‘Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in a sheet’ The promotion for Unseen Beings community dance project – commissioned by Hull City Arts supported by Arts Council England – is attracting heaps of love and attention… but what about those times when you are not getting love or attention? What about when the world doesn’t see you at all? What happens then?
There are many complex and often troubling ideas behind Unseen Beings, currently being devised by Tamar Draper and Jo Ashbridge, and the cast of community dancers. During one of the earlier sessions we all sat down as a group and discussed times when we ourselves had felt unseen.
Go behind the scenes on Insta HERE
These were just a few responses:
Feeling unseen passed over for being too young too old for a job or promotion
Feeling unseen as a woman having passed the age of having children
Feeling unseen when in a crowd and doing something to stand out
Being unseen due to illness particularly when faced with hidden conditions
Feeling unseen and using the power of anonymity as a way to reinvent yourself
There are also some positives associated with being unseen, we talk about people going unseen and under the radar: quietly working away until one day they reach the pinnacle of success.
For some people feelings of being unseen centres around a lack of agency in their lives. For others it is a call to harness the power of change, to alter another’s perception, an opportunity for empowerment and give back a sense of agency and control.
For me Unseen Beings is about those who only see what they want to see, a label, a stereotype, anecdotal evidence to support a preconceived ideal. Each and every time I do something new, whatever that might be, I’m gradually brick by stubborn brick, turning convention on its head.
Despite all the contact and connectivity we can feel very isolated inside our own little worlds. And being inside the folds of the costume you can also feel a sense of isolation, you don’t have others to rely on in the same way, as you would if you could see them.
Throughout the development of Unseen Beings there has had to be a great deal of trust built within the group, combined with a focus on using other senses in order to create a unique way of experiencing dance.
As we celebrate freedoms both local, global and personal Unseen Beings invites audiences to consider notions of identity, community and belonging and to recall a time when they too have felt Unseen.
Unseen Beings (feat. original score by Phil Wilson) takes place Freedom Festival Sept 1 at Stage @ the Dock
Shows: 12pm & repeated 2.45pm Download Festival Programme