Through the relentlessly strange and unexpected events this past year has unraveled, as a company we have remained strong and resilient in the face of change; welcoming new opportunities to learn and adapt to different circumstances with open arms. We are incredibly grateful for our continued support from all of you as this has given us a deeper drive to provide the same inspiring opportunities to young people and communities in and around Coventry - despite the obstacles that have revealed themselves!
The Belgrade Theatre have been a constant support to Ascension, and they continue to fervently represent Coventry’s stamp of artistic outreach, talent and opportunities by providing platforms to local artists in order to further and nurture their visions. We are really lucky to be part of this unity and to have the Belgrade backing us all the way. Over the past 6 months, we have been given the use of the theatre’s rehearsal space and we can’t tell you how valuable that has been for us as creators to know that we have an outlet for our creative ideas to come to fruition.
This year, we were commissioned by the Belgrade to create a piece in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was really exciting for us as we felt we were given an opportunity to explore and create something that spoke to people across the board about their experiences and feelings over this past year. We wanted to create a piece that can be taken and performed anywhere so that we can reach out to and unite as many people as possible. With Ascension’s professional projects happening a little more sporadically, we wanted to take this opportunity with both hands and use it as a chance to feed into our own energy, desires and creativity. We made a conscious decision there and then that we would create a duet between Ben and Lexy with AJ choreographing the piece.
Although this was the first time we had been in a rehearsal space since the beginning of the first lockdown – and, for Lexy, the first time creating a professional piece as part of Ascension – as a trio, our connection was effortlessly comfortable from the start as we felt really safe to make decisions together. Through this process, the way that we communicate and respond to each other has massively developed; we have challenged each other in ways we all ultimately benefited from and it allowed the chemistry within the choreography to blossom. Tuesdays became our new weekly highlight as we felt so incredibly lucky to connect and create with each other.
Now, usually when it comes to creating material, choreographer Ashley Jordan is often inspired by music, imagery, set design etc, however this approach was much more organic. Having been away from a rehearsal space for the best part of 2020, we used the first few weeks of this process to find our feet in the space and to connect with each other again. We encouraged each other to play, explore and discover.
From this process, we came to understand that a lot of the material we were producing organically was a direct reflection of our feelings, emotions and desires during lockdown. For a lot of us – and particularly those of us who were isolating alone – the lack of human connection took its toll. Staying positive and upbeat was becoming increasingly hard as we all needed a shoulder to lean on at some point. As time went on, the desire for a stroll in the sun with a friend or a cup of tea with our families or even just a hug from someone we love became stronger and stronger. And it became clear that this was what we wanted to focus on as the main message of our piece; the rise and fall of our feelings and just how important physical touch is amongst us all.
Everything you saw in the piece was a completely organic collaboration of ideas and we really hope that everyone was able to take something valuable away from the piece that spoke to them on a deeper level and made them feel seen, heard and part of something! 💙