Freestyle dressage is when a horse and rider dances to the music. The rider normally either uses a film sound track or a well-known classical piece to dance with, or they create a floor plan and film the performance – be it walk, trot, pirouette, etc – for a composer to analyse and write for. In this case, the composer studies the horse and rider’s movements carefully, matching its tempo, the body weight and character of the horse.
Dressage horses don’t vocalise; rather, they use their body to dance with the rider, and the rider takes the lead. This was a similar process when the poem ‘The Silver Moon’ was written and signed in British Sign Language by 13 year old Layla Fitzgerald-Woolfe. To the world it may appear that she is simply moving her hands in silence, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sign Language is full of expressive ideas, just like a musical score which shows the shape of sound and silences. As a fluent British Sign Language user myself, I studied Layla’s movements and wrote a musical score based on her poem, which was then played by Dame Evelyn Glennie.
An Audiovisability project funded by Arts Council England, Supported by Decibels and Deaf Explorer with thanks.
I am delighted to announce that I have been offered a place on the Clore Leadership Programme starting in September 2018 until 31st July 2019. This is going to support my role as an Artistic Director for Audiovisability and working in music education fields too.
It is with acknowledgement that I thank my family, mentors (Sarah Pickthall at Cuspinc, Ken Carter and Deaf Explorer to name a few) and friends for their continued support. Without them I believe this chance would not have happened. I look forward to learning, sharing, building networks and inspiring the next generation of musicians and artists, – both deaf and hearing.
Diversity and inclusion is a hot topic within the Cultural and Creative sector at the moment. Here are my thoughts below what I think a ‘Perfect County’ is.
A perfect country is where deaf and disabled people in general are top level consultants for politics, public services, transport, architecture and infrastructure design and so forth. These kinds of positions require input, problem solving, analysis and personal experiences from deaf and disabled people themselves. Only this way can they fully meet the needs of deaf and disabled people.
A perfect country would be where deaf and disabled people are fully involved and integrated in media and mainstream arts. The Arts, including television and film, are a wonderful way to showcase a range of our creative abilities and skills. In doing so that gives us confidence, self-esteem, good working relationships, ownership, pride and knowledge. We dispel any myths and create positive ripple effects on others. The wider world will be made aware of our existence and contribution to society.
With the involvement of deaf and disabled educators in other professional fields, the practice of teachers, scientists, health professionals, engineers and policy makers generally would be improved. The experience, resourcefulness and insights of the deaf and disabled would shape better policy and practice making for a more inclusive and compassionate way of doing things and help create the society I would like to live in.
Ruth Montgomery March 2018
My son Harry is 8 years old and wears hearing aids in both ears. He is profoundly deaf in the right ear and has severe/moderate hearing levels in the other ear, ranging from 60 decibels for the low frequencies then a steady upward rise to a mild hearing loss for the higher frequencies. This means that in his natural “good” ear, he struggles to hear low sounds, such as men’s voices, and has difficulty with localising sounds too. Genetics play a huge part of this as his father has waardenburg syndrome, which is one of the most common genetic reasons for deafness as it is passed down. The formalities of his hearing levels were realised after his glue ear operation at 3 years old and the left ear makes a very gradual decline over the years too.
Interview by Marcus Gordon www.shapearts.org.uk
Shape speaks to Ruth Montgomery, Creative Director of deaf-led arts project Audiovisability, to find out more about their upcoming performance showcase “The Unheard World”.
Shape: We’re delighted that Audiovisability’s new showcase “The Unheard World” will be at Brighton’s Fabrica on 6 December! Could you tell us how you first developed ideas for Audiovisability, and the notions behind the showcase’s name?
As the doors opened to communities across market towns the length and breadth of Essex and Suffolk during October half-term week; many children, babies, parents and carers sat on the colourful mats, cushions and chairs to settle down for the “Mission to Launch” performances by the City of London Sinfonia as part of their Lullaby Concert Series.