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Niki Pollard – a tribute    
Chris Bannerman writes:

It with great sadness that I heard of Niki's death – an event that was not unanticipated and yet, still seems so untimely. The memory of her youthful, almost precocious intellect, remains so present in my consciousness, it is not easy to understand that the vehicle for that quicksilver mind is no longer amongst us. Her ability to be still and fully present, to attend without seeking attention, was remarkable, especially given the richness and rigour of her mental capacity, which she coupled to great effect with a strong intuitive perception.

She brought all of those qualities to bear in her contribution to the ResCen project by articulating to me, and then realising in practice, a special relationship between writer and artist; between the word and the act of art making. She unfolded the creativity of this mirroring without a trace of self-regard and her text flowed in a seemingly unselfconscious manner, despite her efforts always to exise the flabby and to achieve the taut in her prose. The inevitable working and reworking was almost literally an act of love, her entire being engaged and alive as she sought the elegant simplicity that would most tellingly reflect and represent the moment or action she had selected.

She made a mark on us and on the world – the fact that we can re-read her work, and appreciate again the brightness of her contribution is a cause for celebration, we can be thankful that it was realised and shared, although she would demur and resist such unqualified, overt approval.

Niki Pollard

Rosemary Lee writes:

I first met Niki at ResCen and had the very good fortune to have her allocated to me on a research project for ResCen where she watched all the rehearsals over a year leading up to the performance of Passage. Niki had a wonderful light presence in the rehearsal and though she wanted to remain rather invisible, I soon found her presence affirming and helpful. She became my quiet companion always at my side and because she was observing so openly and with such attentiveness it somehow sharpened my own observations. From then on she and I became close collaborators on projects I would never have dreamt of and which really changed the course of my work as an artist for which I am eternally grateful. She helped me create (along with designer Roberto Battista) an innovative web area the Passage Pages, on the ResCen website, revealing the process of making Passage, perhaps the first interactive website investigating the creative process of its kind. As a result of its success we were invited to create a new interactive webpage for Nesta which can now be found on the Rescen website – Caught by Seeing.

She and I co authored several articles, Niki once described these as “dual voiced and dual perspectived”, they include How to Hoard: writing field notes of rehearsals A paper first presented at the Dance and Performance Ethnography Forum at De Montfort University, 24 January 2004: Delving and Double Seeing: on a Choreographer's Practice published in Digital Creativity 2004 and her last article soon to be published in the new journal Choreographic Practices entitled Writing with a Choreographers Notebook. I treasure most our book Beached: A Commonplace book and the performance/lecture dem the Suchness of Heni and Eddie that Niki helped devise. Niki helped me to find new ways to give my work new lives. She encouraged me to create alternative ways of making more permanent performances that I cherished but that were ephemeral. Beached: a Commonplace book allowed me to make concrete (if still faint and imagistic) the world of the piece Beached that still held a place in my imagination but couldn't be made manifest again on stage. With Suchness she helped me realise that I could reveal in words what I felt and saw in rehearsal to an audience whilst they watched the dancers in action.

Lee & Pollard

What I treasure most about our collaboration is how she would watch a rehearsal and the next day bring a poem or quote that the rehearsal reminded her of. Our mutual love of poetry launched me into directions I had not been brave enough to venture into before. She was a wonderful writer and thinker, and academia did not phase her as it does me and because of this, she strengthened my articulacy and my confidence in seeing my work in relation to other art forms and as part of a continuum. I hope I perhaps offered her a deeper understanding of non verbal forms of communication, the sensory experiential world made manifest in poetry. Niki was sharp, light and bright, always buoyant and aware, she was patient, loving, open, non judgmental, modest and self effacing. Her intellect was never overpowering, instead quiet and understated but her acuity and ever curious approach was inspiring and enormously encouraging. There is no doubt without Niki, my work would not have unfolded into the new areas it has. Her untimely passing is a great loss to the dance world in its widest sense, she will be deeply missed.

ResCen site links:
arrow How to hoard
arrow an interview with Lee about the Suchness of Heni and Eddie
arrow The Passage pages
arrow Caught by Seeing
arrow Beached a Commonplace book
arrow Delving and Double seeing

Niki and Rosemary's work is discussed in
arrow Choreographers' Reflexive Writing – A Very Special Practice by Henrietta Bannerman

 

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