Karen Lawrence

Coming Home by Karen Lawrence

Early on in my childhood I literally “In a Dream [You] Saw a Way to Survive and [You] Were Full of Joy”. Dancing. From eleven I travelled alone across town from school in Gorton to attend private dance class at the Russell Leite Theatre School on Moss Lane East. In the 30-40 minutes before class I wandered the Whitworth looking for solace, comfort and acceptance.

This durational performance is a circuit re-tracing my younger self’s steps – through the grand entrance of the Whitworth, into the galleries, out again and across the park to Moss Lane East. The performance circuit incorporates the new architectural additions to the Whitworth and so a bridge is created between past and present. The structure of the performance is improvisational, an improvisation score being decided before hand, in order to accommodate on the spot improvisations and audience interaction. My movement responses, drawn from memory and reanimated by the present, alongside text drawn from family history are reflections on my younger self; offering advice and solace to my past self this circuit of re-experiencing will sometimes quietly walk, explosively run and dance through the space whilst responding to external and internal stimuli. Spectators may see repetitive movements that echo distress, hear a snippet of the performers monologue and can follow the performer either in whole or part during the circuit.

This performance is deeply personal – exploring the expectations visited upon young Mancunian working class women in the 1970’s, the chasm of difference and grit of the individual.

I’m a native Mancunian (currently living in Cornwall) dancer, maker, educator for over two decades. Main preoccupations are our dis-connection with our natural biosphere and female experience. Recent work has been to establish a methodology of dancing with our biosphere via contact improvisation with non-humans and delivering dance to women who’ve experienced domestic violence. My longstanding work themes are the myth of patriarchal supremacy, loss, memory, site specific and dance theatre in non-usual spaces.