not alone directed by maeshelle west-davies // 2020 // 20 minutes 20 sec
Distance is taking on new properties during lockdown. Someone across the world is just as close as someone down the street. You don’t have to be alone when you can share a split screen. Instagram and TikTok challenges are bringing people together. not alone is a performative video that finds a harpist and two dancers responding to each other, despite each being in the same room at different times.
COVID 19 restrictions of only two people being allowed in the room at a time made it the perfect situation to shoot not alone. The all white rehearsal room is a sterile space in which to “isolate.” People worldwide are communicating through the universal languages of image and movement. In not alone, I bring together harpist Babett Niclas and dancers, Lou Thalbart (Leipzig Ballet) and Donna-Mae Burrows (former Leipzig Ballet) to perform devised choreography and sound based on current social media challenges. The work reflects the responses and delays created by technical devices as well as the aftermath of feelings left when no one is answering. The three performers were specifically chosen for their range of classical and modern training. This timelessness serves to remind us of human resilience despite our frailty.
For all my projects extensive research informs the framework, providing a strong skeleton for experimentation. Filming was an integral part of the musical and choreographic process. I worked closely with Babett, Lou and Donna to allow them to contribute to the raw footage. In the end, the editing process determined the outcome. This piece can only be seen on film. Any live performance would be something different.
As with all my work, there is no judgement. This is merely an autobiographical portrait of life in our time. I try to show things as simply as possible in order for people to get what they need. Lockdown has brought the world closer together while making those in our immediate vicinity seem further away. The common languages of dance and music can bridge the gap.