Millie Hogman interviews dancer and artist Natasha Parker-Edwards to discover more about her collaborative performance project and life as a cross-disciplinary student.
What have been your influences as an artist?
My main influence for this project has been French-American artist Louise Bourgeois, she is multidisciplinary as she does writing, printing, sculpture. She collaborates with other artists to create big bulbous textiles works which focus on the body and fragility. During my a-level art and since then she has been an artist who keeps popping up. I wouldn’t say my practise mirrors hers. However I do respond to her work in different ways; I use different materials but take on some of her concepts.
How have you handled being a cross disciplinary student?
I think it definitely benefits my practise. I find it quite inspirational going from dance to art, it’s like jumping between two different worlds and looking at different side of things. So sometimes the dance world can be a bit more technical, whereas in the art world it is more about sculpture and the space. It can be quite difficult to time manage with the campus and location change. You definitely need to be organised, lucky I am or I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the different people I work with.
Talk to me about your current project.
So, it’s a performance called ‘Femme Maison.’ As an student of both art and dance I wanted to join the two for my dance dissertation; in which I am choreographing a performance. I have always wanted to bridge the two, looking at the boundaries where art starts and ends, and when it becomes performance art or when it’s dance, exploring that genre. I’m aiming to create a 25 minute dance piece which is in response to Louise Bourgeois like an homage. It will be available for anyone to come and watch, for free in the university theatre on the 5th of April at 1pm. I am making the props and designing the set for the performance; as well as collaborating with musicians, textiles artists, photographers and dancers to make the piece. I will be choreographing and directing.
When you’re looking for inspiration what do you do?
The courses bounce off of each other for inspiration. For example, my whole dance piece is inspired by an artist. She has been a really good catalyst for my work because I just have books and books with her work in. In her writing there is always something I find interesting that I can work with. I believe that being part of a collaborative project I can always bounce of the other people I am working with. So in dance if I am stuck as a choreographer I can set a task for them, then they can create movement that I can work with.
A particular image of Louise Bourgeois sticks out to me of a woman with her belly in the shape of a house. This resonates with my fear of female expectation, once I graduate I don’t want to be stuck in a life of domesticity. This inspires me to work on this performance.
Who do you want your project to reach?
Creatives. Dancers and artists to show the benefit of the cross over of creative ideas and artistic disciplines. Of course it’s a performance open to everyone, I hope will reach people who don’t have an artistic background.
So, I’m making over 50 ceramic houses which is expensive so I’ve been applying for uni funding to see if I can take the project further after I graduate. Ideally I want it to be shown in theatres and galleries as they are my two main audiences, dance and art joined in performance. The Bargehouse exhibition which is in London on the 18th-21st of July. It will be interesting to see my work in a gallery space compared to the performance which is in a few weeks. Next year I would like to stay local and try to approach galleries to develop it further!
You can find Natasha on Instagram @tashaeped
Photographer Laura Foster @Laurafosterphoto
The ‘Femme Maison’ performance – 5th April 1pm in the University Theatre
‘115’ Bargehouse exhibition, London – 18th-21st July