BBG Presents: Edward Lloyd

14 March 2014

In our latest instalment of BBG Presents, we bring to you dancing extraordinaire and choreographer Edward Lloyd. Not only a dancer, he also has an eye for detail and fashion, styling alongside some serious talent.

As lovers of dance, we are excited to share this beautiful and fluid monochromatic film that encapsulate's Edward's true love of dancing, something that undeniably comes natural to him. Shot by Eve Sainsbury, a photographer whom Edward dances alongside, the pair collaborated to create a breathtaking masterpiece. Inspired by rehearsels, they took a raw and unplanned approach - creating a beautiful representation of their passion. Set in a warehouse, an infilitration of sunglight follows Edward as he intricately moves through his surroundings. The accompanying soundtrack 'Colomb' by Nicolas Jaar came from the depths of the dancer's favourite playlist. Turning his ipod on to shuffle to create a truly unplanned approach, he synchronised his body to the music.
At just 22 years old Edward has already travelled across the world to Tokyo and the States with his dancing. He is now settling with the Dancing For York project for the next few months, endeavoruing into contemporary ballet for his next set of performances.
Hi Ed! Tell us about more about yourself.
My name is Ed and I am a ballet and contemporary dancer. I started dancing when I was 8 years old, doing Ballroom and Latin. I also did gymnastics, and things went from there. I was the only boy and I had never done ballet before, so I was like 'No, I don't want to go back, I'm not doing it", but my mum kind of convinced me to do it. She was like 'No, go back, you might like it' , and I did, so then I just kept going. I actually started ballet quite late, I was 15. In two years I managed to get to a standard where I could apply for professional schools. So I did, although initially I always wanted to be a fashion designer. Throughout school and college I was really focusing on fashion. I applied for Fashion at the same time as I applied for Dance Schools and I actually got onto some fashion courses, as well as the dance courses. It ended up being big decision time! It was like: here I am, 17 years old, making this big decision. At the time it made sense to dance first whilst I was young.
Is Fashion something you think you will return to?
I do, yes! I've been working in fashion a little bit, mainly styling and assisting, which has been fun. I'm really enjoying it, but at the moment I still feel that I want to push my dance even further.
Do you think you growing up in different cultures has inspired your dance?
Yes, I have lived all over, and I definitely think it's shaped me as a person. I think it's the sense of being in a different culture, but it was very confined as I grew up with my Mum on a compound. So as a kid I guess you have to use your imagination and think 'What is outside of the walls?'.
Your movement in the video is really fluid. What inspired the movement and choreography?
When I was training at Rambard it was very rigid ballet dancing. Everything was really regimental and had to be exactly where it was supposed to be. Then one day, I think it was in second year, a teacher came in and she was like 'Right, we're going to teach you the Gaga technique'.
Gaga technique? Like Lady Gaga?
Nothing to do with Lady Gaga, haha! The Gaga technique originated in Israel, and was invented by this guy called Ohad Naharin. It's a technique where you use different imagery and forms. The teacher will sort of shout things out to you, like sandwater, and you use the imagery in your head to translate it into the way your body moves. So if it was water, you would move like you were in water, or you try to imagine it. The thought process behind it effects the way you move your muscles, which in turn then effects your movement. We did this, and that completely changed my way of moving. I discovered this whole way of moving into new places and in new ways. Like 'my arm can actually go there and I can move it in this way'. Even a really simple movement, you could do it really fast, or really slow. It really made me think about dynamics. What I'm doing in the video is very losely based on Gaga technique. Most of the movement I'm doing in there is improvised. I just went in on the day, put the music on then you imagine these different images and move to them.
So dancing comes very naturally to you?
Yeah, I would say! It kind of always has, dance was always something that I did. It just came naturally I guess.
Movement and interaction between the music in dance is important.
How do you feel about the music you dance to?
I guess the first decision you need to make as a dancer with the music is whether it's a heavy beat or smooth and fluid. You can make a concious decision to go with that, or you could go completely against it and do the opposite to what the music is telling you. We are also taught in school that if you are dancing to a piece of music, and your movements match your music, it is like you are playing the music through your body. So a high note, a sudden note or a smooth note - the dynamics of what you are doing should reflect the music.
