Engagement

"As a deaf-blind person, I loved feeling all the vibrations. I normally can't engage with performances but felt like I could enjoy this one with everyone else despite not being able to see it all". Workshop and performance participant, Behind the Face of a Rock, Throwing Stones, at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

"Observing the filming days in the Conservatory at the Barbican and seeing how Nicole worked with Bim Ajadi and the film crew, it was clear that the success of the piece was rooted in the shared respect and willingness to learn from one another and truly collaborate. The blending of languages, working with interpreters between spoken English and BSL, with elements of Semaphore in the choreography, also benefited the process, lending itself to shared learning and deeper understanding. It's been a pleasure supporting Nicole throughout the Open Lab programme and we look forward to seeing how her practice continues to develop". Anna Dominian, Assistant Producer,
Barbican Centre.

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A pair of hands lit against a dark background communicating in sign language. The person is wearing a pink top and a watch with a green strap.
Two people wear SubPac vests and are learning to use the equipment. They are smiling whilst they are engaged in the activity. The person on the left is wearing black clothing, glasses and their colourful pink and purple hair worn in a ponytail. In their hand they hold a green ribbon stick whilst sitting in a white wheelchair. The person on the right is wearing blue jeans, a grey t-shirt and glasses, they have short brown hair. They are sitting in a yellow wheelchair holding a computer tablet in their hand.

Collaborators

Surface Area Dance Theatre in collaboration with artists, participants, and academics, aims to develop an original dance language that champions diversity and innovation. Over the last fifteen years the company has accomplished an extensive portfolio of engagements, delivered in partnership with patrons, charitable and cultural organisations, and institutes such as Barbican’s Open Lab in London, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens and the Ise Folk Dance Society in Japan.

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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) support the range and breadth of our work. They encourage us to be open to other cultures, to challenge our assumptions, biases and prejudices. They are essential for deep, trusting, mutually beneficial relationships. We want everyone coming into contact with us to feel respected and treated with dignity. We want alignment between what we say and what we do. We will seek to nurture a sense of belonging for those we employ and encourage an environment where people feel comfortable being themselves at work. Surface Area Dance Theatre is recognised by the Department of Work and Pensions as a Disability Leader and champion for Disability Confidence within our local and business communities. We believe therefore that it is important to value everyone and to be empathetic, fair, respectful and inclusive. This holds for employees, participants in, or contributors to our work, irrespective of background, characteristics or attributes. 

“In the post-performance discussion I was really interested when Tom White, the musician, spoke about their experience, how it had been a challenge to their practice as they had never worked with a Deaf choreographer before. How they had to explore ways to make cues work for both hearing and Deaf dancers, how they mixed live sound throughout the performance to take cues from the dancers, and how they experimented with low frequency sound so that within the space it was not only heard, but could also be felt. This for me exemplifies one of the powers of Disability Arts; and the challenge to artists to learn to create in ways that are new to them to allow accessibility and how this pushes their artistry”, Review of ‘Hand in Hand’ by , Disability Arts Online.

Dance artist Vangeline is photographed wearing a full-length red costume. She is positioned close to the floor, arched forward, her head raised, and looking at the ground a short distance in front of her. Both of Vangeline’s arms are fully stretched behind her; in her hands, Vangeline is holding the lower part of the costume so that the shape and design of the garment are sculpted around her posture.
Dance artist Vangeline is photographed wearing a full-length red costume. She is positioned close to the floor, arched forward, her head raised, and looking at the ground a short distance in front of her. Both of Vangeline’s arms are fully stretched behind her; in her hands, Vangeline is holding the lower part of the costume so that the shape and design of the garment are sculpted around her posture.
A dancer wearing a cream t-shirt, black trousers and a SubPac vest joins hands with two other performers to the left and right. Their hands are marked with white paint and all interwoven loosely, laying on top of one another, their palms are all face down.

People

Our resources are maintained to enable and support continued discourse with the D/deaf and hearing community via communication channels in English and British Sign Language. Investigation, curiosity and partnerships are key to Surface Area’s approach, supported by diverse cultural interests and open dialogue with collaborators across the world.

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Christopher Fonesca who is a choreographer, performer and global D/deaf ambassador is wearing a black vest top with short black hair, and is addressing an audience using sign language. On Christopher's right to our left sits musician Tom White, who is wearing a blue shirt with glasses and has short hair with a beard. On Christopher's left to our right is Executive Director and Founder of Surface Area Dance Theatre Nicole Vivien Watson, who is wearing a beige coat and has long red hair. They sit in company on stage during a discussion.

‘Disability Art is the last remaining avant-garde movement’, Yinka Shonibare.

Dance artist Christopher Fonseca is standing facing two students and offering support. Christopher is wearing a black T-shirt, the student to the left is wearing a yellow t-shirt, and the student to the right is wearing red.
Dance artist Christopher Fonseca is standing facing two students and offering support. Christopher is wearing a black T-shirt, the student to the left is wearing a yellow t-shirt, and the student to the right is wearing red.
Two people in a dance studio are standing in discussion. The person on the left is wearing a brown top and has long grey and brown hair. The person on the right is wearing a pink vest top with black trousers. They have mid length dark curly hair. In front of them on the floor they have a notebook and pen. They are communicating in BSL.
Two people in a dance studio are standing in discussion. The person on the left is wearing a brown top and has long grey and brown hair. The person on the right is wearing a pink vest top with black trousers. They have mid length dark curly hair. In front of them on the floor they have a notebook and pen. They are communicating in BSL.
A group of seven people are engaged in developing choreography. On the left is a person standing with their hands resting on their sides. They have dark curly hair tied up in a bun and are wearing a white t-shirt. They look towards the person on the right who has brown hair tied up in a ponytail, and are wearing a black turtleneck top. In the background, there are three people rehearsing their positions. The person in the middle is wearing all white clothing, has red shoulder length hair and is sitting in a wheelchair. The person to the left wears a purple t-shirt with dark trousers and has short dark hair. The person to the right wears a black t-shirt with grey trousers and has mid-length light hair. Their left arm is raised up in front of them and their right hand rests on the back of the wheelchair.
A group of seven people are engaged in developing choreography. On the left is a person standing with their hands resting on their sides. They have dark curly hair tied up in a bun and are wearing a white t-shirt. They look towards the person on the right who has brown hair tied up in a ponytail, and are wearing a black turtleneck top. In the background, there are three people rehearsing their positions. The person in the middle is wearing all white clothing, has red shoulder length hair and is sitting in a wheelchair. The person to the left wears a purple t-shirt with dark trousers and has short dark hair. The person to the right wears a black t-shirt with grey trousers and has mid-length light hair. Their left arm is raised up in front of them and their right hand rests on the back of the wheelchair.
A Japanese folk dancer wears a Subpack vest over a traditional garment. The colour of the garment is white and lilac with black Japanese scripture printed on. They wear a protective face covering, headphones over their ears, and place their hands on their SubPac vest. With eyes closed they are immersed in their experience. In the background, sit four traditional folk dancers dressed also in traditional garments.

Repertoire

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Sound artist Tom White photographed assisting a workshop participant in fitting a Haptic Vest.

Sensory Translation: Haptic Technology Workshop

04/03/2024 - 14:30 / UK

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