encourage my artistic development. The opportunity to share my work in London amongst my peers and alongside international artists meant that I am able to re/connect with the dance community here in London and abroad. This rare opportunity could not have come at a better time as I settle back home in London.

Dam Van Huynh, November 2013