Barrowland Ballet: A Conversation with Carmel
Family gatherings – for some they’re the highlight of the year, for others they need a health warning. Inspired by her own get togethers, and those of others, choreographer Natasha Gilmore has co-created A Conversation with Carmel, a birthday bash for a fictional 70-year-old.
‘I’m from a very large, loud family,’ says Gilmore, ‘and family parties are lively. I love the mix of ages that come together at these types of gatherings. Having become a mum last year, the family as a subject matter is particularly pertinent to me right now. Family offers an intriguing depth of love, tension, understanding, knowing and frustration.’
For this latest piece, Gilmore has brought together her own company Barrowland Ballet, with theatre company Vox Motus, composer Quee MacArthur and filmmaker Rachel Davies. Together they’ve created a work that explores cross-generational relationships. ‘Rachel and I have been having “conversations” with lots of grandparents,’ says Gilmore, ‘sharing their stories, experiences, laughter and fears. The piece is also inspired by conversations I had with my own grandma prior to her death, during which I became very aware of the freedom that came from the fact we were two generations apart – she could not have talked as candidly to her own daughters.’
To perform the work, Gilmore has enlisted the help of professional dancers (including 83-year-old Diana Payne-Myers, last seen in Scotland at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe) and those drawn from the local community – a different group at each stop on the show’s UK tour.
‘I’ve always enjoyed the attitude and quality of the professional world and the honesty and openness of performances from non-professional dancers,’ says Gilmore. ‘It’s truly a joy to fill the studio with a cast ranging in age from a baby to the retired, and all relishing the fun of dancing, creating and interacting. I’m sure that the joy we generate in the room will come across on the stage, too.’
Platform, Glasgow, Wed 11 May, then touring.