Day Three: Joanna Fallen Angels Dance Theatre Recovery Artist..

I joined Fallen Angels Dance Theatre a year and a half ago after coming out of detox for drug and alcohol addiction.

I had little idea of what to expect as I had never really danced before, and didn’t even know what contemporary dance was, but I absolutely loved learning to move in a completely new way that involved expressing myself, and the way that I felt through movement.

I found that through dance I was able to get completely lost in the moment, and enter a state of flow which after each session left me with a feeling of calm and serenity. This felt incredible, especially as it was such a stark contrast to the chaos, pain and turmoil I had felt during active addiction.

I took part in my first performance last February in ‘The Dark Night Ends’ which was one of the best experiences of my life, so after being a part of that I couldn’t wait to perform again so I was really excited when Paul asked me to be a part of this project as a recovery artist.

Joanna performing in Dark Night Ends at TEDx University of Chester

I’ve had a great couple of days so far in Birmingham dancing with Geese Theatre Company (Staging Recovery) and Rory and Laura from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, it’s been amazing to watch people stepping out of their comfort zone, loosing their self-consciousness and being able to freely express themselves. Some of the movement has been so beautiful it’s completely blown me away.

It’s also lovely to see people enjoying dance and getting a taste of the therapeutic value of dance that I experience myself. I’ve especially enjoyed watching Laura dance as it’s like she just floats too and from the ground it’s incredible seeing her bring elements of ballet into contemporary dance.

I can’t wait to see what is created over the next few days when all the performers and different styles of dance are brought together and I’m hoping the performance will bring something new, unique and authentic by combining dance with people’s real life struggles to create something beautiful, deep and thought provoking.

Day 2: Nicolette Whitley – Fallen Angels Dance Theatre (FADT) Company Dancer..

Nicolette and Jo practising their duet in BRB studios

In rehearsal with BRB dancers Laura Purkiss and Rory MacKay

It was amazing today to have the full company working together. Geese Theatre and their Community Ensemble Staging Recovery shared the work they have created. I found the piece extremely moving, real and powerful. It gave me goosebumps!

It was so nice to see people from different backgrounds and experiences come together to create a high quality piece of work, with such a strong message. 

During the second half of the day FADT spent time in the studio with BRB dancers Laura Purkiss and Rory Mackay.  It was a unique experience for me to assist our Artistic Director Paul Bayes Kitcher with the choreography, working with such a high calibre of dancers. I find I am always learning new things from Paul especially how he creates and develops the work. 

FADT spent the final part of day working on our own repertoire, which I am so excited to share, and I am particularly proud of Jo* and her journey with dance and recovery so far. 

Finally it was great to have Lee Affen in the studio today. FADT’s musical composer.  His work never fails to inspire and resonate with me. I am excited to see what tomorrow brings!

*Tomorrow’s blog comes from Joanna Kirkby who will talk a bit about her journey through recovery to performing on Friday..

Day One: Acts of Recovery at Birmingham Hippodrome

Today Fallen Angels Dance Theatre began a week residency with Geese Theatre’s Community Ensemble “Staging Recovery”  and dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet.. We will do a daily blog to keep you updated on progress…

This morning started at the Thorpe Street entrance of the Hippodrome, the cast for “Acts of Recovery” will be coming together in the Patrick Studio all week to build up to the performance.

“Staging Recovery” met Rory Mackay Soloist at BRB before going straight into a warm up and a chance to get used to the stage space and introductions to Artistic Director Paul and dancers Nicolette and Joanna.

They spent the day sharing, exploring and devising. In the afternoon AD Paul went onto continue the exploration with Rory, Nicolette and Joanna, he explains his experience of the day:

“Its been wonderful to be back at the Hippodrome today. I’ve seen a lot of friends from 20 years ago. I was very inspired with SR and Geese Theatre they are a fantastic group, and Rory McKay Soloist dancer from BRB who embraced all the ideas and concepts that I shared with him developed through working with people in recovery.” Paul Bayes Kitcher

We hope you will join us for the performance this Friday! link: https://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/acts-of-recovery/

Photo: Fallen Angels Dance Theatre in rehearsal

Credit: Paul Bayes Kitcher