Show and Tell #14 - Emma Jayne Park

emma jayne park
25 September 2017

Emma Jayne Park is the choreographer of ‘It’s Not Over Yet’ - a part of 2Faced Dance Company’s 'Outlands' performance.

Carrying the innate values of hip hop culture whilst exploring new territories in dance theatre, Emma Jayne Park makes socio-political performances and installations as a catalyst for deepening discussion and encouraging social change.  'High octane... energetic, witty and playful', (The Skinny) her practice asks the audience to engage through questioning their own norms and role in the performance; illustrated significantly in #thesolofilter, a process in which Emma invites artists, audiences and critics to remake her work into the piece they wish they had seen. After graduating from Edinburgh's Telford College with a First Class BA Hons in Dance, Emma furthered her training at DNA Manhattan with practitioners such as Lynn Simonson, Douglas Dunn and Diane McCarthy. Returning to Scotland to undertake an apprenticeship with Company Chordelia, Emma has since worked with a variety of practitioners such as Conflux (Ricardo Puccetti/ Patrick Nolan), Ocean All Over, Angus Balbernie, Norman Douglas, Freshmess, Barrowland Ballet and Gary Clarke. Committed to developing her creative voice, Emma has travelled across Europe learning intensively from practitioners such as Alan Greig, Ivo Dimchev, Katie Duck, Rasmus Olme, David Gordon, Liz Lerman, Nicole Piesl and Alva Noe, supported by Creative Scotland and the Choreographic Futures programme. Further receiving mentorship from Christine Devaney, Jonzi D and Jonathan Burrows through the choreographic development initiatives of Breakin’ Convention. Founding her company Cultured Mongrel as a means to impact the sector beyond simply touring work, she brings together unique combinations of artists to generate original concepts for touring, participation and challenging existing infrastructures. Known for touring anywhere with a double plug socket, Emma works equally in urban and rural environments with people from a diverse range of backgrounds. Emma is currently Associate Artist with the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival and was named one of ASSITEJ’s Next Generation 2016.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Everyone around me having the space, time and resources to enjoy their everyday lives in a healthy and sustainable way… and as cliché as it may sound, being beside or preferably IN the sea, regardless of the weather.

What lies at the heart of your own desire to do your creative work?
I have questions about the way I experience the world and I am curious about the questions other people have.  From performance work to community initiatives I aim to encourage people to vocalise these questions and explore how they contribute to society by staging work that reframes what we perceive as brave, human and successful.

What are the first things you do in developing an idea in response to a subject?
This depends hugely on the subject and the people who the work is being developed for but generally my work has an underlying social aim so it is important to get into a studio and physicalise the images or ideas I have to see if they work.  I firmly believe in using the approach that communicates most effectively so it is important to see if it is possible to reach the full potential of the work with dance alone.  If I can represent the idea better using another medium (for example clowning as used in Experts In Short Trousers) then I have to find some way of training that form before making the work.

What’s your favourite film and why?
Eeeek!  This is tough… Labyrinth (closely followed by The Mummy, Dante’s Peak and Jurassic Park!)  They are all the right kind of trashy and come with a healthy amount of nostalgia but as a child I grew up with Bowie, loved fantasy and love the fashion of it all and, in hindsight, loved watching a young female protagonist.  I am fairly strong willed so the line ‘you have no power over me’ is one that always makes me punch the air.

Choose 1, 2 or 3 of your all-time favourite music tracks.
Eeeek!  Another VERY tough question, I’m pretty eclectic but the following three always put a smile on my face.
1. Jamie T – If You Got The Money
2. Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody
3. Fourtet – Glassbeadgames

From your favourite poem – could you give us a few lines that mean something to you?
    “You do not have to be good.     You do not have to walk on your knees     For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.     You only have to let the soft animal of your body     love what it loves.”
                (Mary Oliver, Wild Geese)

If you were to die and come back as a person, animal or a thing, what would it be?
Erm…. Thing?  One of those piano’s in train stations.  You get to make an amazing     sound, help people colour the gaps in their day and meet loads of different people in the     middle of a journey.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Trainers or Adidas Original Clothing.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Connecting with people and building things.             
Hope that everyone can be content.                                                                             

Being totally caught up in the moment.

Which artwork/film/book has most inspired you?
Candy Chang ‘Before I Die…’

Favourite website/blog?
Truthfully, I am pretty fickle with anything on a screen… the thing I respond to most is reading the comments sections of online news articles.  I don’t always like it to but I never sicken of it!

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Water, fresh air, sleep and food. (My Dad whenever I am too excited, stressed or frustrated!)

Piece of equipment you can’t live without?
A notebook and range of coloured pens.

Best recent read?
It’s All Allowed: The Performance Works of Adrian Howells

What is your final word?
Why not?!