What is your favourite song to dance to?
It really depends on my mood! If I'm feeling really funky - it's really cliche - but I love a bit of Beyonce. If she comes on in the club, I just like go for it. But in terms of contemporary the kind of music I love is really easy music, like Nicolas Jaar. Modern classic is really nice to dance too as well. There is also a really nice composer called Max Richter, and another called Oliver Arnolds. That kind of music all inspires me to move.
There is a lot of beautiful light in the video - does light inspire the way you dance?
I think that's a photography question, haha! The photographer who shot the video really wanted natural light. The scenes where I'm dancing against the wall in shadows was her idea. This then made me think about the way I was moving, because of the shadow being projected onto the wall. Even in terms of stage performance I think light is really important - you could be doing the simplest movement within the floodlight, but if it was a spotlight it would change the mood immediately.
I think lighting is almost like a costume.
Yeah, absolutely! Like, if you put a spotlight on top of someone, you see the muscle definition and the shadows, but if it's flat light it's not the same. Whenever I've choreographed things for school I always use a spotlight.
Do you feel like you could be an inspiration to future generations of dancers?
I hope so. At the moment I'm focusing on dance, but I would really like to get back into fashion. When I do, I would want to find a way of combining both dance and fashion. I think there is a lot of dance and fashion things going on, but nothing combines them both equally. I guess they just haven't really figured that out yet.
What emotions do you experience when you dance?
I wouldn't say dancing for me is emotional, but it's where I feel most comfortable. If I'm in the studio and moving around, it's like 'This is what I am supposed to be doing'. It's very much a feeling of self purpose.
Almost like being inside your own world?
Yeah it is! It's a really wierd, but nice feeling. It's a different feeling from rehearsels to when you perform on stage, that's the real buzz. It's like a dream coming true. There have been times when I've been on tour (most memorable when I was in Hong Kong), I was waiting on the side of the stage and it was just the most incredible feeling. I was there and getting paid to dance. At the time I just couldn't believe it.
Do your surroundings alter the way you dance?
Now you mention it, it does. I think studio spaces can change how you dance, especially if there is a mirror. With the Gaga technique however the rule is that there no mirror, as you're not supposed to simply feel the dance. So in terms of surroundings, if you can see yourself then you are a lot more conscious and it can limit the possibilities of extreme movement - it gives you the opportunity to take things further.
What has been your favourite part of dancing so far?
I think it's the opportunities I've had. You know when you just dream of this 'thing' and then you actually do it, it's like 'Wow, that really happened!'. I think a lot of it is the goal of achieving and the fact that you are always aiming for something new. You're always motivated and aiming to achieve a certain goal, or work with a certain choreographer.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
Yes, at the moment I'm working on a project with the York Dance Project, which is a modern ballet and contemporary company. I'll have some performances coming up which will be exciting. We will be touring at the end of this year, hopefully going to the States. On the side I'm doing a few small projects too - I just shot a campaign for United Colours of Benetton, which was really fun!
If you could chose one person to dance with, from the past or present, who would it be?
I'm really obsessed with the twenties period of Berlin. There's a performance artist called Anita Berber who is incredible. She was very ahead of her time when she was performing, as she was doing early burlesque, which wasn't really seen back then.
What is your biggest dream?
I'd just really love a full time contract. At the moment I'm freelancing, so it can be really up and down. It can be exciting as you don't know what's coming next, but then nothing can happen too.
Are there any particular words or quotes that inspire you?
I really love the quote 'When life gives you lemons, make Lemonade'. I don't live my life by this, but if something bad happens I'm like, right, how can I make this into something positive?
Amazing! Thank you for sharing more about your dance with us.

Words by Sophie Mayanne.
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