Down in the deep, sea women sleep
Gwymon draws inspiration from the work and life of writer Eluned Morgan (1870 – 1938), who was born aboard the ship Myfanwy travelling to Patagonia. In 1909 she published Gwymon y Môr, describing a voyage from Britain to Patagonia. Seaweed (Gwymon in welsh) is usually anchored and sways with the movement of the sea. This work explores a primal female connection to the sea, based on myths and stories of women and the sea, for example, dangerous sirens luring ships onto the rocks. Like seaweed, which can be nutritious but poisonous if left to rot, the dance explores contradictory extremes of female power. Anchored by ropes, the eyes of the women scan the horizon, searching, their bodies swaying and undulating with the motion of the darting, rocking, swelling sea.
‘…an astonishing display of horizontal, diagonal and vertical choreography… The synchronous movement shown by these two performers was among the tightest I’d seen all weekend, and this is two women dangling from the end of ropes down the side of a building!’ Steve Stratford reviews
Gwymon (seaweed) began as a work-in-progress vertical dance performance funded by Arts Council Wales and supported by Galeri Caernarfon. It was held on the outside balconies, facing Victoria Dock, on 24th August 2013 during the Mor a Mynydd festival. The next performance was on 15th February 2014 in the theatre at Galeri as part of the North Wales Dance Collective’s Casgliad evening and was performed on the balconies over the audience seating. Gwymon was then reworked as a wall piece and performed again on 29th June on the exterior walls of the MJC building in La Baule, Brittany, for the opening of the 2014 Rencontres de Danse Aerienne festival and on 20th September on the exterior wall of Venue Cymru as part of the Llawn 02 Arts Weekend. In 2015 it was performed at Riverfront Arts Centre, Newport for Wales Dance Platform. In 2016 it was performed for British Dance Edition at Wales Millennium Centre Glanfa foyer, on the Welsh Government Building in Llandudno Junction and on the Base Sousmarine in St Nazaire, France for Les Rencontres de Danse Aerienne. In 2017 it was performed for the International IBM conference at Garuda Vishnu Kencana Cultural Park in Bali, and at Sessions House, Boston.
‘Beautiful and elegant’
The latest exploration of the ideas in Gwymon took place during a research and development training project on the sea cliffs of Rhoscolyn on Anglesey in North Wales, funded by Arts Council Wales. Here is the film of that project:
Choreographer: Kate Lawrence
Performers: Despina Goula, Kate Lawrence, Catherine Ryan, Lisa Spaull
Composer: Rob Spaull
Visual designer: Sabine Cockrill
Rigger: Simon Edwards
Leaflet design: Chloe Rafferty