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Talking Moves Episode One: Exhilarating or Exhausting

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Staying Creative Through Covid

In this episode we talk to John Darvell and Emma Houston about the challenges of staying creative through Covid. Have they relished the opportunity to rethink their work amidst changing social behaviours? Or been weighed down by the pressures of diminished finances and cancelled contracts?

Both John and Emma talk about their projects going ‘Pete Tong’ and how they then had to figure out, in the name of self-care, what was important. John talks of his responsibility to his community and the need to begin online classes, and Emma speaks about her harrowing experience of getting Covid herself and how she had to respect her body and its capabilities as she recovered from that.

Together they discuss managing anxiety, funding rejections, the need to learn new skills and ‘positive rage’ but the episode finishes on a high as they consider the renewed sense of vigour they each now have through new connections, new conversations and new possibilities.

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Recording date: 17 September 2020

Talking Moves is a Greenwich Dance production
Presented by Melanie Precious
Production by Carmel Smith, Lucy White and Melanie Precious

John Darvell 

Choreographer, dance educationalist, community practitioner and innovator in participatory digital art. 

John Darvell is the Founder and Director of NOCTURN, who create DIGITAL ART designed through PARTICIPATION. John is a gay man originally from a working-class background in the North East. His professional journey into dance began in his late 30’s after taking the courageous risk at 37 to retrain in contemporary dance, leaving the security of a graphic designer with the civil service. After graduating from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2007 he has focused on creating accessible digital dance work and immersive online events, utilising social media to engage audiences. His works have led to very exciting cross art form collaborations with other artists, including Greyworld, Yeast Culture, Parlor Dance, John Chambers, David Varella, Black Screen Productions, Rose Productions amongst others.

John has written articles for national and local publications including People Dancing, Greenwich Dance and the National Dance Teachers Association for which he was a Board member. His educational work has featured in publications such as Kidscape - ‘How to create kind schools’ alongside contributions from Dance United and 2Faced Dance Company and Headteacher Update which is distributed to all UK Primary Schools. His innovative approach to storytelling has been showcased in a range of sector workshops and industry events, guest lectures at Trinity Laban and is a regular teacher at MOVE IT. 

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Emma Houston

Emma is a Creative Artist, Dancer, Choreographer,Teacher and Activist based in London, UK.

Emma is a cast member in Boy Blue’s latest production ‘REDD’ and Kate Prince’s West End Production ‘Message In A Bottle’ (2020), undertaking their first role as Dance Captain on the new show. Emma also represented UK at the Redbull BC one Bgirl cypher making it to the semi finals in 2019. They have also performed with companies Far From The Norm, Boadicea, Rosie Kay Dance Company, Ella Mesma Dance Company and with slam poet Adam Kammerling in his work challenging toxic masculinity. Emma has choreographed and directed for brands such as Levis and Adidas and been a featured choreographer in ASOS and DIVA magazine, and is passionate about dance as a tool for positive change. Emma's work centres around identity and LGBTQ+ visibility and representation, with their company Houston Dance Collective's The Purple Jigsaw performing at Sadlers Wells Breakin Convention, Shoreditch Town Hall's Identity and Levi's and ELD's Equality Always Fits at Richmix. The company's outreach work also includes LGBTQ+ dance workshops aimed at improving young people's mental health through movement. Emma also teaches in communities through organisations such as Greenwich Dance, East London Dance and Royal Academy of Dance, and works widely with Dance Companies and Organisations bringing bespoke creative workshops exploring movement and the intersection of fitness and artistry.