Friday, 23 December 2011

Over but not out

Well we're done. 3 weeks has passed by pretty quickly. After a reasonably late thursday night frolic the generous late start was not late enough it seemed. Not wanting to buck the trend B.Ed, through a combination of bag misplacement and "traffic congestion", managed to arrive an 1hr behind schedule. They do like to keep me on my toes. It was a pretty chilled day in the studio by all accounts. We treaded some new ground with our own hybrid of contact dancing with wrestling/sumo. The object being you had to remove your partner from the mats in a semi-non violent (and creative) way. This went down a treat and may well feature as part of the R2M regular exercise programme. We ended with a 15 min solo improv from each of the crew. Was great to feel the openness from everyone and see people flowing. It's been a packed 3 weeks and it has given me a lot of food for thought for developing the work further. Now it's time to head of to Cornwall for clotted cream and christmas. I'll also be able to edit together some vids but in the meantime...have a good one. xxx

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Dinner Dance

I write this as the penultimate day of our 3 week residency comes to an 3:56am. I had invited in a well experienced colleague, Chris Devaney, to give us a little feedback on what we had been doing in the lab for this time. It always amazes me how other people see things differently from oneself and discover things from viewing work that you never even thought of. All in all a very worthwhile endeavour and it was good for us to perform some of what we had created. We wrapped up the day with another session of conditioning and the daily highlight of the handstand assault course. I managed to squeeze in some last minute xmas shopping before scrubbing myself up and heading down to a nice restaurant to meet the rest of the crew for some end-of-project chow. Be.D were slightly late as they decided to take a more creative route into town but nevertheless rocked up in matching denim shirts, sliver chains and with some good banter. The socialising carried on to the other side of town where we met up with some other friends. A bit of larking about and a lot of dancing was had with the occasional wigging out session. In at 1pm is christmas afterall.

R2M crew picks up their glasses while Tony picks up the bill :) good guys & good dinner

Some of the local heads join us for an after dinner boogie

Ed decides that Ben should go it alone on the denim shirt front

Chillin' with hostess Kerrie Sauce

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Half Volley

What a day...i feel absolutely busted. Could be something to do with Ed Spoons passing on a wintery bug or how much dancing/volley ball we did today. Yes...indeed, Volley Ball was the name of the game today. Our warm up of keepy uppy with Wilson from famed shipwreck movie castaway had extended into some full blown court action. The Musselburgh Men's Beach/Indoor Volley Ball squad had their debut match against...well each other in a little pre-season tete a tete. Teams were Me & Dan vs Ben & Ed (also known as B.Ed). After a cautious period of sussing each other out the game began to open up and after a while some clear dominance was asserted by myself & Dan. Point scoring was in fact pointless. Occasional flashes of inspiration were shown by the B.Ed duo, especially once Ed finally found his serve. But no sooner had it been found, it was lost again and indeed lose they did overall. This might appear a bit one sided but history is often written by the victors. You may be able to find other accounts of todays underground and off the books match, but hold fire for the Top Gun pastiche trailer coming soon...minus the sand and great weather.

It took 2 of them to block the big man...

The Squad...2012 is gonna be a big year on the UK beach volley ball circuit

Staying true to form we did of course do some dancing today. Something that everyone is good at :) :) :) Myself & Ben make the cut for this one....

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Dancer in the dark

My carpentry skills seemed to have paid off thankfully. After class the boys got stuck in to put the finishing touches to some frames i built. This is in an effort to recreate a sort of rear window-esque scene, as we peer into the individual lives of the crew but gradually come to sense that something is not quite right. That is the idea anyway. We spent the bulk of the day in the dark after blacking out the space as much as we could. There is some video but probably due to the bad light was out of focus for most of it. I'll try and do better tomorrow. I've been kept so busy that xmas shopping has been last on the list. I plan to get it done in one go (hahaha...unlikely but you never know) for late night shopping on thursday. I did hear about an interesting present in the form of Miracle Berries. Apparently these berries are native to Ghana (bonus points scored) and have the ability to alter the taste of food you eat. So if you fancy giving someone a taste sensation for xmas instead of aftershave then try these at I can also recommend the stylophone for hours of fun and musical mastery in minutes...retro and very cool.

This is us trying to get into the right frame of mind...ahem!

