Eliot Smith Dance: Working on Wellbeing
Eliot Smith Dance (ESD), based in Newcastle upon Tyne, is an internationally renowned dance company led by its Artistic and Creative Director Eliot Smith. Founded in 2012, the company conveys a vision that inspires and cultivates persons to nurture both ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ physical and mental growth and development.
Eliot’s undertakings are rooted within a postmodernist tradition which favour both strength and physical speed whilst at the same time working with contemporary linguistic systems that embrace and nurture chronicles that are multi-layered in nature and look beyond the surface levels of meaning.
Eliot has created constructions on subject matter which are highly relevant for today’s twenty-first-century spectator. One of the chief focuses of his and his company’s work has been the emphasis placed on wellbeing. And, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the health and welfare of his audiences and all those who work for the company has continued to remain at the forefront of his agenda. Eliot says that this is because “it’s essential to remain connected with staff, colleagues and audiences as well as with new audiences too, and both arts and culture must play an even more significant role at a time like this. Wellbeing is imperative.”
To illustrate, funded and supported by Arts Council England, the recently constructed CONNECT is a digital contemporary dance film that is choreographed and performed by twelve community participants from the North East under the guidance and support of Eliot. With music by Adam Johnson: ‘Autumn Garden Wind’, the focus of this creation highlights how crucial it is for members of the local and wider community to re-CONNECT and to continue re-CONNECTing with longstanding, forgotten and new-found friends as this is fundamental in terms of our health, wellbeing and mindset. This performance is still available to watch on https://www.eliotsmithdance.com/esddigital.
But that’s not all! Choreographed by Eliot Smith and funded and supported by Arts Council England, the reimagining of ‘TroY’, one of three new dance constructions, arrives on your digital screens next month. With a cast of four male dancers, this adaptation of the classic story of Helen of Troy investigates and delivers key messages concerning the world at large. These ideas incorporate thoughts on identity, sex and gender and their implicit connections with health and wellbeing. This is to say that through ‘TroY’, Eliot inspects same-gender relationships, and how some parts of society still don’t readily accept this. Eliot says that “‘TroY’ is then a work that exhibits the importance of acceptance, and with the existence of Covid-19, it’s crucial that for example those members of society that are still discovering their identities are still supported and not left alone to feel isolated and excluded. We must stay connected with them and keep them feeling proud and strong because their health, mindset and wellbeing are so important.”
The virtual premiere of ‘TroY’ in addition to two further dance pieces: ‘Onward’ choreographed by New York based Jake Vincent and ‘Messiah’ by the award-winning Mark Baldwin OBE can be seen on Thursday 03 December at 8pm (GMT). For more information about these upcoming performances, visit the Eliot Smith Dance website: https://www.eliotsmithdance.com/works. For tickets, visit: https://virtualtriplebill.eventbtrite.co.uk
Article by Shezad Khalil