Birds of Paradise, Movement Direction Opportunity

By Nicole Meehan / 18.09.19

When I first applied for the internship with Birds of Paradise (BOP), I was hoping to learn about the development of movement and the creative incorporation of the BSL interpreter and other inclusive practices, like closed captioning. Last year I saw BoP’s performance My Left/Right Foot and I was excited to see access at the forefront of the creative process, that everything was integrated into the heart of the piece and not as an after thought. Purposeless Movements carried the same integrity. I had a conversation with Amy Cheskin, the BSL interpreter, about the use of sign language in relation to what the guys were saying and I learned that she would use different signs for the same word depending on the intention behind the word.

I was also interested to learn about creating and directing movement in general, as well as with actors with Cerebral Palsy. The guys were all trained actors but had minimal dance experience and it was interesting to work on developing movement pieces with them. From the beginning Rachel Drazek (the movement director) worked to create a space that allowed them to play, experiment and refine movements with support and encouragement, and without judgement. What I didn’t expect to discover, was how interesting it was to watch their interrupted movements and then see how they were intentionally include within the choreography.  To watch the delicate intricacies of their hands and fingers interrupt the set choreography.

Overall it was a great experience and I learned a lot, which I hope to integrate into my own practice. I am grateful for the The Work Room for facilitating the opportunity to work with BOP and look forward to future projects and collaborations.