I’m a dance artist & laughter leader based between London & Suffolk.
I graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2010 and was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder in my late twenties. Since then I have been on a quest to identify activities that buoy me.
When my mood plummeted in Spring 2020 lockdown I began cultivating a personal laughter practice inspired by a London Clown School exercise and my experience of Guy Dartnell’s ‘Voic(e)motion’ work. Relief, intrigue and necessity stoked my curiosity and further research led me to becoming a Laughter Yoga leader through a training with United Mind. Laugh Time With Flora classes & workshops have been running for 2+ years now and they are a boon in regular’s lives – and mine!
‘It’s basically a gateway drug to self-love.’ – Lekan, Writer & Director, Laugh Time participant
‘I can honestly say a Laugh Time fix twice a week has helped keep me sane. Flora’s imaginative ideas are limitless.’ – Fran, Retired, carer for her husband, Laugh Time participant
‘I began attending the class because the idea of laughing as a formal activity got me curious. I keep coming back because it is always fun, always unexpected, and always cathartic – I am moved by the experience every time.‘ – Yelena, Artist, Laugh Time participant
I’m at a threshold where I wish to bridge my teaching and performing practices, passionate about supporting myself & others into more hopeful, sensuous, wonder-filled & confident relationships with our bodies, our selves & one another. I agree with Madeleine L’Engle’s belief that ‘I am still every age that I have been’ (A Circle of Quiet). I want to create more opportunities for people to nurture their younger selves and their creativity by democratising play and performance.
I have been working across domestic, community, university & workplace settings as well as teaming up with STUDIO SOMA to share my practice with both professional and non-professional performers. Participants include dance artists, students, artists, retirees, professionals working from home, adults with learning disabilities, carers, young people, kids and families.
‘When you laugh, you change, and when you change, the world changes.’ – Dr Madan Kataria, medical doctor and Founder of Laughter Yoga clubs worldwide
SOLO PERFORMANCE PRACTICE
As a solo artist, I’ve been making bold, exuberant and intimate multi-modal work since 2012, supported variously by DanceEast, Sadler’s Wells, Chisenhale Dance Space & Villa Lena Art Foundation (Italy).
Sorbet du Soir was an improvised solo performance series that toured in London in 2012-13. Praised for its ‘fetching, visceral wit’ (The Times) and described as ‘mercurial, evanescent, yet always in control’ (BELLYFLOP Magazine), Sorbet made appearances at Lilian Baylis Studio, Giant Olive pub theatre, LONDON TOPOPHOBIA & The Albert arts centre.
Between 2014-17 I staged, videoed and shared a series of Selfie Dances improvising in public spaces to choice musical tracks. The Weather Inside came to fruition over a month-long residency at Villa Lena Art Foundation in Tuscany in September 2017. This body of live performances, photographic portraits, video works & writing came out of my desire to externalise my seasonal interiority.
In 2019 I appeared as a ‘The Vision of Dance’ in Hugo Glendinning & Tilly Shiner’s magical-realist documentary Second Self Beethoven Resurrection, ‘a mind bending musical journey with Ludvig van Beethoven through Brexit night london’. The film premiered in September 2020 at Kunstfestspiele Hannover, the written score by Sami El-Enany played live by The Orchestra Musica Assoluta, accompanied by the Second Self Band.
Hugo & I first fleetingly worked together in 2016 with Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion on one of 52 Portraits commissioned by Sadler’s Wells. To watch the short gestural portrait of me that we made together, go here.
GROUP PERFORMANCE PRACTICES
My history performing open & scored improvisation extends back to peer collaborations directing Trumpet Creepers Improvisation Ensemble (2008-12) and creating ‘meanwhile dances’ & installations with Hiru Dance (2009-12). We orchestrated dance performances in galleries, street festivals, theatres, community halls, pubs, shopping centres and rooftop sculpture parks with the support of Hannah Barry Gallery, IdeasTap, Somewhere_To, Big Dance Week & ACE.
Freelance projects over the past 12 years have included: dancing for choreographers Simonetta Alessandri, Seke Chimutengwende, Jamila Johnson-Small, Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, Florence Peake and Robbie Synge; working with visual artists Yelena Zhelezov, Ed Fornieles, William Hunt and Eddie Peake; appearing in films by Hugo Glendinning & Tilly Shiner, and Grace Schwindt, and live art works by Richard DeDomenici; acting in Lost Text/Found Space productions; and doing collaborative performance research with artists Kira O’Reilly, Guy Dartnell & Evy Jokhova.
Alongside my work as an independent dance artist, I co-direct Nora. Originally a double act, Nora is now the trio of dancers Eleanor Sikorski, Stephanie McMann & myself – three friends who have been dancing together with zeal, humour and love for over a decade. Thanks to the commitment of commissioners Sadler’s Wells, DanceEast & ACE, Nora has been joining forces with some of the most respected choreographers in the world to create brand new programmes of work since 2015. We’ve worked with Liz Aggiss, Simon Tanguy, Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion, Deborah Hay, and Eleanor Bauer. Our shows have toured nationally & internationally to over 25 venues & festivals, gaining us a reputation for our theatrical & comedic flair and taste for working with superb dance-makers with niche appeal.
Nora’s pieces have been described as ‘hugely disparate, their moods ranging from jovial to irreverent to tranquil’ (Fjord Review). What unifies ‘the experimentally hungry Nora’ (Dance Tabs) is the fact we’re ‘intellectually curious, funny and rude, possessed of chameleon stage talents and a taste for risk’ (The Guardian).
Nora is currently in the process of producing Nora Reels, a documentary series about the often hidden work of performers. We are also preparing for the premiere of Nora the Many, a dance film made in collaboration with choreographer Eleanor Bauer, composer Zeena Parkins, and sound recorder & editor Michael Picknett (Sadler’s Wells, Autumn 2022).
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View my solo video work on Vimeo
Contact me at: floramww [at] gmail.com