When you are producing pieces of work in dance, particularly in a commercial setting, things move quickly and the conundrum is as always marrying the ability of performers with the concept and then acheiving something in a short space of time. Where does one start? It's the endless challenge but it is this very challenge that I adore and always hope to excel in. It's these events that leave us all with some of the greatest memories and this event is no exception.
So first all of all let me introduce you toTayaran. An amazing skater and someone many have considered a friend. He has been a key and well respected member of the London Skate scene and inspired many with his fantastic skate skills, but also, his unique personal performance style.
A few years ago, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a debilitating disease that affects the nerves in the body and eventually leads to paralysis then death. This is Tayaran's new journey. Tony Askew of Roller Disco set up the Tayaran Robinson Tribute Fund on his behalf, a fund set up to raise funds for the MNDA ( Motor Neurone Disease Assciation), a charity who are dedicated to raising funds for research into this debilitating condition. The decision was made to do a very impromptu charity fundraising Christmas message fllm for Roller Disco.
The scene is set and I am left with the problem of coming up with the concept. Think music, props, costume, staging and of course that all important point about Health and Safety. In this instance we were lucky as it was Roller Disco but it's an all important aspect of any production on or off skates and it is the first priority.
One of the many challenges about working with skaters is that in many instances they are born freestylers - they exude charisma and rely on their wits, incredibile technique and acute improvisational skills to pull off amazing performances - but it means often they are not the greatest at learning dance routines and those key disciplines that are an inherent aspect of a trained dancer's performance. This was particularly relevant in this situation and with little knowledge on who would actually be doing the video or level of skating, as always the trick is in the planning. So how did it go? Well, the video below best describes the day:
So many amazing people were part of this experience helping with decorating the set an hour before filming was to start (including wrapping boxes lol), listening hard and doing everything they could to not only achieve what was being asked of them but also to perform to the best of their ability. It's a tough call and an amazing job was done by all. I will never forget this day and the joy I saw on Tayaran's face as he watched it unfold, got involved behind camera and then took part in the choreography. It wasn't perfect, time ran away with us as usual but It was done from the heart and was hugely successful in raising money for the MNDA
In memory of Tayaran and the lovely evening all of us skaters spent together.
If you have enjoyed reading about this and have enjoyed the video please don't forget to make a donation to the MNDA. They do amazing work and are constant in their desire to in the future find a cure. Tayaran Robinson has now passed but his memory does live on.