Copperdollar Studios welcomed Callous Affection Dance to rehearse for their upcoming showcase in Brighton. We discuss how dance creator and founder of the company, Lilian Deans Allison, interpreted the space over several weeks of rehearsals. Lilian explains the ethos behind Callous Affection and the rationale behind her creative process. Featured image by Daniella Kathoka.
Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a contemporary dance creator and performer. After coming home to Brighton after University in pursuit of collaborative and creative opportunities broadening the horizons for my company.
My company, Callous Affection Dance, is a collaborative ever-evolving and changing collective. My main aim is to explore our social relationships with each other and ourselves, through the cathartic nature of dance and shared art.
Can you tell us about the project you worked in recently at Copperdollar Studios?
I received my first ACE (Arts Council England) funding to begin the creation of our most recent work ‘Muerte Amongst Us’, which focuses on societal relationships to death/life, music/dance. Also to host the first Callous Affection Dance event, ‘Amidst’, the primary focus of which was to give emerging artists an opportunity to come together and showcase their dedication to the arts, and to bring people of all descriptions, together in the name of music and dance! During my time at Copperdollar Studios, I worked closely with Muerte amongst Us collaborator – Helen Lamb. We spent a lot of time together in the studio, bringing months of ideas to life for the first showing of our work in progress, at the showcase event Amidst.
How did you first hear about the studio space?
I walked by on my way to work and noticed the beautiful window.
What is your favourite aspect of Copperdollar Studios and what makes it different from studio spaces you’ve used previously?
Kt has been completely fantastic. She acted as an outside eye on one of our MAU rehearsals- so appreciated, and very helpful to us. The rustic yet contemporary decor helps with relaxation and inspiration when creating in the space. It tells a story of its own. It’s been a joy inviting mentor’s and outside eyes into the space, there is no end to the amount of time I could spend in these studios!
What is the philosophy of Callous Affection Dance and the history behind the dance company?
Since I’ve been creating with Callous Affection Dance, our approach has become clear to me. Our company name summarises our outlook; there is a Callous and unforgiving way in which this life gives back to us – often a lesson learned comes at a price. Ultimately CA proposes and explores a tenderness in the brutal nature of our social patterns and our individual relationships with both our selves and those around us. Self-love and acceptance is a fundamental part of a healthy happy existence, I believe, for the individual and the community. It’s become easy to hate ourselves when we find ourselves a part of such a materialistic, often judgemental and close-minded society. In order to truly self-love and celebrate we must acknowledge, explore and express both the positive and negative aspects of our society.
Where do find inspiration when creating a piece of choreography?
Callous Affection’s work usually comes from personal issues, thought processes or conversations about life had by members of the company. We notice our personal journey is often a pattern repeated after the generations that came before us, and our sociable, and personal tendencies are mirrored throughout society. We believe that exploring, sharing and accepting what happens ‘between the ears’ can be a catalyst for a positive approach to a more solid, inspired, and fruitful community.
Where could we see more of your dance work?
If you follow – Callous Affection Dance on both Instagram and Facebook, you’ll find updates on opportunities to take part in a workshop related to Muerte Amongst Us and to see further developments to the work.