Videos that made the cut from yesterday. We managed to get quite a lot of stuff of our chest (yes that's 2 glorious puns in one day folks...more of the same tomorrow)

Monday, 19 December 2011

Out of the box

We kicked of the week in fine form as i forgot my training trousers and had to spend the day in my corduroy jeans. The lads got a good squint at my lean legs in my long johns during our warm up also. There's a christmas treat one won't forget so easily. We spent the whole day playing with an old chest that belonged to my folks and has been hoarding bed sheets for a number of years. Built to withstand the test of time it also dealt with us jumping, sliding, climbing around and even flipping off it (not me personally...that's more ben and dan's territory). It's an homeage to Hitchcock's movie "Rope", where some poor fella is strangled and packed away into a chest in the living room while his murderers throw a party in his honour. Ideas were flowing and there's many options to take with this material...but i'll need to bring it back to the subject at some point as it's just too easy to get carried away sometimes. I stayed on in the studio til late with some wood, a saw and some screws. Tune in tomorrow to see what DIY carpentry mysteries i've conjured up.

I've decided this is how the dancers will tour with the show...they look happy enough!

There was some good material that could have easily made the video post today. But, i've left it way too late to start uploading so you'll have to be happy with one of my favourite tunes from the 80s which i think is quite apt given today's carry on....

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Final furlong

So it's sunday night. It's been a big weekend. So big i never got round to doing the friday night blog post so here it is...a couple of days late. Friday involved blowing off a lot of steam. A series of events unfolded that lead to me remaining horizontal for all of saturday, meaning i missed out on what was probably one of the best xmas parties to be held in the Burgh this year which was being thrown by a friend of mine. Ah well there's always next year. So it's the final week already. Things have moved pretty fast. In the beginning i thought to myself how was i going to fill 3 weeks and keep these boys busy. Now i wish i had even more time. I had planned to get on the prop building tip this weekend, but friday's antics put that idea out the window. Regardless, ill be couriering more odds and ends down to the Brunton on Monday morning. One would have thought i would have learned my lesson after creating Watch iT! I do seem to have found a use for my mother's old wooden chest that has been sitting around in my flat for this space. Friday's polaroid also didn't turn out so good. I've got 8 captures left so i better make them count.

Ed Spoon makes the video post cut with his keepin' it real stuff!

1st drafts on the bboy fallout...

I exchanged lateral recumbency for a more upright position today as i actually had to work. As part of another project i'm involved with, I had to lead an audition today. This was my debut attempt at this. I think i did ok and didn't fall into the realm of abusing my power. You can find out more about this project here at

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Down but not out...

We took things pretty lightly today after the past two days of solid graft...even skipped conditioning. We'll double up tomorrow though. I've developed a bit of a taste for the savoury pastries on sale in the local bakery near to the theatre. So much so that i felt the need to indulge after class. They reminded me, funnily enough, of the croissants i used to get on a saturday morning from the Bakery i would visit during my school days. Must be something in the doe. The only other place I have sampled the same taste was in Inverness. Considering one of the first things ill do when i'm in a new place is check out the local danish pastry offerings, then it could be said that Scotland has something it's doe. Well's another late one after finishing rehearsals and then heading over to Glasgow to drop bombs of the dance knowledge variety on students at Strathclyde University Dance Society. I've been asked to create a short dance piece in a hippity hop stylee for some competitions they wish to enter. After much deliberation i settled on some Prince for the soundtrack...

Dan took upon himself to undergo the up-to-5 minute challenge. It gradually became a 10 minute challenge as it was clear his attempts to create France's most iconic landmark with the left over bits of the mats wasn't going to happen. He settled for a new addition to the crew.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Hand to feet existence

Phwoarrr...the body is sore today. Everybody's body is. I think the breaking drills we came up with and the group sequence pretty much did the damage. But regardless, it's more hard graft today. BBoy acrobatics is in full swing. The pecking order pretty much remains the same and my dive forward rolls are coming a long a treat...yaaay. I realised quite early on that even with these 3 week i wasn't going to get to explore all the things i wanted to or at least not in the depth i had hoped. I am dipping in to many things in an effort to touch on them but then moving on pretty swiftly. I think another residency is in order...perhaps somewhere warm if i can blag it. However, the research library bank of video and notes continues to grow. To add to this (and related to the actual piece) i wanted to include some acro-balance stuff as mentioned previously...if you have been reading. I have recently gotten into this pastime myself and began to see it as something i could include in the work. I invited in local acrobatic technicians Ben & Emily to guide us 4 rather large lads in the fine art of standing on each other. My aim had been to get someone standing on hands with both people fully upright. We didn't quite manage that in 2 hrs but Ed and Dan did pull off a neat balance as shown below...Ben should be spotting but is too busy playing up to the camera as usual.

