Holly Blakey is not your typical choreographer, until now she has choreographed videos for the likes of Florence and The Machine, Everything Everything and fashion videos for Dior, Gucci and Paul Smith. Holly describers her dance style as ‘how things look when it’s 4am’ and her first live show, ‘Some Greater Class’ reflects this perfectly. We caught up with her to chat music videos, yoga and touring with Florence before ‘Some Greater Class’ arrives on Mon 16 & Tue 17 October.
What can audiences expect from your show Some Greater Class?
An in your face, punk experience that brings you to ask deeper questions about contemporary performance and it’s context.
The work draws on my perceived music video music vocabulary to ask deeper questions about social connectivity and who is deserving of art and why.
How does choreographing a live show differ from a music video?
It means that you have to imagine that the stage is a screen rather than the camera is another dancing limb. That’s how I think of it.
I have always made work for live contexts as well as screen contexts and played one off the other. The live experience gives you something that a camera never can – that is the immediate response from a body right in front of you, in the flesh. As I wanted to talk about social connectivity, it made the most sense to create an experience that allows a performer to respond to the audience and vice versa. By social connectivity I mean the way we treat each other and the way we choose to engage with one another – that’s where this work came from.
What is a typical day for you like?
Each day is so different. I embrace working across different platforms, if that’s shooting a film for Dior or talking with other choreographers at Yorkshire Dance as I am doing today. When I am travelling around the world, the most important constant is yoga, I always try and take class where ever I am. The other thing I always have with me is my iTunes. It’s really important to carve out time in the studio with just me. Remembering people from home and experiences – that’s what inspires me to make work wherever I am.
When in London, every single day I set my alarm at 6.30am, I feed my cats and I put on coffee. I check my emails and listen to Radio Four. Then rehearsals, meetings, whatever the day needs.
Why is it important for this work to be seen?
I am really passionate about breaking beyond the London-centric dance formula, especially being from Yorkshire myself, I know the world doesn’t stop at the M25! Putting the work in front of audiences around the UK and seeing their responses is so exciting to me.
What has been your favourite artist / project you have worked on?
Truthfully, the things I have worked on that I have treasured the most haven’t been the biggest or the most glamorous jobs. It’s often the spaces where you are given the most creative control, and feel the most enriched having done so. Developing my own artistic work is about me claiming that space for myself.
What has been the best experience of you career so far?
Getting to travel to so many places. Shooting in India was incredible – it was wildly chaotic, about 100 dancers. Then of course touring with Florence and the Machine to performing Some Greater Class in Berlin in a warehouse club to 5,000 people.
Some Greater Class comes to The Lowry Mon 16 – Tue 17 October. More information and tickets can be found on our website here or by calling box office on 0843 208 6000.