What a day 2 of the RETREAT!

Check out the participants dancing  high, swinging low, shape shifting and working really hard! I’m so impressed with the level of the work today.

High lights – the chair game, veyu aerial yoga, new tricks on the hoop and practicing our bungee routine on the ground in the cattle shed (a bit like jazz dancing with no lift!).

Great day!

Well done and thank you everyone!


The Retreat Begins

What a gorgeous day of working and sharing with our participants for the retreat!

My high lights include – rolling on the dance flood in the cattle shed in contact improvisation, turning buttercups into metal detectors and creative improvisation on the aerial hoop and ropes.

MOOOORE to come all week!


What a week!

Well, the fact that I’ve not blogged since last week shows that we have been incredibly busy.  Schools workshops, performances every day, 2 venues, hundreds of children, farm tours, re-rehearsing, polishing shows, sharing our workshop games and smiles, swinging, sunshine (sometimes), and full power team work!!

Like working ants

Like busy bees

Like fiery ladybirds

Like spinning spiders

Like hungry Kingfishers and protective damselflies

I am feeling utterly exhausted and entirely fulfilled with our sharings with all the different groups this week! Such a variety of young people and families!

Here are some photos in no particular order.

Great to help building the rig and understand its structure.

Great to dance under the rain.

Great to be involved in this work at this time!

Karabiners, art and apples – Jess

It’s been an amazing week of returning to the work, rehearsing, reconnecting – with each other and a new, outdoor place – and revisiting the magic of sharing the work with children and seeing their own creativity and ingenuity as they flew, crawled, buzzed and otherwise embodied their own lovely bugs.

I’ve spent much of the last couple of years living as artist-in-residence (as the custodians affectionately titled me) in an orchard in east Herefordshire. But dancing and flying above, under and among the apple trees of this traditional orchard at Breinton has been a magical new way of connecting with these special places. There is something very particular about orchards that seems to encourage and nurture a sense of community, and provide a humble-yet-ceremonial setting for art and performance. The best kind of accessible green gallery!

To see the children enter the orchard and become grounded – even as they flew! – has been an affirmation of what the rare combination of outdoor aerial/dance work can achieve. I re-found a quote today: ‘every child is born a naturalist…open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, and the mystery of life’.

This week it has been a privilege to witness this.


Like a spider whose home is spun new each time, she returns. Like the blackbird whose role is to scratch worms for their young, they return. Like the geese who fly oceans. We return. Moving forward and coming back to base camp my feet are remembering the familiar caravan boards and grass surrounding with horses. Feeling exciting and ready to open up the rehearsals and transition into performance and workshop world. Bring on the buzzzzzzzzzzz!! (written last week before we started workshops.)

“Your cats are smelly”…

A quote from a child yesterday that made me laugh so much and still tickles me.

. . . . .

Another day, another dawn, another delight.

I had a moment today of feeling so overwhelmed with love for the group we worked with today.  Totally privileged to dance with some young children with severe physical disabilities.  To support their process in joy and experiencing flight brought a lump to my throat.


And swiftly onto warming up the old back to rehearse our Lovely Bugs Show before the full show tomorrow for all the school we’ve worked with this week. We are ready to share the show, we are exhausted from all our hard work, we are covered in paint from the finishing touches to our costumes!

To the eat and sleep world in preparation for our next two days of schools performance and community shows.



Breinton Orchard

Tiny apples growing ready for autumn
Bare earth after many feet dancing
Sun-kissed skin
Many children chatting, laughing, buzzing
Staff and parents relaxing
Ropes busy stretching
Dancers giving
Excitement growing

Systems GOOO!!

What an incredible start to delivering the BUZZZ project! I am sat sewing the aerial silks fabric which is exciting for our Kingfisher Show whilst mulling over our past 3 days of Buzzz.  Yesterday was our first  workshops at Breinton Orchard.  We had a great day sharing ideas and devising with a group of year 5 and 6’s.  Eleni and myself focused on ground work with the children embodying bumble bees and by gosh by jo, there was serious buzzing in our performance! Whilst Rachel and Jess worked with the aerial rig and ropes!

My favourite moment was when the group decided to buzz instead of talk to each other, we got  a cacophony of brilliant support to the movement.  Then today we worked with a primary school that is focused on supporting children with autism.  An incredible day full of laughing and dancing and  full power connection between children and their parents, with each other and with nature! I felt really proud of the work we did today.

It is a total honour to beee part of this project!

After the children go home we resume our rehearsals of the Lovely Bugs show and Kingfisher show, tonight we had a lot of fun polishing the pathways for a double pick up aerial hanger whereby I get to spin and run and fly.  It really is an absolute treat to embody a bird character in the depths of this orchard.  Back to sewing! Can’t wait to share the hard work with audience! World premier of Kingfisher is due sooooon! Watch this space for dates!

[Inbetween time!] Rest & reflection – Jess

I’m back in Aberystwyth for a while and while there’s lots of other work to be getting on with, it’s good to have time for rest and reflection on the work we’ve made together for Buzzz… Yesterday I spent time watching the rehearsal video of Kingfisher that Rachel sent us and realising how much more there is to do to bring my own performance up to scratch! It feels like there is still quite a lot to do to get a better sense of the choreography and technical transitions before we (or I!) can layer our/my understanding of the narrative onto that. Lovely Bugs feels more ‘there’, and it certainly felt like we had lots of energy when we performed it (speedily!) for the invited audience during our final devising/rehearsal week, but still lots of precision needed to bring it to full buzzing life. Meanwhile, I think we’re all being busy bees with our other lives and projects. I’m trying to keep fit and flexible for when we meet again at the start of July, running and walking up and down hills with my dog, and doing plenty of ground-and-aerial yoga at home, taking a combination of the excellent Vayu work that Rachel has been teaching us with other improvised bits and pieces that ‘feel’ right and reviving my old vinyasa practice. Looking forward to flying again soon! Meanwhile, some photos from last month – morning music, de-rigging (Chez the rigger!) – and this month by the sea and in the hammock…