Janice Parker

Janice Parker

Independent choreographer
Based in Edinburgh

My roots are in education and community arts. Over the years I have worked for many organizations, in many capacities and with many people. My main focus is and has always been bringing art and people together in a way that has an impact on life. As a choreographer I work in the body. I create and produce performance, both live and on film, that presents and represents the person, their context and their situation. My work is not overtly political or issue based but more of a subtle encounter that involves the presence of the person to be experienced by the audience. It is ultimately work that is often directly inhabited by the person and certainly always informed by them.  My aim is to develop work that, both in itself and in the process of creating it, invites the possibility of change.

A Process of Collaboration
This is how I understand my practice. Implicit in this is the idea of working with and being informed by each other. It is not about equal contribution but about distinctive contribution. Collaboration for me is an exchange and a meeting of difference. People work together in active encounters with unique dynamics to create a third and new thing. Take one person away and a different work would exist.  I believe also that new aesthetic dimensions can result from this process.

Being an artist who works in a social context comes with a particular set of responsibilities. There is a responsibility to the person to bring a positive impact to their lives; to the art to create something of quality and resonance; and to society by finding ways of letting the work live in the world to its maximum capacity. The art work may be big or small, involve one person or many, resonate individually or collectively but responsibility goes with it.  These responsibilities are not static but an ever evolving process particular to each situation that an artist has to be conscious of, constantly question, respond to and work in relation to.

‘Take A Look At What Is Actually There’ 
My most recent work, which resulted in a short publication, was looking at the contribution of people with learning disabilities to the field of contemporary dance. Through a series of collaborative projects I was aiming to place work by performers with learning disabilities within the professional arena. I wanted to lift the glass ceiling that exists for performers with learning disabilities, challenge limiting and limited expectations and preconceptions and open new channels of collaboration between the professional dance world and the person with a learning disability.

‘The Meeting Room’
Each new work is always the precursor to the next.  Now I am interested in how to reveal more of the person?
My preliminary thoughts run something like this…. ‘The Meeting Room’ is a new work that will bring the audience member into a personal encounter with the performer in a small intimate space. The performers will be experienced dancers both with and without learning disabilities. The work will invite an intense experience of performance and performer where the performer chooses the space and presents their individual prepared performance. Audience members will have different responses.  ‘The Meeting Room’ is a confrontation of sorts that aims to place the personal at its centre. Working within an intimate arena in a direct encounter, with the performer fully present in the work, will challenge the assumptions and preconceptions of the audience and place the work back with the performer.

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