work hard play hard…

It’s been a busy Christmas. Since my last blog I’ve been out on the road with White Caps in Belgium, Jersey and the UK, as well as entertaining families with Boing! All whilst simultaneously sinking beneath the omnipresent tide of admin and associated activities that will be familiar to all freelancers out there.

For the last three years, Christmas for me has meant Boing! This is an early years piece I choreographed with Joel Daniel that was directed by Sally Cookson for Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic back in 2010. Performing in the round, surrounded by 3- to 5-year-olds who really don’t have any reservations about giving instantaneous feedback on your performance, is still as fresh as it was three years ago. I’d never performed for this age group before, and having been on tour with White Caps where the ‘fourth wall’ is a black piece of gauze that the performer can’t even see through, it was, and still is, an experience that all dancers should have the pleasure (and fear) of experiencing.

When adult audiences don’t really like a performance they can just sit begrudgingly all the way though, and still obligingly clap for the duration of however many curtain calls you opt to subject them to. When 3-year-olds watch a show, they tell you how it’s going from the beginning, right through to the end. Fortunately for us, our show has pillow fights, midnight feasts, breakdancing robots and most of the things their parents would never let them get away with. As a result, the aforementioned feedback is a non-stop riot of giggling and excitement. There really is something quite amazing and beautiful about experiencing that. By the end of this season’s run of the show, which is about the excitement of Christmas Eve, Joel and I had lived out another 34 Christmases, with about 5,000 children. Stratford Circus, where we started our run, have kindly allowed me to show you some of the photos of the audiences from there, courtesy of Andrew Baker.

Watching Boing! @ Stratford Circus

Watching Boing! @ Stratford Circus

Watching Boing! @ Stratford Circus

Watching Boing! @ Stratford Circus

In amongst all this, I’ve also been getting acquainted with the Indian visa system. White Caps is just about to depart on a two-week tour of the subcontinent. Sorting out visas is just one of the many joys of producing your own work, but after several visa photo fails, days of collating company member details and navigating a bug-ridden internet-only application process, myself, Nic and Joel (see “Jet-Setting” blog) are visa certified and ready to depart next week.

The labour of many days work...

The labour of many days work…

I’ve never been to India, so I don’t really know what to expect, but our schedule of six shows in five cities over two weeks should amount to a 7,000km adventure worthy of White Caps. I’m going to do my best to document the experience and post it all up on here in the form of video blog. So watch this space for these appearing in early February.


p.s. follow me on twitter if your into that kind of thing…


Our tour around India.

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About Wilkie Branson

Wilkie Branson is an interdisciplinary artist and, as co-director of the project based Champloo Dance Company, an associate company at the Bristol Old Vic. Self taught in both dance and film, which form the main focus of his work, the roots of his practice are in BBoying. Wilkie’s dance style has developed into a unique fusion, with expression, accessibility and integrity at it’s heart. His most recent works, White Caps and Stronger are currently touring internationally in Europe, North America and Asia. Awarded the Arts Foundation Choreographic Fellowship in 2012, Wilkie is also a member of the Sadler’s Wells Summer University. Photo: Chris Nash Upcoming shows: White Caps - York Theatre Royal / Varmints - Sally Cookson & Wilkie Branson / BOING! review - The Independent

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