In a time where live performances are scarce, art is are now consumed online in the virtual sphere. We are seeing artists exercising their creativity in a different way to continue to entertain audiences with their craft. Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Dance Company have collaborated to bring you Cuatro, a four-episode series that tests the creativity and skills of dancers and musicians as they respond to each other in isolation.
The result is a breathtaking moment of pure musical expression on both sides. Sydney Dance Company dancer Juliette Barton features in the third episode of Cuatro with musician Sydney Symphony Orchestra Principal Cello Umberto Clerici performing the Sarabande from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major. We asked Juliette a few of our burning questions about staying creative in isolation and what inspires her:
How does being in isolation change what you create?
At the beginning of the lockdowns, I initially desired to create uplifting and inspiring content. The longer it went on, the more a deep longing to get back to a sense of normalcy grew within me, and the more sombre the feeling inside became. As a dancer, I yearn to move, to dance, to connect with myself through physical expression. For me dance is cathartic and as I got deeper into isolation, I found myself wanting to connect with and express an emptiness that was growing within.
What do you want audiences to take away from watching you?
If my audience stops and takes a moment for self-reflection upon watching Cuatro 3, that would be wonderful. So much has changed in our world and in my life personally, and it can at times be a scramble to keep up. Taking a moment for honest self-reflection can be challenging, but also rewarding and I hope my performance can inspire my audience to do that.
What did you draw on for inspiration in Cuatro 3?
The cello has always been one of my favourite instruments, so I am deeply grateful to have danced to Umberto Clerici’s soulful playing. When I dance to the cello it’s like I can feel it in my body, as though the bow connecting to the strings is happening inside me. I love performing with this sensation because it is visceral, and it connects me to my emotions which can be a cathartic experience.
How long have you been dancing and what has been a highlight in your career?
I have been dancing for 30 years and I have been professionally dancing for 15 of those. I have had incredible highs in my career, but I am deeply proud of my efforts to return to the stage after giving birth. The task seemed like an impossible mountain at the time and with sheer grit, I climbed it.
What are your tips for staying creative during this time?
Listen and respond. Listen to where you are at, at any given moment, respond by doing something. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece but creating in whatever capacity, has a tendency to heal. It can help the passing of a strange time feel more bearable and even fruitful.
Find episode 1-4 of Cuatro here