Joe Garbett, associate lecturer at the University of Chichester and freelance dance artist, is currently working in collaboration with the university’s undergraduate dance company, 3fall. I was lucky enough to ask Joe some questions about his work and sit in on a part of their rehearsal.
Here's what we discussed;
What’s your training background?
From a young age I did Gymnastics, then I decided that dance was something I really enjoyed and contemporary dance had less restrictions so became attached to the dance form. From then I studied dance at school and college, then at the University of Chichester. At Chichester as well as gaining a better insight into contemporary dance I learnt to love physical theatre as well as choreography and improvisation. After my undergraduate I started the first year of JV2 (Postgraduate course alongside Jasmin Vardimon company). At JV2 I got a real insight to how being a freelance dancer would be and I understood the physical training needed to become a physical theatre and contemporary dance artist.
Since becoming freelance I have worked under the direction of renowned choreographers, performing at Tate Modern, Glastonbury Festival, Sadler's Wells, World Stage Design Festival, museums, pubs and anything in between. I enjoy directing work that explores the importance of unity and engages people in the exhilaration that can come from working with others to achieve a common goal. Since 2014 I have been the co-founder of aKa Dance Theatre Company resident company of Tacchi Morris Arts Centre in Taunton. Currently I am independently directing an outdoor work 'Doubles' and an online choreography forum 'No.Company'.
How would you describe the piece you’re creating?
The piece is a window to a world that is caught trying to fulfil an endless goal by completing physical tasks in groups and individually. The group work together by being present in each section and by laying out markings on the floor almost like a sports pitch. It’s stark, absurd and intriguing.
What influences you within your choreography’s?
I am definitely influenced by current political and social issues and want to spread awareness and positivity to the viewer and fellow dance artists. I am also influenced by unusual and absurd things that I witness or experience in everyday life, my brain sees something out of place in a ‘usual’ situation and then wants to amplify that image or state into another reality that can live within the art world. My practice is shared with co-founders, collaborators and even students I teach across the year. I work with bold vocabularies and unapologetically physical movement. I like to take the viewer to a precise place in their brain, by initiating nostalgic and/or absurd images. I think it is vital for my practice to support the sustainability of contemporary arts and aim to project my art to a range of audiences and participants.
When creating works, would you say you always work in a similar way?
It depends on who I am creating the piece on and if I am co-choreographing the work with anyone. When starting to create a piece I love to find out who the dancers are physically and emotionally so I usually set up tasks that reveal both so I know where the dancer’s strengths lie within my own practise. I love to play with improvisation task and push the dancers to their mental and physical extremity until a unique image, character, movement or idea is reached.
What effect does this piece have on the audience?
The piece I am creating for 3fall is a lot more abstract than my other works but it still requires the viewer to be comfortable to explore their imagination and fill the gaps with their own ideas and opinions.
The piece feels as though it is over within a blink of an eye due to the movement and design elements being so obvious and loud, I think the audience will hopefully be hypnotised by the relentlessness of the work and enjoy the dancers dedication to the futile movement tasks happening on stage.
Do you have any advice for the current 3fall members?
Go to auditions! Not just to gain a job but…
- Learn about what you want from the dance world
- See what the dance world is offering you
- Meet and see new dancers
- Get free training, ideas for your own work and tasks for creation process.
Also keep all your receipts when you are freelance!
What most excites you about the piece you’re creating with 3fall?
Seeing my ideas and research being performed by a talented group of dancers and also the prospect of the work being shown to new audiences.
Since leaving Chichester you've become the co-founder of aKa Dance Theatre Company, can you tell us anything about the work you’re creating for August 2018?
I can’t say too much about the next creation as some details are still a secret however rehearsal start at the end of October and I know there will be roller-skates and some colourful tight leggings involved!
Keep an eye out for when 3Fall will be performing the work created by Joe, as it will be something you don't want to miss!