So, it’s here… Juncture 2014, a festival of contemporary art, dance and… (oh this should roll off the tongue by now.) Anyway, it’s today… it’s starting… it’s now.
There has been a buzz around the Yorkshire Dance office for some time. Names of international artists being batted across desks with varying pronunciations and occasional confusion (“Who is that? Oh yes, he’s massive in Spain.”) Failing Skype calls to Sweden, airport pick-ups organised with military precision and hotels… lots of hotels. I feel a pang of guilt that I’m not more hands-on. Poor Hollie keeps being asked the same questions on repeat… “Where is the Ibis again?”… “How much will I need for the car park?”… “How long will it actually last?”
The team are good though… they’re on it. There are spreadsheets pasted to the office walls, lanyards stacked in neat piles on desks and pens lined up like little soldiers next to the increasing pile of feedback forms. It’s smooth, it’s calm, it’s working.
Yesterday, in a moment of absolute team unity, we shifted 8 rolls of heavy dance floor into the Tetley Brewery. It’s a beautiful space. All dark wood and leather Chesterfields with an expansive white wall for projections and installations. The newly purchased harlequin dance floor will be christened tonight at the Juncture launch. 100 guests will be arriving (20 more than we intended, but never mind)… how exciting. I’m on airport pick-up. I have a flight number and a list of 4 people to collect. Bizarrely, two of them are called Martin which is the name I intend to shout out in the arrivals hall should we fail to be united quickly.
So, here we are, pre-Juncture and I’m sat in my kitchen with Claude, my cat, wondering if I should be somewhere doing something more useful. I tried my best, during school drop-off, to rally interest around Juncture. “So what exactly is it?” asked one parental friend. “Well, it’s a festival of contemporary art, dance and…” (oh, yes, here we are again.)
“What would you recommend?” another asks. “Ummm…” In truth, I’m not sure what to recommend as I haven’t seen any of the work, with the exception of my friend George, who performs solo, drinks heavily and takes his pants off. I’m not sure I can recommend this… I don’t know these people well enough yet.
The playground questioning did make me think though… what am I excited about? If truth be known, I get excited quite easily about a lot of things so maybe I’m the wrong person to ask. There is something thrilling, though, about gathering all those creative people into one place at the same time. It’s a rare opportunity to meet a mass of people who have something to say through art. A festival brings together the weird and the wacky, the experimental with the tried and tested, the explorers with the natives. I might not like a lot of it but then again it might just move me to tears.
Wendy Houstoun curated this festival and, for that reason, I have quite a bit of faith that it might just float my creative boat. I tried to explain to my husband who she is… “She’s like the Madonna of the contemporary dance world”… yeah, I’m not sure he got it, or indeed that this was a great description. I’ve followed Wendy’s career since I was a dance student. I loved DV8 and Wendy became a bit of an icon for me. Yesterday, she stood by my desk at work and we had a little chat. She’s really nice. We talked about small apartments and Hull. It was really normal and lovely. She then confessed that she didn’t really know what she should be doing. “Me neither,” I said.
Anyway, it’s today and I should probably think about the airport pick-up. I gave away all my Juncture brochures (which I was going to wave later in Arrivals) in the playground so I’m now going to construct a sign that says ‘Juncture 2014 – a festival of contemporary art, dance and…’ (oh, blimey)…
I might just write ‘MARTIN’.
Youth & Community Dance Director