Progression, about moving to and adapting to London, or any different place.
Especially with all the current media hype surrounding immigration and whether it’s good or bad, I feel that sometimes people take it for granted and see people more like inanimate objects that are trying to invade their space rather than people who feel and think. That these people are faced with such difficulties and barriers, like preconceived notions, and they are working hard to overcome this.
If you could imagine, being placed in a country where the native language is not your own, or the culture is wholly different from where you used to live. Having to spend everyday trying to get used to a new lifestyle, a new town, trying to communicate effectively without being discriminated against, and most of all, be accepted by the people around you – who sometimes seem, just because you are who you are, to be against you.
Even if you may look British in facial appearance, oftentimes it is still telling that you are foreign by the way you dress, or how you walk, or how you hold yourself, or how you act towards others. It is unfortunate that in such a diverse city as London some people do still tend to discriminate and this makes it very difficult for a foreigner to feel at home in such an environment.
Using the dancer’s own story of her move from Jordan to London, costumes were made to highlight emotions felt when moving to another place. First, the “barrier” stage – cultural, language barriers and other difficulties; and the “freedom” stage – overcoming these barriers and becoming more independent – realising how liberal London is compared to her conservative hometown. This was made into a short contemporary dance film. The final stage, "integration" – falling into a rhythm, a cog in the machine, just wanting to get on with everyday life like a local – was not included in the film.
Working on dance, I had to consider the best interests of the performer - how I had to make everything comfortable for the performer so the performer only had to worry about the dance, maximum movement and ways to enhance the performance through costume. It also gave me the opportunity to experiment with shapes, light and movement, something I tried to bring out in the costumes - costumes that move with the dancer, emphasising the choreography and adding to the performance.
Costume design and construction, film and editing: Bonnie Chai
Dancer: Shireen Talhouni
Stop motion and video assistant: Laura Borges-Ribeiro
Make-up: Yen Voang
Assistant: Alison Cavuoti
Music: Dexter Britain - Second Class Citizen
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