‘I reflect upon the role of a dancer’

Marina Collard

Marina Collard

Dancer and choreographer Marina Collard has been involved with dance for over two decades. Her main interests lie in collaborating with artists from other disciplines. Still Going is her solo performance in collaboration with filmmaker Tom Paine.  Her 20-minute dance piece infuses film projection, by Paine, which honours and at the same time poses questions about her life in dance. Marina shares her insight on the piece and her style. Excerpts:

What is Still Going about?
Still Going captures a particular time in my life when I was making it. Which is true of all the works I make. I had for a long time been interested in and actively engaged in oil painting. The nature and materiality of the paint, the approach to working on a large canvas, the mixing and layering of colour etc. There are, of course, undertones of a more personal nature where I am playing with the possibility of retiring from performing and the idea of ‘should’ within this context. There are also some reflections in there about the role of a dancer that are not necessarily explicit and don’t need to be.

How did it evolve?
I don’t ever feel that pieces get made in isolation. They are part of a bigger narrative of making work and an investment in an art practice that is ongoing. What we don’t access easily in dance – unless we follow a choreographer’s development closely – is the same perspective of the work as you might if you were to see the work of a painter exhibited.

How does the film projection become a character in your piece?
I don’t see it in this way. It is a whole work. The whole visual and aural field is the work and the two elements, film and body are integral to the coherence of the work along with the sound/sonic image. I cannot remove one from the other. The solo wouldn’t have become what it is without the film. There is a relationship, of course, which is concerned with saturation, immersion and this hovering uncertainty.
I remember when I first started working with Tom and he made a passing comment saying ‘film is about light’. This may seem very simple but for me that was a transformative moment because it made me see things differently. The way I perceived, viewed and noticed things was focused differently.

Is your personal identity reflected through the performance?
From my perspective, it is impossible not to have some autobiographical element making work. I don’t know that I can honestly think of anyone who can remove themselves from their work. This doesn’t necessarily mean it as to be autobiographical, but it might be about the way they think or perceive things, or things they are interested and keep them curious.

How was it collaborating with Tom Paine?
I have been working with Tom for the past 15 years. We have made a number of short films as well as working in this capacity. That is, developing a projection as an integral part of the work. So you could argue that it is not really a solo. We are both present in the work.

You can watch a video of Still Going here.

Post by: Debesh Banerjee

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