Keira Martin, an independent dance artist, is making a long overdue return to Bristol in November. She’s performed in Bristol only once before, as part of Company Malaki at Harbourside Festival’s brilliant fledgling dance programme in 2008.
Keira is based in Leeds and is a contemporary Irish aerial dancer as well as a “choreographer, collaborator, performer, director, facilitator, movement director, curator, mother…with a passion for social justice”. She is inspired and influenced by heritage, her working class upbringing, politics, Ireland, identity and music.
Keira met Josh and Rosie from Bristol’s Impermanence Dance at Surf the Wave in Bournemouth in May 2019, who then invited Keira to take part in their current Impermanence Presents… showcase at Bristol Old Vic. This showcase is part of Bristol Old Vic’s autumn and winter studio season committed to “exploring the hard issues of today with the artists of tomorrow”. Keira’s Here Comes Trouble performance is part of the autumn Impermanence Presents… double bill, which also includes Roadhouse by interdisciplinary dance artist Lewys Holt on October 28.
Here Comes Trouble is the story of a woman on a journey, struggling to find an identity and belonging. “It reflects questions I have been asked all of my life – things I naively accepted as a child but I later figured out” Keira says. “I am from Barnsley, with Irish heritage, with really curly hair, and people often thought I was from the Caribbean”. Those reflections take the audience on a path through some arresting childhood memories, as well as social and cultural influences from Yorkshire, Ireland and Jamaica. “The piece is very heavy in ancestors and the women that came before me. I try to celebrate our individuality but also find what’s familiar and what we share”.
The performance includes singing, storytelling and spoken word. “I am a performance artist and dance is just part of my paint pot. Here Comes Trouble includes songs that my mum taught me and some traditional step dance, but also my own rhythms and contemporary movement – it’s not really of one category, it’s just very emotive”.
Here Comes Trouble has been on tour since 2015, starting its life at Sadler’s Wells, and was selected for the Rural Touring Dance Initiative 2017-2018. It is directed by Charlotte Vincent, who helped Keira find her voice, with a score by Jamie Roberts, who is from the same street as Keira in Barnsley, with equally curly hair. The November 24 performance may be the last time it is seen in public. “I keep saying it’s the last performance” adds Keira, “It’s quite a cathartic performance. It feels like an old friend I visit from time to time now, but I’m definitely moving on”. Keira currently has two new works in progress, which we hope she will bring to Bristol when they are ready.
Here Comes Trouble is at Bristol Old Vic’s Weston Studio, November 24 2019 at 8pm
Photo credit Joe Armitage