Maya Bodiley – “Speaking in Tongues”

Sunday morning 13th June 2021 via Zoom

Devon born and raised, Maya spoke to us from her sunny, white room in Blackheath, London, while some audience members enjoyed the sunshine outside in the park! Maya introduced her dance film by telling us about her experiences of following a year of her dance degree in Portugal. She had thought there would be English medium instruction: she was wrong!

The situation she found herself in started Maya off on a series of thoughts and reflections. How we communicate universally without using words at all: the language of movement, expression and gesture. This exploration of a different form of communication led her to creating a film with one Portuguese and one Catalan dancer, set in an arid area in Northern Spain.

Not only did she choreograph the hour-long dance, but she also filmed it. And for us, in our Deep Roots Festival, she edited it down to 11 minutes and 42 seconds! What a lot of work – and how privileged we felt to host the première of Maya’s film. Her uncle Stephen Kent, another Devonian, provided the sound-script: intriguing and other worldly digeridoo music, which perfectly matched the unearthly setting of the film and its fascinating exploration of mind and body, movement and communication.

Maya was keen to collect the audience’s response to the film so the Q & A session that followed was further research for her! The discussion ranged from the use of colour in the film, to details about the setting and the reactions and emotions on watching. One of the joys of the film was making connections, creating story, travelling with the dancers physically and emotionally across the extraordinary terrain – and concluding that the ultimate message of the film was: “together we are stronger”.

In the last ten minutes of Maya’s presentation, the audience enjoyed her workshop: deep relaxation followed by waking up different parts of our upper body (this was on Zoom after all!) and working out how many ways we could move our hands and fingers to convey different meanings. For a few minutes we felt like real dancers – like Montse and Lorenzo in Maya’s film.

MAC (ADSM supporter)