Room 2 Manoeuvre taking up as much room as possible

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Needle in a Giant Haystacks

Good day in the studio! The mats got the first real test as we ended class with a bit of gymnastics...bboy style ie bent legs everywhere. This is true apart from Dan who is a big dog in this field..followed closely by the marine a.k.a. Ben. Me and Ed are propping up the rear, but still in there. This extended into a session of move explorations using the soft landings provided by the mats. I have to say, i feel quite blessed in some respects just to be able to spend my time doing this, researching and not really having to produce anything at the end of it. The boys did good and came up with yet more tasty ingredients to add to the mix. The up-to-5 Minute challenge proceeded lunch and this was comprised of stripping off and getting down to some mano a mano on the mats. 3 polaroids in one day, i am spoiling you....

Ben gets the full brunt of the Cambodian Cervical Cruncher

Someone forgot to inform me of the dress code....

Ben puts the hurt on Ed and an end to the who bit who's move quarrel

We did of course do some serious work after lunch, and focused on some movement patterns and ideas that we touched on briefly the previous day. I reckon it's decent enough to make the cut.

I seem to be back on track and writing these blog posts suitably late so it's time to head to bed. Tomorrow we have invited in some local acro-balancers to find out which one of us is head and shoulders above the rest...should be interesting.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Pucker up, buttercup

Week 2 commences and after rehearsing a different show on the west coast of Skotchland for the weekend, there is a touch of the groundhog day sensation setting in. So we tackled something else for the bulk of the day...the actual subject material of the deterioration of a bboy crew. This brought up some interesting  fodder in the form of personal experiences of the what can force friends apart or cause stress on relationships within a crew. Through this discussion we managed to isolate 4 characters that the story will revolve around. These are The Leader, The Superstar BBoy, The Non-commitalist and the Hardcore BBoy. There were other characters that came up in our discussions but as i wish to create the piece with 4 dancers, these 4 characters seemed to cover the ideas in the story quite well. Of course we also did a bit of moving about and i feel like we are certainly developing a particular movement vocabulary...but today's work was not good enough to make the cut for the video post...sorry lads. Ben's 5 minute challenge (now renamed the up-to-5 Minute challenge) was to capture my rosy cheeks unawares and commit it to's me fresh out of the loo...additional info you probably didn't need.

So where was i for these 48 hrs between friday and monday. Well it was a rather brutal 5am start to drive out to Mid-Argyll with Random Aspekts compadres, Matt and Bilal. The snow was already a few inches deep as i walked to my early morning rendez-vous. This mean't we left Edinburgh at a snails pace along the motorway. We made it out to the west of glasgow where the weather had eased off, but there was still plenty snow. Our sat nav took us on a merry jaunt down some single track roads and into the pathway of some highland cows who seemed to be making a break for it. They were possibly on the run from the belligerent farmer who gave us an ear bashing for being on a public road. Anyway, after some impressive handbrake turn manoeuvres from Matt we were back on the right track and made it to our rehearsal spot...albeit a tad late. The Wild Biscuit crew, who we are working with, had made some tidy new tracks and now the full set is running at 50 mins. When we last performed this it was we have a bit of work to do before our performance at Celtic Connections in Jan. More info to be had at

Friday, 9 December 2011

How long does a candle burn?

..til the end of the week...and that's where we're at! A big thank you to the boys for working so hard during the first week of this residency. It's been a real experiment in terms of what we are doing and the formation of the residency itself. This week has been a bit choca and i have been unable to review much of the material we have investigated. There's a bit more free time up ahead so i hope i can do more of what i should have been doing to take the project further. Regardless, we have hit upon some "new" ideas. I say "new" ideas because they are new for me. So in this sense our endeavours have been quite fruitful. I haven't really visited many of the ideas that i have for the actual piece. This i intend to do next week...hopefully along with the delivery of some judo mats...yes, self defence training is part of the R2M ethos. We wrapped up the week with our daily conditioning and stretching session. These sessions are periodically peppered with complaints from Ed, but i know he loves it in the end.

Dan and his various sources of energy for the day

Today's 5 minute challenge was instigated by me and for me, and involved compiling a list of lookalikes for the group. Who wins? you decide...but i think Dan and Ben are fighting it out for 1st place....

Ed & Ben make the cut to appear on the blog video post with their investigation of hooks, trapping and breaking-type-stuff. Good work lads.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Thar she blows!

Highs winds in the city of Edinburgh today. Along with a fine selection of tunes provided by myself, and a brief interjection of Morissey (special request for Ben), the sound of perpetual rain and winds battering of the building formed part of todays soundtrack. Angry gales have headed in across the atlantic and are taking out their frustrations all over Scotland. So much so there could have been a chance of us being stranded in Musselburgh. Well probably not actually, but it would have been a helluva long walk back into town had the buses been cancelled. Just to be sure i took a single decker bus back home. Two fingers in the eyes of nature right there! Today saw me beast the fellas pretty hard as they sprinkled some of their own flavours onto a piece of my movement. This was followed by a solid 2 hr improv of some sort of breaking-contact hybrid business. Many gems were discovered and like much of the true beauty in this world, existed only briefly and now remains nothing but a joyful memory in the minds of those involved. This is all good, but doesn't help so much when you're trying to gather material that you might want to use later on. Note to self: photo camera memory is not big enough, therefore must bring video camera. No doubt the current weather situation is causing havoc across the country but it did mean my evening class in glasgow got cancelled. This was met with some relief i must say as i've been on the go quite a bit lately and relish the chance to get myself to bed before i'm due to turn into a pumpkin. After which point i would no longer be able to type on my laptop and be at the mercy of any latent halloween celebrants. You never know....

