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10 Minutes with Temujin Gill (in Lockdown)

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Temujin Gill is Artistic Director and founder of the company Grounded Movement. It grew out of a 25 year association between Temujin and Associate Director Sunanda Biswas, both passionate advocates for passing on the knowledge, skills, benefits and cultural relevance of Jazz and Hip Hop dances. In 2013, a year after their roller-coaster experience directing the choreography for the NHS segment of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, they joined forces to form Grounded Movement.

Temujin will be working with Greenwich Dance on the making of a special commission created in lockdown as part of our Up My Street ONLINE series due for release on our website in June.

Tell us – what has lockdown been like for you so far (the highs and lows?)
Lockdown for me has created so many changes and challenges including being ill with flu for 2 weeks... not a good start! I'm a freelancer and a father so have had my hands full childminding whilst trying to re-envisage my work and career. I had some very exciting projects planned prior to lockdown, working with many different groups and though most have had to be cancelled or postponed, we are now working to create online versions, revealing some really exciting opportunities. Although this is very unsettling time it has also given me some beautiful experiences with my family, we had our first ever DIY barbecue together with home-made burgers to die for!

As an artist used to being with people and occupying space with movement/capturing that movement – how are you keeping creative?
Fortunately, for a couple of the projects I have been involved with, we are now creating online responses. It is new to me in some ways, but in reality a lot of my creativity initially happens at home or in the street anyway. I'm now adapting my vision for the screen as opposed to a live performance. That said I have also continued teaching a group online, which is really exciting and making me adapt work for small spaces and without a partner.

Tell us a little about your vision for the piece you are creating for Up My Street ONLINE? You are using a community cast we hear and creating with them remotely using tools like WhatsApp and Zoom?
I wanted to create something positive and fun and engaging out of this very dark time. My starting point is the question “what is really important to me now”, from this we will create a layered piece that draws in a range of people, celebrating, sharing and broadcasting our basic needs in a funky and infectious group dance.

What are you most excited about regarding this project?
Seeing how people respond to our artistic tasks, and being able to create something together even though we are in many ways very much apart.

Will there be any challenges?
I imagine yes, there will be challenges, how to film oneself whilst moving around is one that comes to mind. Challenges are great though, because you can discover things and qualities about yourself and others that you never expected.

Have you got any tips for audiences at home as to how to keep energised, creative and physical whilst they await the release of Up My Street ONLINE? Listen to lots of music, and have some fun party time together in the house. When you go out, be sure to look around and take in the detail and wonder of the natural world. See how creative young people can be in the open spaces, adults too can be creative in the outdoors, allow yourself to play and explore a little. Try to get involved with tasks around the house and garden (if you have one) that involved physical dexterity and problem solving.

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