Written for the Wonderful World of Dance
In rehearsal with Snakebox, scientists of dance imagination on Thurs 22 January 2015
“We’ve had modern dance and postmodern dance, it’s 2015 and time for something new!”
Akeim Buck and Otis Jones, also known as Snakebox and recent graduates from Northern School of Contemporary Dance invited Nick to the rehearsal of P.L.A.Y. Akeim and Otis began collaborating in their second year at the prestigious Northern School of Contemporary Dance, based in Leeds, UK. Nick was able to watch their tech rehearsal ahead of the evening’s performance, as part of Resolution! The Place’s annual dance platform for emerging artists. You can catch three new pieces every night until Saturday 21 February.
Resolution! is a great festival that has helped artists such as Russell Maliphant, Mark Baldwin, Wayne McGregor, Charlotte Vincent, Jasmin Vardimon and Hofesh Shechter begin their successful dance careers. Snakebox is hoping that this opportunity springboards them in front of new audiences with their fresh approach to performance art.
“We’ve had modern dance and postmodern dance, it’s 2015 and time for something new!”, exclaims Akeim when speaking about P.L.A.Y.
P.L.A.Y. breaks down the fourth wall and embraces the audience, blurring boundaries between social dance and dance for performance. The piece has been performed in pubs, foyers and parties across the UK and Snakebox are intrigued by what may happen in a theatre.
Unlike many works that see the performer become intrinsic and secretive of their art, the average audience member having to delve deep into their soul to interpret what has been laid before them, Snakebox readily opens up to you relying on their charm, wit and creativity to pull information from the audience.
P.L.A.Y. is a free-styling frenzy of music and dance resulting in a new concoction every time that it is done. P.L.A.Y. does what it says on the box and invites you to join in. Games are played with the audience to dictate what happens musically and in movement.
Snakebox sets up a forum of brilliance, allowing themselves to be used as instruments where anything can happen. The duo make art accessible and show how a fantastic concept can travel on the cheap — literally just needing their bodies, voices, electric guitar and looper pedals. Oh, and a group of people.
Akeim and Otis are masters of sound and movement, enthralled by the endless possibilities of improvising with music and dance. Their playful nature is inspiring and contagious. Why not have a laugh? Why not take a risk and see where that word leads your foot or vocal cords?
In rehearsal Nick was given the chance to take part and play!
Game one – Word Association:
Shouting out words to do with Egyptians, a random choice from Nick – Akeim and Otis jam, making a song on the spot.
Game two – Feedback Loop:
Akeim and Otis bounce off each other and use the audience to dictate what happens.
Akeim beatboxes and sings responding to the random words that Nick throws at him. Otis is only allowed to respond to what Akeim does and the sound he makes, not the words, the cycle then repeats except the new word has to come from how Otis is moving. A game that will probably become chaotic in a theatre seated with just under 300 people.
I urge you get involved – you never know what spot their game will land on next, it could be at a house party that you’re invited to!