Ed Spoon with Wilson, the 5th member of the Musselburgh Men's Beach Volley Ball Squad

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A quickie...

I think today was the day we started getting down to the business of trying to work out ideas between us. Sometimes this can ooze like warm butter or get sticky like toffee pudding. Regardless, there were no middle of the first week slumps and everyone remained positive and energetic. Many things were looked at today including waving and freezes. Staying true to form, i am again up way too late so i will make this one a quickie (i'm not known for that btw) and sign off now and let the first video post do the talking. This is Dan and Ben doing some of my material...probably better than me as well :)

Number 3 in the polaroid pose series - Ben Jammin...caught in the act!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

From dusk til dawn

Wow! an uber long day has been had at R2M hq. Day 2 continues with some good energy from all involved. The dancers are increasing loving the contemporary vibe but i'm also trying to "keep it real" and make sure we squeeze in at least one cypher during the day. The first half of the day was about experimentation. We took a look at what happens when other body parts get involved in one's breaking. It turned out to be a difficult process, but i think nowt worth having ever came easy. That one is to be continued. We also messed about with some top rock, creating some material and then giving it some restrictions. That also produced some interesting results. I will endeavour to get some video up on this here blog soon enough. The second half of the day dealt with an aspect of the piece we're working towards. This was based on the idea of how sometimes in a bboy crew there is often one person who is the weakest link...or dead meat even. In a battle situation other members of the crew might have to carry that person. In our case, literally. The course of the day was filled with hash (#) tags and tweets most of which you can find here @Edspoons.

It's late...once again a fail to hit the sack at a reasonable time. The reason being that once rehearsals were done the london boys fancied checking out a local practice. But not before getting charge up on some of Edinburgh's quality java. As well as getting a suitable caffeine hit we also learned that there's a tiny theatrical bar located in East London that is voted the 42nd best bar in the world and you have to make an appointment in order to drink there. It's bad enough trying to make an appointment with the dentist, now you have to do the same in order to get a drink. Although apparently it's very theatrical so perhaps the next time i'm down south and i'm feeling flush i'll try to phone in advance...i just can't quite remember the name....? Practice was short but sweet, then it was off to the Random Aspekts secret training grounds for a late night rehearsal for our up coming show with Wild Biscuit Music entitled "MOVE". A fusion of bagpipes and breakdance, you can see us opening the Hands Up for Trad Awards on BBC iPlayer. So needless to say, it's been a long day. Time for bed.

The polaroid project continues with Dan the man.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Back in the lab...

Winter has properly set in and the first flakes of snow are beginning to appear. Sounds like the perfect time to get into the studio and out of the cold weather. So that's what i'm doing at the moment. The good people of Brunton Theatre have given me the use of a studio space for the next 3 weeks and i've also got 3 fine dancers to work with. The plan is to both do some experimenting and also work towards the next Room 2 Manoeuvre full length creation. Back in 2008, myself and fellow Random Aspekts crew mates Matt Foster and Bilal Oussellam made a short piece inspired by film noir and Alfred Hitchcock. Some good theatre fodder there, and we went on to perform it at the Dublin Fringe. I've always had it in mind that i would like to return to the work and extend it. 3 years later i'm finally on it but under the guise of R2M and with other dancers in the mix. I'll have the pleasure of working with quality bboys Ed Stephen, Ben Jammin and Daniel Aing (twitter sites coming soon!). The question is...what causes a bboy crew to fall apart, what happens psychologically and can this be presented in a hip hop dance theatre alfred hitchcock-esque stylee...? It's a big ask, and perhaps it might end up going in a different direction. Stay tuned to find out...

My attempt at a Saul Bass type image for the piece. 
Check out some of print design guru Saul Bass' work here

I recently rediscovered my old Polaroid Camera and as i have a liking for many things retro, i decided to put it back into action. A little dusty but still works. I also discovered you can still get hold of film for said camera. A little pricey but also still works. I'll be trying to blog everyday but not polaroid picture taking everyday. Just every now and then. This is Ed...pondering perhaps...(note this not a iphone app jobbee!)