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AIR

There is a wild spirit in the air. It lives above me and around me, below me and inside me. I cannot live without it, and so I welcome it into my home, into my body, into the air that I breathe. Sometimes the spirit is angry, and we might become angry with it. With every breath, it howls and the ground beneath my feet freezes and thunder echoes somewhere across the horizon. Its spine is crooked, and its wings are made of bone. When it walks, I hear teeth chattering as the sound of feathers brush up against ancient willow trees. There is a storm coming and it is calling for me to join it.

EARTH

There is a wild spirit in this earth, in the dirt and stones that my bare feet walk on. There is a wild spirit whose skin is porous, who is formed of the leaves and the bark that fall and birth over and over again. When it sleeps I might mistake it for a rock, but underneath that rock a wild horse awakens. As it gallops towards me, a whirlwind of scratching sound is heard along the forest bed. Plants grow from the land that its hair touches, leaving the gift of life in the etches it leaves behind. It buries me when I am ready to depart this life, and it gives me the food that I need to survive. It cares for me in the best of times, and it cares for me in the worst of times. I am its child, and it calls upon me now.

FIRE

There is a wild spirit that sleeps in the embers of flames, beneath the soil and the roots, beneath the rocks and the sea. It burns hot and sometimes it burns even hotter. When the land cracks open too wide, it emerges from its slumber, and it destroys. It swallows anything and everything in its path and laughs in doing so. Not from malice or evil, but of necessity and desire. If it wasn’t for the spirit, there would be no life, and there would be no balance. And so, I have learnt to sacrifice in its honour, to keep it at bay, praying that it spares me in the wake of its path. There are times when I have fooled myself that I have mastered the skill to keep it caged, to keep it small, but it is not small, and it cannot be tamed, but it can be loved. It is time that I visit it one more time.

WATER

There is a wild spirit in the sea. It is heavy and it is long and extends over vast stretches of this planet. It shapes stone into form and mirrors the sky whether or not I believe its colours to be truth. I am made of it and from it, it envelopes me at birth and it drains out of me in my final sleep. There will come a day when its flooding will show no mercy, for it will no longer be able to hold the world’s weight under its tender skin. Sometimes it wishes this fate to be different, but that which melts into it can no longer be found, will be reversed, and shall not be unwritten. And so the day has come for me to let this spirit tell me its story of life and of death, of birth and rebirth, of how this will end and how it will all begin again.

Artistic Direction: Stefan Jovanović
Artistic Collaborators & Cast: Maëva Berthelot, Shannon Stewart, Yen-Ching Lin & Makiko Aoyama
Music Composition & Performance: Kenichi Iwasa & Maxwell Sterling
Set Design: Jack Hardy
Costume Design: Curtis Oland
Dramaturgy: Eva Martinez

Outside Eye: Katye Coe
Photography: Camilla Greenwell

With thanks to original cast from the research and development period: Katye Coe, Ophelia Young, Shannon Stewart & Maëva Berthelot.

Research, development and creation supported using public funding by Arts Council England and seed-funding from Dance4 Nottingham, DanceXchange Birmingham and Déda Derby. Premiere co-commissioned by Sadler’s Wells London and Birmingham International Dance Festival.

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