This is my most recent oil portrait, a large canvas of my long-term friend and collaborator, Dane Hurst.
The duet which had audiences on their feet and put tears in eyes was performed again at the Wilderness Festival last weekend. This time Dane Hurst performed the core duet from 'Finding Freedom' with Romany Pajdak of the Royal Ballet, and the duo went down a storm, by all accounts.
Last month I took some promotional shots during a rehearsal of the piece. If you missed the piece at Wilton's or Wilderness, there will be further opportunities to see it soon. Some big plans are in the works!
This shoot was to generate promotional material for a new dance production, 'My Dust Will Tell' choreographed by Estela Merlos. The piece will be performed at The Place in January 2015. I first worked with Estela on a piece performed last year at the Barbican pop-up theatre 'Dalston House' . Formerly of Rambert, Estela is now an independent dancer and choreographer. She is extremely talented, her performances are full of fiery energy and beautiful control, and she's always fantastic to work with- we had a great time working on this shoot. We did make a hell of a mess though...
Here is a clip of Dane Hurst and Amy Thake working on a duet for 'Finding Freedom' in the rehearsal studios of Rambert.
The piece is about a man locked in prison, separated from the woman he loves. He is tortured by being unable to reach her. He holds on to the slender thread of hope of being reunited with her, but ever struggles with the fear she will leave him while he is helpless in prison.
When Dane was creating the choreography, he conceived of a section where the man and woman dance a heart-rending, intimate duet where the couple move together so intimately, but without actually making physical contact. This tension of restraint builds until it is finally released in a beautifully tender lift at the end.
The music to which they are dancing is from a piece which I composed for the performance. It is called 'Breaking Through' and forms the musical centrepiece of 'Finding Freedom'. It accompanies this encounter between the prisoner and his love as she tries desperately to reach him through the armour he has donned to protect himself from fear.
This fear is represented elsewhere in the piece as a daemon aggressor, an incubus who comes to torture the prisoner in his dreams, threatening to steal his love while he lies incarcerated and helpless.
The piece is about a struggle. It feels like a struggle with an external adversary, but really it’s a struggle within yourself. Inside the heart of every artist - every person- if you look deep enough you find your greatest enemy and your greatest love. Carl Jung described them as archetypes: the Shadow and the Anima. Finding these cut off parts of our souls and rejoining with them, Jung thought, is the great journey of opening up to all our potentialities as a human individual. It’s the barriers in the mind between them which form our prison. The key, the way to break down these walls is creativity.
'Finding Freedom' will be performed this coming Saturday night (27th September 2014). Tickets are in short supply but you can watch the performance streamed live to all the billions of people across the internet by following the link on the Wilton's Music Hall webpage.