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The body keeps the score: Another dancer's thoughts on working with Four Hands

Introducing Laura Booth: artist-collaborator and performer on Four Hands’ new performance work, commissioned by the Little Big Dance national initiative. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the project has been put on hold until 2021. And we're very excited to start revealing how this project is going to take shape in this strange, new context.

A bit of info about Laura…

Laura is a Scottish dance artist and yoga teacher. You’ll often find her with a notebook and a pen, writing or drawing whatever comes to mind. Her passion for words led her to receive the writing award at Northern School of Contemporary Dance where she graduated with first class honours in 2019. Laura is drawn to working with somatic approaches that welcome everybody and every body to experience their own dance. Dancing for joy, dancing to process, dancing to tune in and to tune out. 

Laura is a part of Dance Base’s 2020/21 DEBS (Dancers Emerging Bursary Scheme), and through the programme is being mentored by Lucy Suggate. Upon graduating Laura worked with Fusion Youth Dance Company (Aberdeen), choreographing a work which was performed at Dance Live (Aberdeen), Scottish Dance Theatre’s Great Big Dance Show, Spectra (Aberdeen’s light festival) and was programmed to be performed at UDance 2020. Most recently Laura has co-created a project in Aberdeen called Open Sessions (supported by Citymoves), an improvisational workshop and performance. It has been developed from the ideas of listening beyond the ears and creating together for joy through the means of movement, live music and mark markings. Open Sessions has welcomed participants between the ages of 14-82 and is being redeveloped for an early years setting. 

Here are some of Laura’s thoughts on working with the company on this project…

What have you enjoyed about the project so far?

The play, the fun, the children, the honesty, the delicacy, the cartwheels, the really quiet moments, the really loud moments, the laughing, the care the music, George (director) and Claire (performer), the chance to be silly, the opportunity to voice fears and anger, the reconnection to my younger self, the hugs and sharing all of this with little humans and watching their reactions and understanding of it and imagination soak into it all. 

How have you developed as a performer/artist over the course of the project?

I do feel that my confidence has improved throughout the course of the project and my ability to let go and fully fall into a particular emotion or moment. It has given me an opportunity to really see with my eyes again, when dancing but also just in life. I think as life becomes more familiar our eyes can become less curious and tapping back into that young child’s way of seeing has really opened up space to be excited, grateful and amazed by the world around me. So I think the project has invited me to be more present, present in my dancing and in my life, to see and feel and hear the now. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with both George and Claire and have learned a lot from watching them move, listening to them speak and sharing the space with them. 

Has working on this project had an emotional impact?

The project has given me a new found appreciation of my parents and how they have supported me through my life, especially in my early years. I think this really came up at the beginning of the project when Claire was supporting the base of my skull and my leg while I was lying on the ground and there was a really, really strong sensation of familiarity of my body being previously supported in that way with the same care and attention. I knew that the body could hold past sensations and memories but it caught me off guard that it could remember something that I had absolutely no memory of and something so positive and warming. I don’t remember a huge amount of my early years but my body did in the moment, that is a moment I will remember for a long time. I think the work we have been doing has shown me how much we all need care and touch in our lives. 

Which elements have you found challenging?

This has been my first professional project out of training, so I think there was some fear stepping into it, was I ready? Would I know what to offer? etc. So I think that has been a challenge for me personally. 

How have you found the creation process?

George is just wonderful. He has created such a held and supported space for this work to be grown in. As a director he has a such sense of knowing when to give us information, how much information and when to leave us to explore our way through an idea on our own. He is bursting with play and fun and has a real appreciation of quieter, more delicate moments, you can see this reflected in the work. Both of these ideas have been weaved through the work and into the world that’s been created. He is a director who really gets stuck in and is fully involved in what we are doing and cares for our wellbeing when working with more emotional/personal topics. 

Is there anything about the project that has particularly interested you?

When we share the work with children, I am completely captivated with how fascinated the children are in the smallest moments of the work. I feel like this project can really redefine what children’s theatre can be and that is very exciting. This work feels much more than something that can just entertain children for its duration, it feels like a real invitation for refection while seeing a version of themselves and their voices in front of them. 

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