I cannot even consider describing what we are up to this year without looking back at the round year of 2020, still going round and round in my body, more so than my mind, as the memories of it seem fragmented and scattered around my room, my space, my home. Maybe, it should just be read as 20 / 20, a mirrored image of itself that cancels out the previously assigned content and meaning, and ends up sucking you dry of clarity and perception of time.


That’s really not how I wanted to start this blog entry. My plan was to tell you how I, in order to write about the home visits with our dancers, read through our entire blog and reminisced on the 2019’s edition of the CID Project, as well as the lockdown film titled Looking Down.

That one really hit me.

Emotionally that is. I found the words to be extremely poetic, with an immense depth of complex human emotion, yet universally relatable. There was also a particularly strong relationship between the sound and the visuals, all weaving together in order to create an artistic whole. With my voice, and Danielle’s right in there, alongside the dancers’, on the exact same plain of thought, intention and creative collaboration. But even more importantly, with the whole dance company standing together as a group of humans and friends that share the same need for connection, community, care, compassion and love. Yes, love, even in all its possible misrepresentations and complexities of subjective interpretation.

And that’s really what we want to portray in all of our work. Yes, we have spent the last couple of months visiting people with Parkinson’s, within a programme designed for dancers with Parkinson’s, but beyond that, we have been co-creating in the moment, collaborating as a group of distinct artists. And that, out artistic process and its values, is what matters to me above all else.


As you might have noticed, I’ve used the word artist to describe myself, Danielle, our team, as well as the dancers that we collaborate with (although most of them tell me that they definitely do not identify as artists, I see and feel them as such, and think that the societal definition of artistry should be drastically amended, but that’s a conversation for another day, another blog).

I still struggle with the word myself, but whenever I think about every intentional improvisation that we’ve done as part of this project, I think about the sheer power of movement artistry built around the humanity and connection of everyone present.

Now, let’s get practical.

Maybe you’re here just to find out more about the music side of our creative explorations. If so, well done for sticking with me during my narrative turns and long-sentenced side paths (this is also a story for another time, but I’m obsessed with not taking the same journey twice, if I can only avoid it. So, if I’ve gone down one road to get to the post office, I would prefer to take another one on the way back, and thus walk in a circle, rather than on a line – seeing more, experiencing more, to not become set in my ways? Is that why I struggle with habits?).

What I brought to every home visit is my vocal looper, portable speaker, mic, and a setlist. The setlist comprised of pieces that I’ve previously improvised during the online dance sessions, and felt  particular and consistent enough to support a movement exercise. I would use these at the beginning of our dancing, mostly during the warm-ups, in order to create a sound link between the experience of the online Zoom space, and now the dancer’s home space (which, for them, might have been the same room, just that now, Danielle and I (as well as the mics, cameras and additional dance artists) are actually standing in their living room, rather than living in a small square somewhere on their computer screen),

This is also when I started to introduce an element of live singing, and slowly amped-up the live resonance as necessary. A human voice coming from a speaker is of course very different to a human voice singing towards you from a meter’s distance. Throughout the process, I could feel the effect of my resonating body in the movement of theirs, and tried to approach that relationship with a large degree of subtlety and openness.

As the choreography was developed, I too transitioned to sometimes improvising live pieces on the vocal looper, and sometimes sticking with my setlist, while bringing my live performance closer and closer to the action, still behind the camera, but much closer to the dancing.

Side note, once you’ll be able to see some of our BTS (behind the scenes) footage, you’ll find my chin sometimes almost leaning on Pav’s (our videographer) shoulder, almost glued to him as he tries to move alongside the improvised movements. This concept of closeness and intimacy is so important to my process, and follows the larger evolution of my role within the project – from a piano accompanist and singer that sits outside of the dance circle, to a sporadic facilitator that sometimes journeys towards the participants, to a vocal improviser that is always where the action is.

If you’re a (community) musician, I urge you to investigate this relationship for yourself and find different places and placements from where you can appropriately support whoever you’re working with through your sound, music, attention and presence. 

Returning to the dancer’s homes, our intention was always to end the movement part of the visit with a couple of live improvisations that would feature me singing without the looper, creating solo voice pieces on the spot. The way in which I convinced myself that I might be able to do this, was to acknowledge that I can always add layers to my initial improvisations later on, thus not feeling like I had to sing all the parts all the time. I could start the piece by singing a percussion part, then change to an interlocking rhythmical pattern, then to the melody, and so on.

Why this worked and why I enjoy doing it so much is sometimes beyond my understanding, but there is definitely a rush of adrenaline, connection and life’s creative force associated with live collaborative improvisation. It’s what you search for as a performer and artist, and you just know when a piece has worked. There is a palpable feel of thick creative energy that surrounds the improvisation, as well as the air around all participants (and audience), even after a piece has organically finished, and we’re all trying to do our best not to scream and clap out of pure glee.

I think that maybe one day, science will be able to measure this energy and trace its motions. But, it’s also very possible that that is just beyond the human capabilities and something that is meant to remain at least a partial mystery. Something to be felt and lived through, rather than understood.

As much as that feels like the right approach, I really cannot stop myself from trying to capture this elusive quality of creativity and co-creation. I think there is so much value and capacity for transformation and change when experiencing this degree of compassionate and intentional attention placed firstly on oneself, and then on another human, process, or element of the natural world. These are the values that sustain us and allow us to evolve our perceptions and ways of being, which can then naturally adjust and inspire our ways of living.

As Leslie said in the closing of the Looking Down, a lockdown film: “When memories fade, will we go back to our old ways?”

Jaka Škapin