Critics’ Circle National Dance Award Recipient Harry Alexander talks about starring in ‘how did we get here?’ to play at Sadler’s Wells

Courtesy of Camilla Greenwell.

Dance offers a vital platform to explore the abstract – ideas, beliefs, questions amongst other things that we hold. A connection between the physical and non-physical world, the existential takes centre stage. An exploration of the question – how did we get here? Choreographer Jules Cunningham in collaboration with award winning dancer Harry Alexander and Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm present a new dance work of the same name pondering our very existence. Ahead of the show, which will take place from the 19th to 29th January at Sadler’s Wells, Harry tells us more about the show’s themes, creating the show and what audiences can expect!

Hi Harry, you’ll be performing in dance work how did we get here? from the 19th to 29th January. How are you feeling ahead of the run?

I’m really looking forward to audiences being able to watch this rather special show. I think there are obviously nerves buzzing around, as there are with any production ahead of opening night, but it’s all from a positive place. Rehearsals have been going well and I’m feeling quietly confident that it will be well received.

With seating surrounding the stage, how did we get here? Presents a constellation of three distinctive performers, creating a space to collide, drawing on personal and universal questions – particularly the show’s title. How have you found exploring the show’s deep questions?

The question in the title can be applied to most situations but on a personal and performance level something we have spoken quite a bit about in the studio is that our bodies can hold the answer. Our experiences, things we have lived through and learnt, both positive and negative, are held in our bodies. In physical muscle memory or being able to connect to feelings subconsciously. Having the space to be able to accept, celebrate and share this in the studio and soon to our audiences is a humbling experience.

The piece sees you work with choreographer Jules Cunningham and performer Melanie Chisholm. How have you all worked together to realise the show?

It has been a really lovely and open working environment. We often have time and space to talk. We discuss how something in the piece feels, we chat about shared training experiences or even how we feel on a day to day basis. I think having this openness and respect for each other’s feelings have really helped form the work.

You were the recipient of the ‘Best Emerging Artist’ at the 2017 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. Six years on from this, what does this accolade mean to you?

At the time it was a really lovely and unexpected acknowledgment of hard work and being lucky enough to work with who I was working with. But perhaps now I appreciate it more artistically. Being seen to not only portray and embody a choreographer’s ideas but to do it whilst being myself as an artist.

What have you learned/taken away from creating the piece?

Being so exposed, three people being seen from all sides, it’s easy to worry that maybe you’re not doing enough or doing it well enough. To warrant being watched. And I think I’ve learnt calmness. Quietness. That less really can be more. You don’t have to show too much for someone to be able to connect to what you are doing. The details are there to be seen and sometimes that’s more powerful than potentially over demonstrating movement.

What can audiences expect from the production?

A thoughtful and moving evening. Three very different people being able to connect through shared experiences in one special performance.

What would you like for audiences to take away from the production?

I’d like audiences to come away from how did we get here? feeling lighter. The title has endless answers and we can’t answer all of them in one evening of dance, but I’d like to think we start the ball rolling in a gentle, persuasive way.

Julie Cunningham & Company’s how did we get here? will show at Sadler’s Wells from Thursday 19th to Sunday 29th January 2023. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop