As ROBE approaches its launch this Friday, we’re hosting a special series of guest blogs from people involved in creating this piece, from its premiere at Tête à Tête to the new recording.
Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2019’s cyberpunk fashion-opera ROBE is out Friday 12th February on Métier Records. This is the third blog in a guest series to mark the release. Here, dance artist Thomas Page writes about his role in the production.
Watch the new music video for ‘Song of Heather’ here:
To introduce the post, here are three of curator and ROBE director Gemma A. Williams’ featured favourites from 2018.
Thomas Page, ROBE performer: A Reflection
In the lead up to the launch of ROBE this Friday, as one the dance artists who was involved in the creation and performance of UU Studios’ second opera, I have been reflecting on my experience with ROBE and what it means to me.
I think the most important word for me is “connection.” Outside of ROBE, I am a freelance choreographer, and a huge part of my practice is all about connections – with other artists, creative collaborators, audiences and organisations – and I have the mindset of a people and art first approach.
Entering this project, I was familiar with the choreographic work of Max Gershon from seeing him in training at Trinity Laban, where I also had a connection with one of the other dance artists, in the production Moses Ward. However, I never had the chance to work either of them until ‘ROBE.’ This was also the first time I was meeting and working with all the other creatives involved ‘ROBE’ and it was a joy to discover all the immense talent that made up the company, allowing for an enriched collaboration and the development of long-lasting relationships.
I remember the first time Moses, Charlie Nayler (dance artist) and I heard the singers in rehearsal and how in awe of the power of their voices we were, but also of the control. The way they shifted through the tones, emotions and journey of Alister’s words was incredible. I think this was the moment I really felt in the world of ‘ROBE.’ The environment Clara, Rosie, Sarah and Kelly created with their voices really helped me situate myself in the work and enriched the quality of performance in movement. That real moment of no longer just doing the movement but experiencing it and finding the authenticity of it.
Another significant connection for me was with the co-directors Gemma A. Williams and Pamela Schermann. In previous projects with other directors, I have found the direction to be “This is the world I’ve created, and this is your role in it.” Working with Gemma and Pamela was completely different, they invited you into the work, questioned it with you and were transparent in how it was being created which I think is a really valuable way of working.
I’m really looking forward to how the world of ‘ROBE’ develops and am grateful to UU Studios for introducing me to the world of Tête á Tête, whilst allowing me to make some beautiful connections along the way.