NOW 23 presents Serafine1369 IV

NOW is back at The Yard with a month-long programme for the here and Now. Since 2014, NOW has supported, nurtured and showcased new ideas in theatre, supporting over 60 artists whose work has been presented internationally. NOW 23 arrives with an exciting line-up of Yard commissions and premieres including IV from SERAFINE1369 (AKA Jamila Johnson-Small previously working as Last Yearz Interesting Negro), which runs April 25-28 at 8pm

IV brings together bodies in movement and stillness, in light and in darkness, and a speaking clock, to create a series of tableaux and moments of dancing with complete abandonment. Each minute, on the minute, they move…

SERAFINE1369 has created a choreographic machine, a work of loose dancing emerging through tight structure, a system of movement and stillness, a meditative play between instinctive rhythms and strict timing. Dancers Darcy Jane Wallace, Steph McMann and Natifah White join SERAFINE1369 onstage. 

IV is set to the soundtrack, made by long-term collaborator Josh Anio Grigg, of a breaking storm, a circling, fragmenting, contracting and expanding, not-straightforward movement of time.

Says SERAFINE1369: “I have been interested in scale and working with ‘micro-movement’ for a long time; a somatic practice that is about attempting to trace the beginning of a movement, before it becomes visible.

Agency is an important theme for me, as individuals within social systems, positioned in marked bodies that carry social meaning and related access to resources and connection, as dancers for a choreographer, as dancers for money, as bodies in time. I’m curious about the philosophical idea of fate as offering some kind of relief from endless labour – the labour of making choices. This work is about creating a larger system – zooming out as well as zooming in.

I have been working with the counting of time (minutes) as a rhythmic bed for various works over the last 3+ years, calling in ideas of time that shape our lives and bodies as being a human construction, loaded with (continuing) histories of colonialism, guided by efforts towards economic accumulation, labour extraction and other forms of control. But also, functioning as a calming device, bringing familiarity and regularity to the structure of the work.

Coming through the pandemic, I think there is so much more anxiety, a heightened sense of control and surveillance. I’m interested in making work that deals with these tensions. Work that is somehow soothing, spacious, transparent but still intriguing, asking the audience to be present, sensing and implicated in the shifting web of relations. 

I’m looking to connect again with what excites me about dancing, and it’s this experience of watching someone be utterly themselves, in their uniqueness and particularity and how that can be a real magical and liberating thing to witness. This work invites people to slow down, to tune in, to be with the details, to watch the movement from a place between sharp and soft focus. So much is so high definition, shiny, slick, clean and I’m interested in bringing the blur, a softening, the periphery.”

Header image by Maria Gracia Velazquez.