Image © Christian Kipp

Interview with dance artist Katye Coe

Alice Westoby

London Calling caught up with dance artist, maker and teacher Katye Coe whilst she was en route to rehearsals to chat about the upcoming Wild Card she has curated at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells later on this April.

London Calling: Hi Katye! You’re curating the April Wild Card at Sadler’s Wells, are you excited by this opportunity to present your work on such a prestigious platform?

Katye Coe:Absolutely! I’m excited and quite brilliantly daunted by it. I don’t think I’m what you would call a young artist anymore but I certainly am in relation to my work being exposed or made in these kinds of venues - so it does all feel very exciting!

LC: The evening is presented in conversation with dance artist Charlie Morrissey, how was working so closely together contributed to the piece?

KC:The work that will be shown is a version of a practice that Charlie and I have been in the studio with for nearly three years now. We came upon a way of working together in movement that has had many small public lives.

LC: Was the piece always intended to be a duet?

KC:It’s always been a duet practice up until this point, but the Wild Card gave me a space not only to invite an episode of this practice but to also invite new artists to join us.

LC: In addition to the performance with Charlie Morrissey, sound artist Graeme Miller and philosopher Alva Noe are contributing to the piece. Can you tell us a bit more about what to expect from them?

KC:Alva Noe is philosopher in residence for the Forsythe Company, so he is familiar with dance and movement and has been for a number of years. His relationship with dance feeds his philosophical thinking but I’ve invited him to be in the space with us during the evening, so it’s a new way and new direction for him as well as us – he wouldn’t normally place himself in the performance space.

LC: So he is invited on stage as another presence contributing to the work?

KC:Absolutely he is. He is joining us on stage and so is Graeme Miller who works with sound and installations, so the duet has been disrupted by these two new presences in a very interesting way.

LC: The piece is about the ‘live-ness’ of decision-making. How much of the piece is improvised during the performance?

KC:We’re actually challenging more dominant versions of what you might consider improvisation, and turning away from what you may refer to as impulses or relationships that are commonly seen in devised or improvised work. So yes, absolutely it’s about decision making being made visible, and a lot of that is less about the dancing and more about the revealing of relationships between all of the different beings in the space.

LC: You mentioned the piece has had many small ‘public lives’ and it has been shown previously in the UK as well as Europe, how has it changed along its way to Sadler’s Wells?

KC:It’s a practice, rather than a piece of work, and so it’s never finished or solved. I think what happens to practice when you do it over a long period of time is that it becomes more available to lots of different situations, it becomes more malleable or more open and the more secure you become about something the more risks you can take in it. That’s why I think Charlie and I could feel ready this time to say what happens if we really disrupt this? What happens if we collapse it by bringing other people into the space?

LC: Is it because of the working relationship between the two of you that you can throw other elements in, and you feel comfortable with that?

KC: I wouldn’t say comfortable but we can have a go! We are sort of picking up the brilliant remains of what we had and now we have something very different.

LC: How would you describe the piece to somebody who may not have seen any contemporary dance before?

KC: There is something about us attempting something, attempting the impossible, so we are inviting people to see things that are often brushed over or decorated in theatre or in choreographic works. So we are actually inviting people to see the underbelly!

Wild Card – Katye Coe: Preparation is at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells on Friday 24th April. For tickets visit the Sadler’s Wells website.

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