Life in Lockdown: Back2Basix
#GDLifeinLockdown Part 3
Life in Lockdown is a blog series initiated by Greenwich Dance which features community and professional artists close to the organisation sharing how they are staying creative during these isolating times.
We are Marta and Leah, twin sisters from Spain, dance artists specialized in Hip Hop and Contemporary dance and recently working together under Back2basix. Individually our careers have taken us to develop stage pieces and workshops with other dance artists as well as with artists from other disciplines including capoeirists and musicians in London, Lisbon and Amsterdam, as part of the companies Alias LDN, the Rebirth Network or I=WE, to name a few. We have also collaborated with organizations that use dance to foster social change and inclusion, such as Move the World.
During the last couple of years we choreographed and directed movement for singer-songwriter Marco Mestichella on his EP 'Love, Lust, Misery', a provocative visual album with original stories and a focus on style, movement and edgy aesthetics. This is what led to us formalizing our work together and creating Back2Basix. Alongside Back2basix, we currently continue to work with Instigate Unknown and A FREE WXRLD as company dancers.
Education has also always been at the core of our practice and, when teaching, we love to dive into foundations and devising methods as well as working on choreography. We have taught in many dance schools including Danceworks and Street Dance Academy and currently have open classes at Morley College and FieldWorks Dance. We created our company Back2Basix to tell stories through dance, movement and words in a simple, unusual and moving way, connecting movement to emotions, experiences, to what inspires and what challenges us, and taking the audience on a twisted, unexpected journey that we hope inspires thought, curiosity and play.
To us, our motto ‘forget what is’ means to continuously seek possibilities and to explore ideas in multiple ways with the intention to break out of our static vision of things, people and situations.
Last March’s Lockdown caught Back2basix in the very early stages of its life and we have taken this very strange time to work on all the behind the scenes aspects of running a new dance company, figuring out and adapting to navigate the current situation and, more recently, working on our ‘Movement diaries’.
The beginning of the year has been a bit of a rollercoaster for us as, we imagine, it’s also been for many others. With most places closing down again and no end date for this new lockdown, everything we had planned has been postponed or put on hold, and it has created a feeling of uncertainty and, to be honest, frustration. Staying motivated to create has been a struggle sometimes, but we really feel that we can use this time to explore without the pressure of having to create a piece necessarily, to dance for the sake of dancing, to develop and experiment with ideas that, in another time, we might not have the time to. We call this practice our ‘movement diaries’. ‘Movement’ being anything dance based or not where we are pushing forward, where we are being present and feeding the moments to follow, be it standing still to appreciate something or creating something new, discussing an idea, physically moving…
Today, we reviewed rehearsal footage for a piece that had fallen through the cracks while we focused on other jobs. It’s actually refreshing to watch material we had forgotten about, appreciating it almost from an outsider point of view and drafting new possibilities for it or simply trying to re-learn it, plus a stripped down ‘boom kak’ version is always fun.
This piece is about triggers, so we were playing with triggers and reactions in different parts of our bodies to represent the music.
We often use words within our practice both as a way to reflect on our creative process and approach to anything, and as prompts to develop work, sometimes to try out things, expand our practice. This text is inspired by the diversity that we find in nature and the duality that can happen in how we experience its occurrences; and how all of it is really worth it: bruises and hard lessons, beauty and breathtaking views. Very much how life presents itself.
We really enjoy teaching and one the things we focus on is foundations, for any style and, especially, in the practice of hip hop. Training from the most basic elements and understanding how you can play with and manipulate movement is what Marta’s been working on for her hip hop online class today. It’s super interesting to see students with none or little experience of hip hop dance exploring and reacting to these elements.
Today is about exploring movement and finding our own story within Tuesday’s prompt. The visual of edges stood out and we decided to play with angles in our bodies. We thought it was interesting that creating angled shapes and lines and sort of embracing the edges creates quite a relaxing and even sort of soft movement and natural flow, which relates so well to the duality we feel nature has or just anything we experience.
It’s Friday, and we gave ourselves the time to move just because. We decided to dance to the same song with different prompts. Marta dances as water, in its most playful quality and Leah as fire, inspired by the long hours staring at the fireplace at our grandma’s.