Flocking refers to a movement of gathering together, in humanity and in nature, a flock of birds fly through the sky, people flock together… It is also a type of compositional form in which mirrors or shadows movement in groups.
Regardless of place, era, nation, in gatherings, we are all united by a collective physical language that reaches back to the beginning of humanity. “Flocking” is created from movements that bring us together, bring us closer. The work is inspired by people gathering in protest, celebration and ritual based on a series of photos collected by Paris-based choreographer Joanne Leighton. It is like a reflection of the world we live in now.
For more than ten years, Joanne Leighton has meticulously collected a series of photographs of people gathering together from all corners of the world. She uses this atlas of images as a visual score, which is the starting point for a work dedicated to universal, shared movements.
Eight dancers embody these photos and bring them to life in scenes of jubilation, demonstration, ritual, and dance. The movement vocabulary is authentic and raw. The dancers are inhabited by the memories of sites of the images and framed by the music which seems to transport us to another time. This results in a choreography that creates a very personal connection with the viewer, one of empathy.
Joanne Leighton has been exploring universal gestures over a period of years, movements we all share, no matter what society we live in, no matter what culture we grow up with. Through the repetition of images, juxtaposition and layering, the piece is like a moving cartography, the dance, although contemporary, seems to bring back ancestral gestures. These movements unite us all and form the basis of our humanity. Tender or provocative, sheltered or exposed, between chaos and immobility, their bodies give rise to a powerful physical language, both familiar and shared.
The work features a layered soundscape with music by Steve Reich, a musical composition by Peter Crosbie, along with traditional polyphonic Lithuanian songs “Sutartinės” which weave through the sinuous journey of the piece.
This piece is another creation of the French-Lithuanian contemporary dance cooperation programme “KlaipėDAnse”, which has been taking place since 2017.