NOISE is a raw and intimate immersive performance for Deaf and hearing audiences, which takes a sensory dive into different perceptions of noise inspired by the lived experiences of the performers as people who don’t conform to social norms set up by ableism and heteronormativity.
Ahead of the performance, we sat down with choreographer Neus Gil Cortes and dancer Tommaso Petrolo to find out more about the work.
Q: Hi both! Tell us about yourselves and how you got to where you are.
Neus: I’m a choreographer and dramaturg. Previous to setting up Nua Dance in 2015 I worked as a dancer for Hofesh Shechter Company and National Dance Company Wales, as well as a freelancer with Protein amongst others. As a choreographer my main interest is that audiences recognise the feelings and states they see on stage as something deep and familiar, that it moves them, and that they feel represented. That’s why I’m interested in widening the pool of performers. You can’t aim to have a diverse audience if you don’t have diverse artists involved in the production.
Tommaso: I am a dance artist and choreographer based in London and have been working for Nua Dance for about 3 years in close collaboration wit Neus. I am currently working for Neus as well for other choreographers as a performer, vocal artist and rehearsal director. I am a vivid creator and a very enthusiastic collaborator; I love visionary and ambitious works that defy rules, challenge minds and change the world.
Q: What’s the process been like making NOISE?
Neus: The great thing about the process of making NOISE is that we have had two R&D, we have made a film, and we have now created the immersive experience. All the different teams and iterations have brought a new development, giving us time to refine what we were looking for and the physical and visual aspects of it.
It has also been the most collaborative process I have led, and that makes it feel more genuine to me. The scenes you see on the show are all inspired by real experiences or feelings the dancers and myself have had of “noise” (as an idea, not in the strictly sound-related sense of the word). And as such, they stemmed quite naturally in the research process.
I’m also very excited about the immersive aspect of it. From the beginning I wanted the audiences to have a physical experience of it, not just visual, as noise is not something you can detach from and watch from the distance.
Q: Tell us about the SUBPAC technology and want it’s been like having D/deaf and hearing dancers work together?
Neus: SUBPAC is a fantastic vibro-tactile technology that Deaf dancer Chris Fonseca introduced us to. It’s a backpack that vibrates with the music (intensity and frequency) and contributes to making the experience even more immersive. It’s a feeling similar to being next to a 2 metre-high bass speaker in a club. We are offering it to Deaf audiences that might want to feel the beat more intensely.
Having Deaf and hearing dancers work together has been an amazing experience. I think it’s made everyone in the room be a bit more attentive to each other, respect each other’s timings, get out of themselves and ensure there is genuine connection, and that we are all on the same page.
I also think dancers, and artists in general, are people that are curious about the life experiences of others. I myself have always been interested in learning form people that come from different paths of life than me, so I think we have all been enriched by that sharing of each others’ perspectives.
How do others feel noise? What is noise to them?
Neus Gil Cortes
Q: NOISE is an immersive experience. How does this help bring the audience into the work?
Tommaso: We felt that because of the inclusive aspect of the work as well as the inherent immersive nature of sound itself, an immersive experience would be the most appropriate to stimulate all senses for the audience and create a variety of stimuli enough to cover not only any level on the spectum of deafness but also leave space for the audience to experience something beyond the visuals, a work that they could move through just like we all move through sound and space.
Q: In your own words, how does noise feel?
Neus: The main characteristic of anything we refer to as “noise” is that is overpowering, that it takes over any other feelings or sensations. Noise is demanding, can’t be ignored, is the opposite of passivity. We often think of noise as uncomfortable, but in my opinion the uncomfortable is not necessarily bad, it can bring change, question things we took for guaranteed, get us out of our comfort zone.
It’s also interesting to think: How do others feel noise?What is noise to them? The people we encounter are not a blank canvas, their experience is not necessarily our experience. NOISE brings together three very different people and we can follow their stories as they intertwine and break away.