INTERVIEW: LIZZIE J KLOTZ | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Camilla Greenwell

“My aim is to create work that my granddad could watch, but also that a professional contemporary dancer would also engage with,” Lizzie J Klotz explains. “I really, really don’t want people to be scared of it!” Audiences witnessing her work are more likely to be entranced than afraid. The Northumberland-born, Newcastle-based performer and choreographer creates work that challenges common perceptions surrounding contemporary dance by combining performance, film, music and text in a dynamic blend she calls “dance-theatre.”

For her upcoming triple bill at Dance City on Saturday 26th May, she’s presenting some of her boldest yet most accessible work in a digestible hour-long run. “Presenting the mundane or the obvious in a way that is theatrical, zooming in on the details,” she explains. In recent times she’s also expanded her thematic horizons, “[I’m] interested in exploring gender politics and norms, and breaking them down.” All of these aspects come together within the triple bill: To Suit draws comparisons between birds’ courtship rituals and our own, Fawn explores issues surrounding pleasing, while the film Dancing With My Dad considers her own relationship with her father.

Collaboration rests close to the heart of this multi-disciplinary approach, with Klotz forming connections with the likes of dramaturg Rosa Postlethwaite, who worked with her on Fawn, and visual art collective Cooking With Three, as well as being involved in the Random Acts scheme at Tyneside Cinema. She believes her collaborative approach provides a fresh perspective on the world. “I enjoy working with other people,” she says, “I enjoy hearing about their stories and learning skills that are not within my current skill-set.”

The power of contemporary dance is that you can flip it on its head, and people can say ‘I can see myself in that and that’s what I do’

She even extends this collaboration to her own dad, who stars alongside her in Dancing With My Dad. In the process of developing the deeply personal and human tale, Klotz found the experience of training and performing with her dad rekindled a previously lost connection. “Even though we were super physical when I was growing up, that relationship didn’t exist for me anymore,” she explains, “so actually we had a really interesting process exploring and rebuilding that.”

Humour provides another way in which Klotz aims to connect with the audience. To Suit’s comparisons between animals and people is, as she puts it, “really silly”. “There’s a playfulness to it. I’d say my work’s quite fun in many ways, I want people to laugh. I’m not so good at making jokes in real life but I can definitely make people laugh gently on stage!” She sees the playful aspects of dance as the catalyst for bringing out the unique aspects of relatable, mundane moments: “The power of contemporary dance is that you can flip it on its head, and people can say ‘I can see myself in that and that’s what I do’.”

Klotz is set to delve into human behaviour once again on her debut full-length production, currently titled This is a show about Lying. As befitting a performance that’s set to look at telling tall tales “from the epic to the everyday,” she’s pushing the boundaries of her work even more. “I’m interested in exploring the idea of a vaudeville cabaret show and there being a series of acts that explore this theme,” she says. As she continues to explore new mediums, her show at Dance City will make it even easier to develop human connections with Klotz’s work.

Fawn and other works – Trailer from Lizzie J Klotz on Vimeo.

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